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No biography for Jaya

Three leading women politicians have brought out authorised versions of their life stories

Written by Coomi Kapoor |
June 10, 2012 3:50:30 am

No biography for Jaya

Three leading women politicians have brought out authorised versions of their life stories. Mamata Banerjee’s autobiography,My Unforgettable Memories,was published last December. Mayawati’s autobiography is a more elaborate affair. She has published three volumes of a bulky four-part series in Hindi,with an English translation. The English version is called A Travelogue of My Struggle-ridden Life and of Bahujan Samaj. President Pratibha Patil sanctioned an authorised biography by Rasika Chaube and Chhaya Mahajan,titled,An Inspirational Journey,which was released two years ago. In contrast,Jayalalithaa is vehemently opposed to any account of her life story. She has gone to court seeking an injunction to stop the release of a book on her written by a leading Tamil journalist. A decade ago,an MP was similarly prevented from publishing Jaya’s biography.

Parochial angle

Narendra Modi assumed that Sanjay Joshi’s work with the BJP was over once he had resigned from the party’s national executive. Modi was annoyed to discover that this was not the case. The former party general secretary continued to be active,helping out the BJP in the UP civic polls. Outside Joshi’s house in Delhi’s North Avenue,politicians continue to collect every morning. Which is why,Modi put his foot down and demanded Joshi’s resignation not just from the executive but also from the party. Incidentally,the tussle over Joshi also has a parochial angle. Joshi is a Maharashtrian,so are Nitin Gadkari,RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his deputy Bhaiya Joshi. Maratha pride does not take kindly to the chief minister from neighbouring Gujarat instructing them as to who they should and should not sponsor. But in this case,they seem to have given in.

Clout of a peon

In an interview to NDTV’s Barkha Dutt,Mamata Banerjee mentioned that she was annoyed with Dinesh Trivedi because,as railway minister,he had transferred a peon who used to work in her office. The peon was sent to another department because he failed to send word to Trivedi that an important visitor from his constituency was waiting for two hours in the reception room to meet him. When asked for an explanation,the peon,far from being contrite,turned aggressive. Now that Mukul Roy is railway minister,Mamatadi’s favourite peon is back.

First-hand experience

There have been over 70 forest fires in Uttarakhand during this hot,dry spell and Sonia Gandhi got a first-hand view of the havoc caused by them. The Congress president had gone to stay at the hill home of a close family friend in Kausani. There has been a constant haze in the hills because of the smoke from the fires and tourists have had to return disappointed. The fires were caused by the burning of pine needles and leaves on the forest floor and it is suspected that in a number of cases,these were not accidental but were started by cultivators. Forest officers say that the spread of forest fires is a seasonal phenomenon in the hills which got worse this year because of hot weather conditions.

Unsound advice

Senior Congress leaders in Delhi were consulted before the CBI arrested Jaganmohan Reddy in the middle of the by-election campaign in Andhra Pradesh. It was felt that Reddy’s arrest would serve as a warning to other Congress MLAs and ministers who want to quit the party. An input from Raj Bhavan was also sought. But it turns out that the advice given was not very sound. Jagan’s arrest has sparked off a sympathy wave and given the YSR Congress a major boost. It is likely to win all 18 assembly seats in the by-elections. Jagan’s mother Y S Vijayalakshmi is leading the campaign in his absence and is getting a huge response. Unlike her son,Vijayalakshmi is not an orator but she has been able to spread the word that there is a “witch hunt against her family by the very people who had benefited from YSR’s largesse when he was alive”. She even hints at a conspiracy behind YSR’s death. An added bonus in the campaign is Jagan’s sister Sharmila,who has entranced the crowds with her appeal to vote for the YSR Congress.

Collegium proposal

L K Advani’s suggestion to the PM recommending the formation of a collegium for appointing the Chief Election Commissioner and the ECs is not new. Two former CECs,N Gopalaswami and B N Tandon,had before demitting office made similar suggestions to the government. In the early 1990s,there was a private member’s bill on the same lines and the government had given an assurance then that it would consider the proposal. Sushma Swaraj is believed to have mooted the idea of a collegium to Advani. Incidentally,Shamsher K Sheriff,presently a key aide to the vice president,is tipped to be appointed an EC.

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