Polscape | MAGAZINE | Nov 01, 1999
"If you touch a hair on my head, it'll be your funeral."
Bal Thackeray, reacting to the Maharashtra government's proposed rethink on the Srikrishna report
"We've had crook after crook for 50 years... If you can't find an impartial bunch, go overseas."
A Netizen's advise to Gen Pervez Musharraf at chowk.com
Number of indian soldiers killed in Jammu & Kashmir post-kargil: 84

The election jamboree is over but some refuse to let go of this tantalising story. For its latest issue, The Economist co-sponsored a survey of the electorate by Delhi's Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. Some findings:

  • 29 per cent of voters have no access to any news media.

  • Half the respondents felt "we should be loyal to our own region first and then to India"

  • 63 per cent feel their votes have an effect on the way the country is run.

  • Just 15 per cent said Kargil had affected their vote.

  • 22 per cent attended an election meeting.

  • Half of those surveyed were visited by a party worker during the campaign.

  • Dalits with over 10 years' education go the BJP way.

  • Sonia's foreign origin offended 15 per cent of the respondents.

Gen Pervez Musharraf might feel queasy of imposing martial rule but pmk chief S. Ramdoss has no such qualms. During the recent executive committee meeting of his party, Ramdoss prominently displayed a whip and asked the second-rung leaders and cadres who did not do their bit for the party's success to come forward and indulge in some self-flagellation. "A whip lash is the right lesson for partymen defying the high command. If they do not beat themselves, then the people in their constituencies will punish them," declared the southern messiah of the obcs. What one could call a quirt of justice, perhaps.

Here's a partyman with a difference. Who believes that when in Lucknow, do as the Nawabs do. Congress leader N.D. Tiwari showed just how on his 75th birthday last week. During the day, he received greetings at home. But as the sun set on the Gomti, Sham-e-Avadh had Tiwari in a different mood altogether. He reached Old Lucknow well on time to attend a function specially organised for him and even danced to a mujra number. His party colleagues elsewhere may be sulking after the drubbing at the polls, but there was no stopping this Congressman from having a good time.
From martial to marital? That was what the war of words between former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane and deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde almost came to resemble. In a bid to pacify Rane, Munde - who was furious at his rival's ambition to become the next CM - said, "The Shiv Sena is like a mangalsutra around the BJP's neck. We will never call off our alliance." Pat came Rane's reply, less than an hour later: "Well, then, he must learn how to keep his vows, the purity of that mangalsutra should not be sullied. He must learn the meaning of pativrata." Munde's dalliance with the ncp in his bid to become the CM was akin to committing adultery, according to Rane.
Madhya Pradesh assembly speaker Sriniwas Tiwari has taken on bsp supremo Kanshi Ram and infuriated him no end. In Bhopal last week, Kanshi Ram fumed at his partymen for the dismal election results in which not only did the bsp not win a single seat in the state but the party's voteshare dropped by an alarming 3 per cent. But he was particularly peeved at the results in Rewa from where the 75-year-old Congressman, Tiwari, ensured his son's victory in a sureshot bsp seat. Tiwari further miffed Kanshi Ram by threatening the bsp's imminent demise in MP. Kanshi Ram, for one, now wants to know what the 'old white tiger' has up his sleeves.
Ring out the old, ring in the new. That's true of coteries too. So, on oath-taking day, it wasn't a Pranab or Arjun but Kamal Nath who was seen explaining to Sonia the finer points of parliamentary procedures.
wrong choice

If there's a prize for a script with an asinine last act, Congress president Sonia Gandhi would surely walk away with it. It's for the manner in which she's dallied with Bellary.

First, the hush-hush filing of nomination papers to ensure her maiden entry into Parliament was a smooth affair. Then, the high-decibel battle in which she lost, in terms of sound bites, to Bharatiya nari Sushma Swaraj. But when she finally emerged the victor in the battle of ballots, she did not keep her promise; her word to the people of this backward district was that she would work for development of the region. She has now passed the task on to three Congress ministers elected from this district.

The reason for her J-turn, according to leaders who spent sleepless nights to make sure that there would be no hiccups for Madam, was that she could not convince Priyanka or Rahul to contest from the Gandhi citadel of Amethi. Unlike their public posturing, in private, they let off steam against Sonia for dumping Bellary after all the song and dance about the need for a safe constituency in the south. Their original reaction - that they would have ensured a bigger vote margin if they knew about her plans to contest from Bellary - has given way to ire that they were forced to spend several days over this misadventure. These sentiments are shared by voters in Bellary; that they would have voted for Sushma if only they knew that Sonia would junk their district.


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