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Deep Throat

A regular column on the essential buzz

Deep Throat
Illustration by Saahil
Deep Throat
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Rajasthan
Silt Hits The Ceiling

The Rajasthan mining scandal appears to be moving right up to the top instead of stopping at mining secretary Ashok Singhvi, thanks to the anti-corruption bureau, headed by Dinesh M.N. of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case fame. It has now been discovered that it is not just state IAS officers who allegedly own a number of mines. Even the junior minister for mines, Raj Kumar Rinwa, who has been distancing himself from the scam, appears to be in the dock. He is known to have personally signed on a number of files after claiming all along that the secretary did not keep him in the loop, kept files away from him, and if he ever asked questions, “ticked him off in English”. There’s more. From the phone taps effected by the ACB for over a year, it has now emerged that the top leadership was allegedly in touch with one of the middlemen, Sanjay Sethi.


Maharashtra & Bihar
Mumbai Senanigans

That the Shiv Sena and the BJP are not the best of partners but are still continuing with the charade of marriage is a fact. But the recent decision of issuing one lakh new autorickshaw permits to those who know Marathi might just add more fuel to the fire—in Bihar. The Sena stands firmly by the permit move, but the fact is that most rickshaws and taxis are driven by migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. With election fever peaking in Bihar, BJP workers are wondering if this is going to become a sticking point in the poll-bound state, where working in Mumbai is seen as the great leap forward. While the beef ban has alienated a sizeable population away from the BJP, will pleasing the Marathi manoos mean the alienation of the Bihari babu?


New Delhi
HQ Of Silence

BJPwallahs say their party headquarters, once a sea of happy informality, now looks like a no-go area, with CCTV cameras all round. Inside, it is no better. Since the change of guard in the party, the central election committee is a place transformed. What was once a lively, animated affair, with leaders openly criticising each other and discussing each name proposed for a seat, there is ominous silence in meetings now. “It’s so quiet, we even cough in muffled silence,” says a leader. Party preident Amit Shah heads the CEC and the PM regularly attends meetings.


Haryana
Ladies’ Firsts

A positive fallout of the imprisonment of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son Ajay Chautala in a teachers’ recruitment scam is the political emergence of women in their family. Last year, when Chautala Jr could not get a reprieve, his wife Naina contested the assembly elections from Dabwali, becoming the first woman of the family to enter active politics. Now, younger son Abhay Chautala’s wife Kanta has stepped into politics by filling a nomination for the Zila Parishad elections from a ward in Sirsa, which had in the past tom-tommed the fact that its womenfolk do not contest elections. But hard times demand harder decisions, even if it means calling forth the women of the family to uphold the family citadel.


Heard: BJP supporters are winding up Spanish author Javier Moro to allow a film version of his book on Sonia Gandhi

Overheard: With Bihar polls round the corner, Shotgun Sinha’s daughter Sonakshi emerges as hot favourite of party bosses


Contributed by Meetu Jain, Prachi Pinglay-Plumber, Prarthna Gahilote, Chander Suta Dogra and Pritam Sengupta

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