POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 13:27 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 13:27 IST

So all right, it was a langur. As the Calcutta Telegraph repeorts:

In the thick of political manoeuvres, a langur offered a welcome break to the chief minister on Tuesday while she was inaugurating a Jagaddhatri puja in Hooghly’s Chandernagore. As a furry shape emerged, Mamata Banerjee stopped her speech midway and asked: “Eta abaar kotha theke elo? Eta abaar kotha theke elo (From where did this come? From where did this come)?” The langur ran in front of her and behaved itself by squatting in a corner of the dais. “Ami pashu-pakhi khub bhalobasi. Keu kichhu korben na (I love animals and birds. No one should disturb it),” she said. The chief minister also asked the members of her security team to arrange biscuits. Yes, the langur did sit through the speech, though it switched to another part of the pandal. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal

The video, though, offers another aspect of the (under-reported?) story. Dear leader, clearly is well-versed in appropriate mantras for all occasions.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 21, 2012 AT 13:27 IST, Edited At: Nov 21, 2012 13:27 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 22, 2012 AT 18:26 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 22, 2012 18:26 IST

Aditi Phadnis in the Business Standard:

Singh conveyed to Chidambaram well before he was made finance minister that he was getting the job. Chidambaram had some conditions. “It is easy to be finance minister during a boom,” he told Singh. “But times are bad.” Just as PV Narasimha Rao had backed his finance minister (Singh), would Singh back him and keep the wise men of the party out of his hair? Singh told Chidambaram that he would get his full support. He also promised to intercede on his behalf with the party.

Actually, this was unnecessary. Chidambaram has a new place in the dispensation at 10 Janpath since he became home minister in 2008. He has taken a lot upon himself, including the blame for making an “announcement” offering to think about granting statehood to Telangana — when it wasn’t his idea at all but that of the MP from Amethi; in fact he had counselled against it. The party realised later that it was a mistake and it was left to Chidambaram to take the flak — which he did without complaining. When he became finance minister, Chidambaram met Congress President Sonia Gandhi several times to explain how delicately poised the Indian economy was, between stupendous success in hard times and complete disaster... the end of the day, the transition from “with Mamata” to “without Mamata” has, if you think about it, been pretty smooth — leading the chatterati to ask why it wasn’t done sooner. The answer seems to be: because Chidambaram was not the finance minister...

..Is Chidambaram becoming to the government what Mukherjee was? Actually, a lot more. It is Chidambaram, with his unique powers of persuasion, who is now going to act as the channel of communication between 10 Janpath and the PMO. Unlike in the past, nothing will be lost in translation.

Read the full piece at the Business Standard: The Knight In Veshti

So why is the Rahul-was-behind- the-Telangana-statehood-announcement story out now? One obvious possibility: it was clearly a blunder way back then, but now when Congress is close to granting it, perhaps it wants some of the goodwill in the new state to transfer to the yuvraj.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 22, 2012 AT 18:26 IST, Edited At: Sep 22, 2012 18:26 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 21, 2012 AT 19:25 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 21, 2012 19:25 IST

Swapan Dasgupta in the Deccan Chronicle:

It wasn’t merely the opprobrium attached to being part of a regime that was burdened by both economic mismanagement and corruption that moved Mamata. What may have clinched her final decision was the unease in the state’s large Muslim population over the belief that the Congress government in Assam shared the blame for the attacks on Muslim “immigrants” in Kokrajhar.

The extent to which the events in Assam and coloured reports of an ethnic cleansing in Burma have contributed to Muslim anger all over India has been insufficiently noticed. It is still too early to be sure what political form these stirrings will take but Mamata has moved with great speed to ensure that the Muslim sullenness against the Congress does not rub off on her. By using both a regional and populist plank to justify her revolt against the Congress, she may have ensured that the 27 per cent minority votebank remains attached to her, but without any corresponding risk of playing the “Muslim card” overtly. Observers of Bihar politics may find strong traces of Mamata’s approach in some of the recent moves of Nitish Kumar.

Many commentators mistook the 60 hours gap between the announcement of her withdrawal and the formal resignation of her ministers at the Centre as evidence that she was amenable to some last minute persuasion. The symbolic significance of using the day of Friday prayers to mark her go-it-alone strategy was not adequately understood.

Read on at the Deccan Chronicle: Burden of survival

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 21, 2012 AT 19:25 IST, Edited At: Sep 21, 2012 19:25 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 20, 2012 AT 21:44 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 20, 2012 21:44 IST

Apart from some common-sensical, clear-headed advice, the prime minister's former media advisor throws in some rather astonishing insinuations for good measure in his column for the Hindu:

In this moment of “crisis,” it should be sobering to remember that during the last Lok Sabha election the Congress had crossed the magic figure of 200 seats, a feat that had eluded any political party since 1991. Yet the historic advantage was squandered away in internal confusion and distractions, producing a massive disjointedness in the government’s functioning and policies, which in turn invited trouble and challenge from different quarters and institutions. Those in the judiciary and other constitutional institutions smelled the spilt blood within the UPA and felt doubly empowered to muddy the political waters. The result was the so-called policy paralysis. The country’s best interests demanded that decision-making break out of this paralysis; and, it was natural that any attempt to break out would be resisted by vested interests and political rivals and would produce some kind of convulsion.

Read the full piece by Harish Khare at the Hindu: An opportunity, not a crisis

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 20, 2012 AT 21:44 IST, Edited At: Sep 20, 2012 21:44 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 18, 2012 AT 23:29 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 18, 2012 23:29 IST



Congress (INC) 207
Trinamool (TMC) 19
DMK 18
National Conference 3
Others (AIMIM + Kerala Cong + VCK + SDF+AIUDF + NPF + BPF + BVA) 8
Less TMC 19

Which shows why the UPA would be so dependent on the other Ms, viz Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP and Mayawati's BSP if Mamata Banerjee sees through her threat on Friday.

Samajwadi Party (SP) 22
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 21
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) 4
Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) 3

To prove its majority, the half-way mark in the 543 member Lok Sabha is 272

Despite the severity of her tone, since Mamata Banerjee has named Friday when her ministers would resign. Do you think there is any chance of a settlement with UPA — particularly given the broad hints she dropped about being forced to take this decision — so that she would not eventually withdraw her support? Or do you think the UPA is happy to see the back of her and would rather do business with Mayawati and/or Mulayam? The shape of thiggs to come is clear from the voices already emanating from the DMKSP and much would now depend upon the BSP, as even Mayawati's party has demanded rollback of the recent decisions on FDI and diesel price hike.

Take this Facebook poll. 

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 18, 2012 AT 23:29 IST, Edited At: Sep 18, 2012 23:29 IST
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