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For the babus of UP,Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday was a disappointment of sorts this time. Since simplicity was the order of the day...

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published: January 19, 2009 1:41:39 am

Blue orchids for CM
For the babus of UP,Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday was a disappointment of sorts this time. Since simplicity was the order of the day,there was no way they could display their proximity to her. Last year,the director general of police,in his full official regalia,finger-fed a piece of cake to Mayawati while others,including the chief secretary,sang Happy Birthday. This time,there was neither any cake nor singing. Dressed in their best suits and holding bouquets,the babus waited for Mad-ame to make an appearance at the appointed hour. When she arrived,the officers were seen vying with each other to be the first one to wish the big boss. And guess what flowers were there in most of the bouquets? Blue orchids! Who said sycophancy is dead?

Vassooli or Sahyog?
Mayawati claimed that her party collected double the last year’s amount as donation on her birthday. While addressing party workers on her birthday,PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui,however,said: “Is baar Behanji ke janamdin par party karyakartaon ne doguna chanda vassool kar diya hai.” Siddiqui suddenly realised his mistake and clarified: “Vassoolne se mera matlab hai ki aapsi sahyog se ikattha kiya hai.” He then explained that protests by other political parties had motivated BSP workers to contribute more this year.

Nowhere to go
Naresh Agarwal is a worried man these days. The BSP had assured him of a Lok Sabha ticket from Farrukhabad when he had ditched the Samajwadi Party. But,lately,the BSP is said to have developed second thoughts. An uneasy Agarwal is reportedly trying to revive his ties with Mulayam Singh Yadav,but the SP chief has refused to take his calls. How does Agarwal expect the SP chief to forget his rebellion and the subsequent defeat of the party in the Hardoi by-election? Agarwal was elected to the state Assembly as a SP legislator from Hardoi in 2007. He resigned in May 2008 from the Assembly and joined the BSP. In the by-election,his son Nitin was elected to the Assembly on a BSP ticket.

Manoj’s campaign appeal
If Samajwadi Party has selected Bhojpuri singer Manoj Tewari as its candidate against BJP’s firebrand Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur,it is not just because of his star appeal in that part of the country. Tewari had campaigned for Bihar’s don-turned-politician Rajan Tewari in the last Assembly elections in Govindganj constituency. Rajan was then in jail and Manoj had run his campaign. Rajan lost,but Manoj learnt the art of electioneering. Rajan has his links in Gorakhpur which will help Manoj. But Manoj’s dabbling in elections goes much far back in the past. About a decade ago,Manoj had sung a hit Bhojpuri song in the election campaign in Bihar to criticise the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government over the rise in onion prices. “Ab ka salad khaiba,pyajawe anar ho gail,wah re Atal Chacha,pyajawe par mar ho gail (How can one eat salad when onion is sold at pomegranate’s rate? O Uncle Atal,now there are fights over onions),” so ran the lyrics.

Tips from ‘real’ managers
Last Friday,when management students from IIMs across the country tested their skills by selling vegetables in a local market,it did not take them long to realise that sabziwalas could teach them a thing or two. So,they traded their cold drinks and potato chips for some quick tips on profit making. Lesson number 1 from a street-smart vendor: “Try to catch customers who have just entered the market. You can sell more to them than to those whose bags are already full or half-full.” Makes a lot of sense. Lesson number 2 from another vendor: “Don’t get swayed when a customer tells you that others in the market are selling something cheaper. If this was a fact,he wouldn’t have stopped to bargain with you.” Obviously,they don’t teach you such things in a business school.

‘Safe’ theatre called off
When the Lucknow version of Bharat Rang Mahotsav opened last week,connoisseurs got two reasons to rejoice. One was obviously the line-up of excellent plays. The second was a rare chance to meet culture minister Subhash Pandey who has been conspicuous by his absence in the Lucknow Mahotsav and other recent events. The minister revealed his theatre background and his association with NSD,making a point that theatre is safe in his regime. It took only three days for the hope to disappear. A few words of warning from some little-known outfits and a play from Pakistan and another from Israel were cancelled. The hapless minister,it was heard,couldn’t do anything as the decision was taken by some other minister without consulting him.

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