Unless proven innocent
Gen (retd) VK Singh’s claims that the army has long paid J&K politicians under the table has cast a shadow on the entire political system. Everybody is being looked upon with suspicion, whether it is Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad or Employment Minister Ajay Sadhotra. PDP MLA Naeem Akhter even thundered in the Assembly that he wanted to know about himself, too. Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, who allegedly received Rs 1.2 crore from the army, continues in his job. Some journalists are also now being maligned because goc 15 Corps Gen Atta Mohammad Hasnain wrote positively about them in a newspaper piece.
Believe It Or Not
Known for his rejection of religious orthodoxy, and especially for his earlier fights against the mathas, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah shocked supporters recently by accepting an invitation to visit Dharmasthala, a renowned temple popular among the powers-that-be, from its head seer Veerendra Hegde. Many were stunned when the CM removed his kurta and entered the temple bare-chested, following tradition. Wags have been wondering what other personality changes in the CM lies in store.
Taking the fall
The Centre’s ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers became so controversial that Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who usually briefs the media on any new development, opted out and the responsibility fell on i&b Minister Manish Tewari to hold a press conference. But even as Tewari was telling reporters how great it was, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi gatecrashed another presser by party spokesman Ajay Maken and slammed the ordinance, leaving both red-faced.
Inflation, it seems, is crippling even the true-blue Marxists. The Left Front regime in Tripura, the only state under CPM rule, has tabled a Bill proposing a 50 percent hike in MLAs’ salaries, four years after the previous raise. After all, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Tapan Chakraborty, the MLAs, too, have to run their families. CM Manik Sarkar took the lead to convince the Opposition, and for once, the Congress agreed heartily.
That’s My Seat
Karnataka Education Minister RV Deshpande and Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva — both from the Congress — are locked in a battle as both want the Lok Sabha seat from Canara for their kids, Prashanth Deshpande and Nivedith Alva, respectively. Ironically, both are pushing to induct BJP leader Anand Asnotikar, who is influential in Canara, into the Congress. Insiders say his induction is almost certain but can’t yet say who will get the credit.