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At arm's length
IAS officer Navneet Kumar Sehgal was secretary to the chief minister and handled several important departments in the previous Mayawati government. After the SP government took over, it appointed him secretary of religious affairs. But, for some strange reason, he has been kept away from the preparations for the Kumbh, which is beginning in Allahabad on Monday. The result is that at a time when the state is hosting the country's biggest religious festival, the secretary of religious affairs has hardly any work.
During the 125th anniversary celebrations of the state legislature, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan addressed Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav by his nickname "Tipu". When Akhilesh stood up to speak, he started with a complaint, "I have a complaint against Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and Azam Khan saab. When I was an MP, everybody in Parliament called me Akhilesh Yadav. But my father called me Tipu, so everybody there came to know of it. When I was contesting my first Lok Sabha election from Kannauj, Azam Khan saab gave the slogan Tipu ko sultan bana do." Akhilesh may have not liked his nickname becoming public, but the house burst into laughter.
Flashback for Jaya
Samajwadi Party's Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan, who was a special guest at the anniversary celebration of the legislature, was the centre of much attention. Soon after she arrived at the Governor's Gallery, party MLAs made a beeline to be clicked with her. Next, it was the security staff of the Vidhan Sabha. A willing Jaya obliged everyone and kept smiling. Then SP state spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary went up, sat beside Jaya and informed her that he had met her father Taroon Kumar Bhaduri, who was a journalist, way back in 1977. Jaya was all eyes and ears when Choudhary pointed towards the Press Gallery, showing her the place where her father used to sit to cover the proceedings.