Cashing in on smileLegislators are going to get a salary hike very soon. Some Samajwadi Party MLAs met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and lamented that they were not ministers and nor entitled to red-beacon cars. When the Chief Minister asked them what possibly he could do to help them, the MLAs said their salaries should be raised so that they could afford to have SUVs. "Without these big vehicles, nobody takes us seriously,'' said one of them. A smiling Chief Minister assured that he was already working on something and an announcement will be made before the end of the session.

Uma's lost saviourFormer chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Uma Bharti hasn't got a place in the team of office-bearers announced by state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai. She had led the party's campaign in the 2012 Assembly elections and is now an MLA but, obviously, this did not impress Bajpai. Uma was inducted in UP by former national president Nitin Gadkari, much against the wishes of state leaders. Then, former state president Surya Pratap Shahi had not included her in the state election committee. It required Gadkari's instructions to make her a special invitee. Now, when Gadkari is no longer there, who will help out Uma?

With folded handsKnown for his good relations across party lines, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari has made another minister his fan. It was Question Hour in the Assembly and newly appointed Minister of State for Additional Energy Sources Vijay Kumar Mishra was being grilled by Congress members. But Tiwari came to his rescue. "You are answering for the first time and doing it very well," Tiwari said. At this, the Congress MLAs quietly sat down. Mishra folded his hands and bowed towards Tiwari in gratitude.

Frail startSamajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary's innings as Prisons Minister had a shaky start in the Legislative Council. Chaudhary could not reply to the supplementaries to the very first question he faced. Chairman Ganesh Shanker Pandey, therefore, deferred it. Watching Chaudhary in a jam, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, from whom the prison portfolio had been taken, sat smiling. Chaudhary once tried to consult Raja Bhaiyya, but the chairman said he could not do this.

Angry KhanTwo drivers incurred the wrath of Urban Development Minister Azam Khan within hours. As Khan's regular driver was on leave, the Estate Department sent driver Lokendra Singh to receive the minister at Charbagh railway station. But as Khan entered the car, he smelled smoke of beedi, got furious and sent back Lokendra Singh. Later that day, another driver Rajjan Lal was sent to take Khan from his office to residence. This time, Khan got angry that Rajjan had kept the car window on his side open. Rajjan Lal, too, was sent back. Later, the Estate Department suspended both Lokendra Singh and Rajjan Lal for indiscipline.

Getting it rightUP Met Director J P Gupta and his staff are on a cloud nine. Their last three consecutive forecasts of rain in the state were precise. They had issued a forecast of possible rain on Saturday and Sunday, and the rain actually began on Saturday morning. Earlier, their forecasts of rain from January 15 to 17 and from January 5 and 6 had hit the bull's eye. Is the Met office using some new equipment, new staff, or some new technique of forecasting? None, said Gupta, everything is as it was. Sources said the welcome change in the performance of UP's meteorology office has also been noticed by the national headquarters of the Met Department.

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