Not-so-lovely gesturehttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/notsolovely-gesture/

Not-so-lovely gesture

Lovely Professional University in Punjab recently conferred a doctorate on Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a special function to honour him

Not-so-lovely gesture

Lovely Professional University in Punjab recently conferred a doctorate on Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a special function to honour him. It was suggested that the government of India should name a public road after Karzai during his visit as a symbol of Indo-Afghan friendship. But the proposal was turned down by the Ministry of External Affairs as the visit was semi-official. Lovely University was only too happy to step in and name one of its roads on the 600-acre campus after the Afghan president. The Afghans were delighted by the gesture and a diplomatic team from Delhi came down for the naming ceremony. However,they were a little put off by the new signboard,which reads,Hamid Karzai Marg. In Afghani,marg means death.

Home again

While Sushil Kumar Shinde was abroad on holiday with an accompanying party of over two dozen,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh instructed former home minister P Chidambaram to handle the fallout from the Maoist attack on the Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh. Even after Shinde’s return,Chidambaram seems to be calling the shots on the security front. The Congress core committee is closely monitoring the Naxalite threat. Although Shinde is a member of the committee,it is Chidambaram who does most of the talking on the law and order situation. It was Chidambaram who attended the chief ministers’ meet on internal security in Delhi last week and pushed for the National Counter Terrorism Centre.

The finance minister also accused the BJP of interfering in the Ishrat Jahan encounter probe,for finding fault with the questioning of Intelligence Bureau officials. There is speculation that in view of his poor performance,Shinde may lose his portfolio in the next cabinet reshuffle. Kamal Nath is considered the most likely replacement.

Amma’s dosas

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Jayalalithaa’s brainwave to sell dosas,idlis and upma at Re 1 is a big hit. The Tamil Nadu government is subsidising the price of these snacks,which are sold by private outlets throughout Chennai. The amma canteens,as they are known,have become so popular that there are long queues at the restaurants,with one canteen in each of Chennai’s 220 wards.

The scheme is now being replicated in other towns of Tamil Nadu. The amma dosa is a favourite with people and it has been suggested that this scheme makes more practical sense than the Centre’s much talked about proposed Food Security Bill.

Noteworthy neckpiece

The garland presented to DMK chief M Karunanidhi on his 90th birthday was made of wads of Rs 1,000 notes. But the currency notes were not strung together with finesse,making the garland look like a stiff neckpiece of money rather than a necklace. In contrast,on Mayawati’s birthday,the currency notes on her garland were skillfully fashioned into flowers. According to the DMK,the notes in the garland totalled a ‘mere’ Rs 90,000,Mayawati’s garlands are heavier. But the DMK supremo received many other birthday gifts.

Repeat performance

Modi’s clean sweep in the Gujarat by-elections is thanks in part to a formidable father-and-son team from Saurashtra who are new to the BJP. Vithalbhai Radadia,a Leuva Patel leader,was a sitting member of Parliament from Porbandar before 2012. He quit as MP to fight the assembly poll from Dhoraji. Not only did he win on a Congress ticket from Dhoraji,but his son Jayesh fought and won from the Jetpur assembly constituency. Radadia had hoped he would be appointed leader of opposition in the state or at least made a central minister in Delhi. But his image as a muscle man facing bank scam allegations didn’t help his cause. Modi took advantage of Radadia’s anger with the Congress to strike a deal with him. Both father and son resigned from Dhoraji and Jetpur seats in March 2013,three months after winning them on Congress tickets. Modi nominated Radadia to contest from his former Porbandar seat,which he won with a margin on 1.34 lakh votes. Jayesh was made to contest from Jetpur again and he too won. As there are a dozen police cases against the father,his son is likely to be accommodated in Modi’s cabinet.