Bad time for ‘Rajas’

The first reshuffle of the Akhilesh Yadav ministry has not been lucky for three Rajas in the Cabinet. First, Agriculture Minister Raja Anand Singh from the erstwhile Mankapur princely state now faces a situation where his rival from Gonda Vinod Kumar alias Pandit Singh has re-entered the ministry. Also, he will now have to deal with a Minister of State for Agriculture, Manoj Pandey. Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh from Bah in Agra has been divested of Transport Department and given the not-so-important Stamp and Court Fee and Civil Defence. Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya from Kunda has been stripped of Jails, and left with only Food and Civil Supplies.

Identity crisis

Newly appointed Minister of State Vijay Kumar Mishra had an identity crisis at the swearing-in ceremony. Most guests thought it was his better-known namesake Vijay Mishra, the MLA from Gynapur in Bhadohi, who was being sworn in. Some talked about how Vijay Mishra, who is a criminal history-sheeter, had managed to get a ministerial berth. People noticed his absence, and wondered why he had not turned up when the ceremony was about to start; they did not bother to notice Vijay Kumar Mishra, who was already there. At this point, a lady from Vijay Kumar Mishra's family who sat nearby listening quietly, broke her silence and told those around: "See, Vijay Kumar Mishra is sitting in the second row — the gentleman with a tilak on his forehead. He is not from Bhadohi, he is from Ghazipur. And he is a good man."

'Spoken' English

Last week, a group of Samajwadi Party men from Tamil Nadu visited the party office and met Mulayam Singh Yadav. Since they all spoke in English, those around wondered whether Netaji could understand whatever they were saying. Much to everyone's surprise, Netaji asked them a question in English. Although it was Laloo Yadav brand of the language, the substance of Netaji's query was clear: How many MPs could the TN unit send to make him PM? The message went home and Tamil Nadu workers admitted that they first needed to set up a proper party unit. But Netaji's feat so impressed the assembled SP workers that they broke into an applause. "Netaji can speak English. It is propaganda that he does not know English," one of them remarked.

Anything for luck

Back in 2009, BJP leaders thought that a chilbil (jungle cork) tree on the campus of the party headquarters was bringing bad luck. The tree was cut down, but the party won only 10 Lok Sabha seats. Next, some Vastu expert suggested that the position of the main entrance gate was inauspicious. The gate was locked up and a side gate was opened. In the 2012 Assembly elections, the party's tally came down to 47, and the main gate was then reopened. Recently, the word spread that certain flowering plants on the campus were unlucky. So, new saplings of marigold and rose have been planted. Saplings of safed madar (crown flower) — which is supposed to ward off evil and bring good luck — have been planted on both sides of the two entrances. A small temple is also being set up. Will this bring good luck in 2014?

'Powerless' to protest

When Khadi and Gramodyog Minister Raja Ram Pandey made unwarranted remarks about Sultanpur District Magistrate K Dhanalaxmi and her predecessor Kamini Ratan Chauhan at a public function — he spoke of their beauty, height and shape — it naturally sparked a controversy. Opposition parties and even a Samajwadi Party MLA demanded that the minister should be sacked, but the IAS Association kept mum. Inquiries revealed that at the AGM held last month, it was decided to constitute a five-member committee for dealing with problems, grievances and issues pertaining to the members, particularly those posted in districts, but it has not yet been formed.

mission shifted

IAS officer Sanjay Prasad is on an eight-day tour of Brazil to study the model of leather cluster development there. The government had sent him in his capacity as Secretary of Infrastructure and Industrial Development Department. Now, when Prasad is still in Brazil, the government has transferred him and sent him to Faizabad as Divisional Commissioner. How will it benefit the government?

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