Rita Bahuguna Joshi is a first-time MLA. But she stayed away from the two-day training programme for first-time MLAs,which was organised by the Vidhan Sabha secretariat. On Saturday,when the programme began,she was very much in town. Partymen believe Joshi did not attend the programme simply because Pramod Tiwari,leader of the Congress Legislature Party,was among those invited to educate and guide the new legislators. Tiwari is a nine-term MLA,and one of the few seniormost,but the bad blood between him and Joshi is no secret. A Congress MLA joked,Joshi may be a first-timer in the Assembly,but knows more than most of us when it comes to politics.
Call me a doctor
Health Minister Ahmad Hasan has found a new job for joint director-level doctors of the department – that of manning a call centre. Eight doctors,all drawing around Rs 1 lakh per month,have been posted for attending the departments 24X7 helpline,which was inaugurated last month by the minister. The doctors receive calls,note down the complaints,inform the officials where prompt action is required,and ensure follow-up action. But,arent doctors supposed to treat patients and look after implementation of health programmes?
New head turners
Groups of elderly Jats are often seen at the Samajwadi Party headquarters at Vikramaditya Marg for past some time. It started after party spokesman Rajendra Choudhary,himself a Jat from western UP,became an MLC. The Jats see him as someone who could help them in their dealings with the government. They can be seen sitting in Choudharys room,or even napping in the airconditioned comfort of other offices. In the past,hardly anyone from the Jatland visited the SP office.
When Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav spoke of financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore in the construction of memorials and parks under the previous government,BSP general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui was quick to come out with a rebuttal. But party president Mayawati,who is now based in Delhi,was reportedly not impressed. A detailed statement was drafted,sent to Delhi and,after Mayawatis approval,released to the media in Lucknow. Since it came more than 48 hours after the Chief Ministers statement,the BSP statement looked stale. Nevertheless,sources said that,in future,every statement from the state BSP will be released after Mayawatis approval.
Touching the feet of senior leaders has been a tradition in almost every political party. The practice is more common in the Bharatiya Janata Party which has several Brahmins in its top ranks. But the new state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai,although a Brahmin,does not allow any party worker to touch his feet. Instead,he prefers a handshake or a simple namaskar. Nevertheless,several other BJP leaders continue to have partymen greeting them by touching their feet.