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Lucknownama

Modest ‘crorepati’

After Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s directive,Samajwadi Party legislators have donated Rs 50,000 each to the relief fund for Uttarakhand. Some of them paid Rs 1 lakh for the noble cause,earning praise from the CM. But Rameshwar Yadav from Aliganj in Etah district eclipsed them all when he handed over a cheque for Rs 1.0151 crore to Akhilesh. The CM lauded his generosity. SP legislators surrounded him and said that he would get income tax rebate on the donation. Realising that he would be branded as a crorepati,Rameshwar hastened to say that he was a small man and the money had,in fact,been raised by contributions from people of his constituency.

Varsity woes

The tussle between Urban Development Minister Azam Khan and Nawab Kazim Ali Khan alias Naved Miyan,MLA,reached its peak with Naved levelling allegations of grabbing notified enemy property for the minister’s Jauhar University. For the whole week,Azam remained on the backfoot,and was reportedly busy explaining his position on the allegations as letters from the Union Home Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office landed in the state government,seeking reports on Naved Miyan’s complaint.

Parallel protests

The Agra Inner Ring Road project,connecting National Highways 2 and 3,is witnessing two dharnas these days. Farmers of 19 villages whose land will be acquired for the project are demanding higher rates for their land and jobs for their family members. BJP leaders are supporting their dharna. To counter them,the Samajwadi Party is running its own dharna by farmers who support the project. Every day,the Agra Commissioner’s office receives two memorandums,one against the project and the other in its support.

Annoyed ally

While the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the BJP was the reason for the JD(U) to quit the NDA,Modi’s representative in UP Amit Shah seems to have annoyed workers of the Shiv Sena,a constituent of the NDA. While addressing BJP workers of Awadh region at Ayodhya on Saturday,Shah said that there were dynasties in the Shiv Sena,the Congress and the Samajwadi Party and sons of the existing presidents of these parties would become their successors in future. A Shiv Sena leader in Lucknow said this was not expected from an ally and that he would report the matter to party leaders in Maharashtra.

Hi-tech heritage

After he was tasked by BSP chief Mayawati to gather support of Brahmins for the party for the next Lok Sabha election,party general secretary Satish Chandra Misra has not just addressed Brahmins in various constituencies,but also started an online forum. A website,www.satishchandramisra.com,exhorting Brahmins to get together and vote for the BSP to “preserve their heritage and dignity”,has also been launched. The website has images and videos of BSP’s Brahmin conventions addressed by Misra since May 4. It also has a brief biography of Misra and a section for his blogs. People can post their messages to him.

‘Unbeatable’ Beni

Beni Prasad Verma’s supporters are happy. They say even Congress general secretary Madhusudan Mistry could not tame ‘Babuji’. One of Verma’s supporters told a group of Congressmen at the state headquarters,“It is his style of politics and the Congress can only check it for the time being but cannot stop it”. Incidentally,last month,All India Congress Committee had issued a circular authorising selected leaders to speak on behalf of the party and its policies. Others were restricted to speak only on issues related to their constituencies or ministries. But Verma continues to speak beyond his ministry-related issues,sparing not even his own partymen,not to talk of rivals.

‘Positive’ change

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After a long wait,the UP government has posted senior bureaucrat S P Singh as Principal Secretary,Industries. Singh had been on special leave for almost nine years,during which he accquired an MBA,a PhD in infrastructure and investment planning and a chartered accountant certification from the United States. The government hopes he will bring some innovative changes. Singh is still trying to understand the working of the department by holding meetings with senior officials. He has told them to work with a “positive attitude”. A follower of Shri Shri Ravi Shankar,Singh has also told them that in case there is a need,he could organise meditation and motivational classes on weekends.