Mumbai ATS chief Rakesh Maria’s appointment as city police commissioner has set lots of tongues wagging. Police transfers, especially plum postings such as this, are often linked to political patronage and clout. It didn’t help that the other contenders, Javed Ahmed and Vijay Kamble, have made their disappointment public. Some politicians too not been too discreet. After home minister R.R. Patil, of the NCP, zeroed in on Maria, RPI leader and self-proclaimed defender of the lower castes, Ramdas Athawale, has stirred the pot, alleging Kamble was bypassed because he was a Dalit. The BJP too has suddenly discovered the “Marathi manoos”, crying foul over how they have been sidelined. Strangely, till date, no politician has spoken up for Ahmed, but there’s still time. Bandra boy Maria, though, seems unfazed by all the hullabaloo.
If you thought the worst was over for the CPI(M) in Bengal, think again. Party strongman Rezzak Mollah has announced that he’s floating a “separate” party. Accusing the CPI(M) of having become too elitist and out of touch with ground realities, the Marxist MLA (he’s never lost an election since 1972) says his will be a party of the Dalits and minorities of Bengal. However, unwilling to be seen as a ditcher, he’s said he will campaign for the CPI(M) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Only after that will he formally launch his new party.
It seems we haven’t heard the last of Narendra Modi’s humble origins. Among the varying claims of his tea-seller days, some have suggested he sold chai at Vadnagar railway station where Modi’s PR apparatchiks recently shot footage using local chaiwala Thakorebhai’s pushcart. A counterclaim insists he peddled fafda (a Gujarati dish), not tea, at his uncle’s shop at Gita Mandir. A third spin has it that Modi swept floors and cooked for the pracharaks at the RSS’s Hedgewar Bhawan. And while his father did own a canteen briefly, he apparently switched later to the more lucrative ‘protection’ business. He was go-between for the local chai carts and the police on the daily hafta chain.
After this magazine ran ‘25 questions for Rahul Gandhi’, one of our staffers suggested to a senior Congress leader that he should try and get his vice-president to answer some of the queries. His reply? “Spare me. He’ll probably think I had a hand in planting these questions!”
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