This Week Himachal Pradesh: First a snub, now a Harvest

First a snub, now a Harvest

It was apparently a snub from Union minister Sharad Pawar that fuelled the state's remarkable achievement in agriculture, if one goes by the way Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took it. A few years ago, when MP got reddish wheat of inferior quality under the public distribution system, an indignant Chouhan took it up with Pawar but was told that the state's share in wheat procured by the Centre was negligible. Chouhan said the comment hurt deeply. Recently, MP won a central award for excellence in foodgrain production from the President, with Pawar by his side. Chouhan is unlikely to have reminded Pawar of that old exchange, but he did recount it recently to farmers who called on him at the CM House.

For a song

A couple of years ago, the BJP government came out with the concept of a "Madhya Pradesh song". Written by senior journalist Mahesh Shrivastava and sung by Shaan, it is now played at all major events and is the preferred ringtone of officials of the directorate of public relations. The song made it to the government's official diary in 2013, but with a few lines jumbled. It is so popular that Betul observed a bandh recently because it does not mention the Tapti river, which originates in that district.

Deer deaths

The Kanha tiger reserve was recently on tenterhooks when spotted deer started dying in a large enclosure where they are kept as prey for hand-reared tiger cubs. Asthe number of deaths crossed 50, the authorities first blamed it on the cold. It has now been revealed that they had been regularly consuming a poisonous plant. The infection has not passed on to the tiger cubs.

Indira fan in BJP

BJP minister Babulal Gaur is an admirer of Indira Gandhi, despite the ideological divide. He calls her Durga while crediting her with carving Bangladesh out of Pakistan. He revealed at a function recently that his admiration stems from the praise Atal Behari Vajpayee and RSS ideologue Guru Golvalkar had showered on her. Quoting the NDA prime minister, he said Indira once telephoned Vajpayee and sought his and Golvalkar's cooperation in the 1971 war. Vajpayee conveyed this to Golvalkar, who said, "Only Indira can divide Pakistan into two for she is a Durga."

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