Mumbai Underground

The government servant had claimed that his removal from service for prolonged absenteeism, was wrong and arbitrary.

| Mumbai | Published: April 7, 2014 4:12 am


A lawyer representing a government employee, challenging the termination of his service, was seeking an adjournment before a single judge of the High Court recently. The government servant had claimed that his removal from service for prolonged absenteeism, was wrong and arbitrary. When the judge asked the lawyer where her client was, she said that he had not come to court that day. Irritated, the judge said, “Your client was removed for remaining absent at work. Let him at least be present in the court.”


Actor Rakhi Sawant’s fledgling poll campaign has so far seen numerous, innocuous errors. During her roadshow in Jogeshwari recently, her brother Rakesh, who has also joined the Rashtriya Aam Party, announced her for the first hour as the people’s candidate. But as he was encouraged by the waving crowds, he suddenly began to refer to Rakhi as the people’s “Saansad” (MP) and did not let up until the convoy wound its way back to the party’s Oshiwara office. Then at a press conference to announce the party’s two other candidates on Saturday, Rakhi cautioned the party’s spokesperson before the cameras rolled. “His name is Salman Hashmi (candidate for the Thane constituency). Salman hi bol na, nahi toh problem ho jayega”, she said. But even with the warning fresh in memory, the nervous spokesperson began to falter. He began by introducing Rakhi as “Shreemati Rakhi Sawant”, triggering some throat-clearing from his colleagues before party president Krishanlal Hans interrupted him with “Kumari Rakhi Sawant.”


Election campaigning has also brought to the fore the ignorance of many politicians when it comes to their knowledge of India’s history. The Congress has been critical of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s knowledge of history. However in a major embarrassment to the Congress, Rao Saheb Shekhawat, son of former president Pratibha Patil, made a public pronouncement that former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan ‘Mar Jawan Mar Kisan’. It was Shastri who came with ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’, which BJP’s Modi now has re-coined and added a political pun by saying ‘Mar Jawan Mar Kisan’.


Social activist and AAP candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Medha Patkar recently faced a minor technical glitch while filing her nomination papers. The social activist has eight legal cases registered against in various places. This, however, was not Patkar’s bother. The confusion came, when a column in the nomination form required her to fill whether she had appealed against conviction in any of those cases. Assuming that she hadn’t gone on appeal in any of the cases, she got the column removed and was, therefore, asked by the official concerned to produce it again with the column saying “not applicable or N/A”. Patkar coming out of the collector’s office, addressed her supporters saying, “I have to fill the form and say N/A as I have eight cases against me from several place.s But I have never been convicted in any of those cases,” clarified an amused Patkar, surrounded by her Jhaadu-brandishing supporters.


With the Lok Sabha election drawing closer, candidates across the city are furiously campaigning. However, the Congress candidate for the Mumbai south central constituency Eknath Gaikwad is not addressing too many rallies in all small nooks and corners of his constituency like others. Nor is he actively going door-to-door like all the other candidates. He is mostly ‘remote controlling’ his campaign. Having been an MP from the constituency for two consecutive terms, Gaikwad is now 74 and does not have the physical energy as his much younger competitors. “I can’t go to every door, but my MLAs are campaigning for me in the area this time.”


While all the four candidates representing four major parties — Congress, BJP, MNS and Shiv Sena — have been seen criticising each other in various media forums, an evening at Altamount Road, where all four were invited to debate, saw them in a different mood and smiling. Before the discussion began, Bala Nangaonkar (MNS) was seen having a chirpy conversation with Milind Deora (Congress), while Meera Sanyal (AAP) was animatedly talking with Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena). The candidates gave a contrast image to what one gets to see during their campaigns in slum pockets, it was all  sophistication with hand shakes and smiles. However, once the debate began, they got into their roles and went for personal digs and political attacks.

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