Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav has been repeatedly hinting at possible early elections but, contradicting the buzz, officials at the Press Information Bureau (PIB) are busy writing books, and pursuing their varied interests. As any seasoned hack knows, the best place to check on election winds is the PIB. Officials here, most of them from the Indian Information Services, are first off the block burning the midnight oil singing paeans for the ruling party. This is then followed by copious booklets marking the “momentous achievements” of the outgoing government. None of which is happening now. “We’d know even if there’s a whiff of elections in the air,” sniffs a PIB old-timer.
Ever since Jagan-mohan Reddy’s sister Sharmila restarted her padayatra (she had called it off in between, allegedly due to an injured right knee), controversy has been dogging her path. The Telugu Desam Party has even been showing photographs of her holding her left leg with the crutch in the right hand, as if she’d hurt her left and not the right knee. TDP leaders say this is because Sharmila was acting all along and had forgotten which leg she was supposed to fake an injury in. “Sharmila deserves an Oscar for fooling people with all this knee-injury nonsense,” says the TDP’s G.M. Naidu.
Elections in Bihar may still be three years away but the political wars are heating up there. Both Laloo Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan have been continuously campaigning against the Nitish Kumar government but the signs haven’t been good. We are not talking divine intervention here but in near- identical incidents, the stage for the public meetings of these two opposition leaders collapsed, leaving both slightly worse for the wear. Now, it isn’t the injuries that’s causing them concern but what the collapse could imply for their political future. Certainly the stages collapsing hasn’t gone down as a good sign among supporters. Some party sidekicks, though, are still offering flattering conclusions, like it’s natural for a stage to give way with political heavyweights like them on it (and more gathering around them and overloading it). How can this be a bad sign, they ask? If anything, it’s a sign that more and more support is pouring in for their parties. Indeed.
What’s behind the recent prolific outbursts from Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee? Doctors and psychologists have pinned the blame on sleep-deprivation-induced stress. TMC insiders claim Didi gets only 2-3 hours of sleep these days. Perhaps a Bengali-style siesta regimen is in order.
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