In an attempt to connect with youths in his constituency, MP Sanjay Nirupam recently organised an entertainment evening of dance and music. The event was such a success that when the organisers invited Nirupam on stage to thank him, some youngsters, caught in the excitement of a dance marathon, booed the North-West Mumbai MP for halting the music. Undeterred by the response and with his smile intact, Nirupam announced that he will allow the music to continue 15 minutes beyond the 10 pm Supreme Court stipulated deadline. Amid the profanities thrown at him until then, the new announcement brought cheers from the same crowd. But what happened next won the crowd’s applause, even if it may have been for a fleeting moment. The organisers announced that Nirupam himself would be the DJ for the crowd for the next song. Enthusiastically, Nirupam grooving in his new role, played a remix of the popular ‘Lungi dance’ song as the youths merrily went back to dancing.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu, who is also a Shiv Sena corporator, has turned to marketing himself piggybacking on the branding of material brands. Recently, Prabhu handed out gift vouchers promoted by a local company Metro Holidays to all corporators. The gift vouchers book included discount coupons of various brands and ensured discounts provided that the user spends a minimum specified amount at these outlets. Interestingly, Prabhu also used this opportunity to promote himself by displaying his political journey and achievements across the gift book, much to the amusement of corporators.
No chai, please
With the model code of conduct coming into force on March 5, Mantralaya’s own Chai pe Charcha custom has come to a halt. It is almost a tradition in Mantralaya that when an important person visits a minister in his office, tea is ordered from the government-run canteen in the campus, with the bill footed by the general administration department on a monthly basis. However, realising this habit of serving tea from the state exchequer could stir up trouble following enforcement of the code, ministers’ and their staff have given up the practice.
Guns & groves
Officials from the mangrove cell seem to be used to guns now as they have been held at gunpoint on several occasions by various national agencies while going on site visits to check on the health of mangroves. When the cell went to assess the damage to mangroves along Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) post the Mahul oil spillage on a speed boat, they were held at gunpoint by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guards who guard the nuclear plant at Trombay. Much explanation later, a reluctant CISF let the mangrove cell go ahead with their inspection. Even last week, when the mangrove cell officials took their international collaborators on a site visit, their boat was chased by a Naval speed boat. The Navy was clearing the way for the safe arrival of INS Sindhuratna back to the dockyard and were not allowing any boats to go towards Elephanta Island till the submarine safely reached the shore. Despite showing necessary credentials, the mangrove cell was asked to return to the shore and halt for a while before heading out again.
The Mumbai police have, over the past few months, become increasingly active on instant messaging platform Whatsapp, using it as a medium to interact with the press. These days, it is not uncommon for a reporter calling up an officer for details of a case to be met with the response, “Tu WhatsApp var aahes ka? (Are you on Whatsapp?).” If the reporter is active on Whatsapp, he or she gets a detailed press release, and some times even photographs in his chat window. Some enterprising policemen have even gone as far as creating Whatsapp groups for their media interactions. A DCP with the Mumbai police was the first to do this and was soon followed by police personnel in charge of the Police Press Room, where all press releases are now shared. Others who have recently followed suit are the Mumbai police spokesperson, the traffic police department and two senior inspectors of the Railway Police.
Unhappy with reports about Government Railway Police alleged goof-up in the recent rape and murder case of a techie, the railway cops at Kurla were in a sullen mood all day on March 3 when the Crime Branch claimed to have cracked the case. Claiming to be the first ones to have chanced upon the accused Chandrabhan Sanap and also of being the first to have alerted the city police and the crime branch about the suspect, railway cops at Kurla were only pinning their hope on the press conference where the chronology of the arrest was to be declared. All the cops at the Kurla railway police were glued to the television, watching the press conference. While there was no mention of good work done by the railway cops, when Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria declined to make adverse remarks on the alleged goof-up, railway cops breathed a sigh of relief, patted their own back and went back to work.