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After long, BSP chief Mayawati has opened her doors to the media. The last time she was accessible to journalists was during the 2007 Assembly poll campaign. After becoming the chief minister, she started keeping the media at bay. Her press conferences were monologues where she would read out prepared statements and discourage questions. The change happened last Friday when she gave an exclusive interview to a regional Hindi news channel, triggering a flurry of requests for interviews from others. On Saturday, Mayawati gave interviews to as many as four English dailies, three Hindi dailies and a news agency.
Samajwadi Party leaders crowding the stage during Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's functions is common. As usual, scores of them gathered, all uninvited, when Akhilesh visited Shiv Nadar's Vidya Gyan Academy at Sikandarabad in Bulandshaher. Boasting of their proximity with the CM, they demanded that they be allowed inside, but the organisers issued only five passes. Those who tried to force their way were stopped. Some tried to throw their weight around, while others threatened to report the matter to the CM, but the staff at Nadar's school did not relent.
The new-found bonhomie between Narain Dutt Tiwari and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is proving to be somewhat of a nuisance for the staff at the SP office. Tiwari is now on a tour of the state. Wherever he goes, he inspects hospitals, development projects and then makes a call to the SP office with his feedback. On a recent visit to Jhansi, he visited the local medical college, power station and other spots, after which he called the SP office and asked the staff to tell the chief minister to release funds for the Jhansi Medical College and also take action against some district officials. The phone always ends with an order to fix an appointment with "my Bhatija, Akhilesh Yadav".