SOLICITOR General Mohan Parasaran’s opinion to the CBI to let the courts, and not prosecutors, decide on the issue of closure of some pending fodder cases against Lalu Prasad may have temporarily put a lid on the issue in public but the agency is witnessing whispers and conspiracy theories regarding Director Ranjit Sinha’s decision to approach the SG for an opinion. Sinha had cited Jharkhand High Court’s observations to bolster the view about dropping some pending cases against Lalu, as an accused could not be put to trial in different cases on the basis of similar evidence. What has perplexed many CBI officials is the fact that the agency, while seeking SG’s opinion, was not forthright about the fact that the CBI had already appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court judgment. This fact had been mentioned in the agency’s letter to the top law officer at the draft stage but was later removed and made part of background materials.
WHILE Congress candidates in Chandigarh and Amritsar — Pawan Kumar Bansal and Amarinder Singh, respectively — are believed to be having a neck-and-neck contest with their BJP rivals — Kirron Kher and Arun Jaitley — satta bazaar has a different story to tell. The satta rate for Kher last week veered around 65 paise to Bansal’s Rs 1.50. In Amritsar, it was Rs 1.30 for Jaitley as against 70 paise for the Captain. While Congressmen have, of late, developed as much dislike for punters as for psephologists, party leaders are keeping a close watch on the going rates in the satta market.
IF Congress treasurer Motilal Vora is reluctant to loosen the purse strings in this Lok Sabha elections, it’s not because of a severe cash crunch as some of the party leaders would have us believe. While party leaders do rue the drying up of the generous help from their friends in the corporate world, the ruling party has taken enough care of its coffers in the past 10 years — enough to take it through a few more elections.
The reason for the party’s reluctance to spend this time has as much to do with its assessment about an inevitable poll rout as with its strategy, though seemingly borne out of wishful thinking, to live to fight another day. Party sources are putting their bet on a “khichdi sarkar” that may last barely a year or so. The Congress, say insiders, would like to put its money to the best use in the subsequent elections. A case of penny wise and pound foolish! Only time will tell.
CONCRETE structures resembling symbols of political parties will not attract any interference from the Election Commission provided they were constructed before the enforcement of the model code of conduct. The decision was recently taken following a complaint from Tamil Nadu wherein it was stated that Chennai Corporation Commissioner had moved to cover a structure called the “Rising Sun Arch” in Saidpet, Chennai, as it resembled the symbol of a political party. It may be recalled that the Election Commission had attracted much criticism for its decision to cover statues of elephants (BSP symbol) during the last Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.