Under Damocles sword
For Maya loyalists in the IPS,the elections present a dilemma. It is an important opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime. But the risk is that the slightest show of bias may attract a rebuke from the Election Commission,which,in turn,could mean an adverse entry in the service record and a ruined career. As an officer said,its a do or die situation. Some of them have used their influence to get a posting where they stay out of harms way. Other loyalists have not taken it kindly. Why have they become so career conscious? Now that it is time to pay back for those plum postings,why are they so afraid? asked an officer and remarked,a one-sided affair does not last; just wait for the elections to be over. Obviously,knives are being sharpened.
What prompted Mayawatis rakhi brother Lalji Tandon to make the most strident attack on her and her party in the assembly last week? In BJP circles,it is seen as an attempt by Tandon to reinforce his claim on the party ticket for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat. Tandon got the opportunity and he used it to convey the message that when chips are down,he was the only person in BJP to take on the might of the BSP. He is already the front-runner in the race,now that it is certain that Atal Behari Vajpayee will not contest. But in the political circles,it is also being whispered that Mayawati had advance information about Tandons high-calibre firing. According to this story,Tandon had conveyed his intentions to the chief minister through one of her trusted officers. Maybe it was simple decency so the sister wasnt caught unawares by the brothers attack.
Continued defiance of the party and the leadership by senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has now started worrying the party. The worry is not whether Khan will leave the party. It is more about the impact of his defiance on the electoral prospects of party candidate Jayaprada from Rampur. Mulayam Singh wanted to meet Khan the day the state assembly adjourned sine die on February 20. Netaji sent one of his confidants to Khans flat in Darul Shafa with the message. But Khan left for Rampur without meeting Netaji. To contain the damage that the angry Pathan may inflict,the party has now asked several Muslim leaders to camp at Rampur till the elections are over.
Sanjay Dutt has clearly learnt a lot in the company of politicians. Last week,when he was visiting the town to virtually launch his election campaign,a hack asked whether,as a politician,he will follow his late father Sunil Dutt or Amar Singh,who is instrumental in bringing him to the Samajwadi Party. Dutt was quick to reply,My father was not a politician,he was a social worker. He did a lot for his people. Then he looked at Amar Singh,who sat nearby,and added,Amar Singhji is like my elder brother. That said it all.
The UP team for the senior handball nationals,now in progress at Vishakhapatnam,left without attending a preparatory camp. The secretary general of the handball association,Anandeshwar Pandey,said the Sports Directorate organises a 15-day camp and gives the kit to players before such meets. We had applied for it,but we were told that there was no budget, he said. An official clarified that it was not just handball,there is no money left for several sports,not even to pay salaries to ad hoc coaches. But can one expect much from a team that goes to a major event without preparation?