Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had a hearty laugh when some reporters, at a conference, asked him about an online news item, which said the government was planning to shut restaurants in the capital after 10 pm. Sisodia said it was an April Fool’s piece with its continuation on another page. “I will request them not to make it so big next time that it is read along with the non-April Fool items,” he said.
Councillor Virendra Babbar from the North municipal corporation submitted a file in the standing committee meeting with details of a building sealed in the Paharganj area. The councillor has been asking officials of the corporation to de-seal the building as its owners had filed the requisite tax, yet the building had remained sealed for over four years. Pressing his case, the councillor said former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee would be sent jalebis prepared in this building. “Vajpayeeji has been given the Bharat Ratna, perhaps the least we can do is de-seal his jalebiwala’s building,” he said.
Wary of sting?
At an RTI workshop organised by the administrative reforms department last week, a question asked by a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) official suggested that public information officers were a little wary of sting operators. The DJB official, seated in the audience, asked what must one do if RTI petitioners record their proceedings. An officer, who was taking questions from the audience, said: “Tell them (petitioners) to leave their mobile phones outside before entering your room.” The AAP, meanwhile, has been making ‘stinging’ headlines.
When a team from this newspaper went to an unauthorised colony in Outer Delhi for a story, the shopkeepers assumed the journalists were officials from the municipal corporation. In no time, they shut their shops and ran away. It was only much later, when news spread that the team members were journalists and not government officials, that the shopkeepers opened their shops.
As Arvind Kejriwal settled into his new 6, Flagstaff Road house, some renovations continued till last week. One of the conundrums, however, was what to do with a cowshed at the back of the residence. The shed, which now has no cows, was erected when Choudhary Prem Singh used to live at the address, party sources said. The shed remains.
The ‘rebel’ faction of the Aam Aadmi Party seems to be giving the Arvind Kejriwal camp a dose of its own medicine. After the party chief was ‘stung’ by a former MLA, Yogendra Yadav had taken a leaf out of Kejriwal’s ‘dharna politics’ and sat outside the National Council venue in protest last week. The section of AAP backing Yadav and Prashant Bhushan will now be holding a ‘dialogue’ later this month under the banner ‘Swaraj Samvad’. “The AAP seems to have forgotten the principles on which it was formed. Incidentally, the AAP chief, despite writing a book on Swaraj, seems to have forgotten what it means,” an AAP volunteer said.
Then & now
The government’s directions on air pollution to various departments bear an uncanny resemblance to the measures first recommended by former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in her draft Air Action Plan. When his attention was drawn to it, an official said, “It’s not that we don’t want to do something different. But the things that needed to be done then also need to be done now. What has changed is the urgency.”