This Week Madhya Pradesh: Wrong question

Wrong question

BJP chief Rajnath Singh's idea of engaging farmers in a 'dialogue' at a Kisan Mahapanchyat in Bhopal boomeranged on him. While addressing the gathering, Singh asked farmers to tell him what sops and announcements they wanted to hear. The former Union agriculture minister appeared to be pleased with himself as was evident from his broad smile as he waited for farmers to respond. Respond they did, but what he heard wiped the grin off Singh's face. At the same venue four years ago, when the turnout was much more, he had promised that outstanding loans up to Rs 50,000 would be waived. A sheepish Singh blamed the Centre even as farmers continued to shout.

Awkward position

Lokayukta Police raids usually reveal mind-boggling details of disproportionate income. The frequency of raids by the anti-corruption watchdog puts the government in a somewhat awkward position. "Instead of getting credited with cracking down on corrupt individuals, what is highlighted is that rampant corruption prevails," complains Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Every time the Lokayukta Police gives an early-morning knock on the door of a junior employee, the Opposition asks when will big fish like ministers be targeted? Chouhan claims the raids occur because his government has given teeth to the Lokayukta, and that he won't let criticism affect his resolve. But the almost apologetic tone betrays his unease.

Don's house

Overlooking the picturesque Upper Lake in Bhopal is a sprawling but unkempt bungalow that evokes curiosity, as it belongs to drug lord Iqbal Mirchi. The bungalow has a history of unsuccessful auctions because prospective purchasers develop cold feet at the last moment. The latest auction by the Central Excise Department has created a hope that it will metamorphose into a hotel. It's also known as Angrezan ka bangla, a reference to its original English owner. A Mumbai-based company has reportedly paid in the excess of Rs 7 crore, but is yet to get a possession. Two auctions in 2007 and 2010 did not change the property's fate.

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