Though she formally joined politics in 2009, when she contested the by-election for the Lok Sabha, Dimple Yadav remained largely in the background, even after she was elected as an MP (2012). But in the ongoing UP election campaign, Dimple has come into her own. Perhaps even her husband Akhilesh did not realise her full potential. Dimple was fielded as a speaker on the campaign circuit only after the first phase of the polls. Dimple has proved to be a big hit among young voters and women. Her smart repartee, often directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi—“Mere angane mein tumhara kya kaam hai’’, “Kaam ki baat karo, mann ki baat nahi”—has drawn much applause. Some of her speeches may have been scripted for her but she delivers them with aplomb and talks constantly of “tumhare bhaiya’s” development aspirations for UP. The Congress is somewhat taken aback by Dimple’s success since it had hoped that it would be Priyanka who would make waves. Akhilesh is now contemplating a bigger role for her in state politics—irrespective of whether he wins or loses.
Shilpi Tewari, an ardent Twitter follower of Narendra Modi, could hardly believe her luck. She had expressed admiration for the peacock blue stole the PM was wearing, tweeting, “I want that stole’’. Less than 24 hours later, a parcel arrived with the stole. Along with it, there was a printout of her tweet, with the PM’s signature. A dazed Tewari tweeted, “Am I dreaming?’’
Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral wants to introduce a private member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha to enhance Parliament’s productivity. The draft Bill points out that in its initial years, Parliament used to function between 100 and120 days a year. It has now come down to 70-80 days, and much of this time is wasted in disruptions. The draft Bill proposes that Parliament meet for at least 100 days a year and at least seven hours a day. There should be an additional session, apart from Budget, Monsoon and Winter, it says. And that all disruptions should be compensated by extending the session by as many hours as the House is adjourned due to the disorder. The draft also says the Business Advisory Committee should allocate 50% of the hours for discussion in the fourth session to non-ruling-party members, irrespective of the party’s strength.
The power tussle among Sasikala’s Mannargudi relatives continues. Her nephew TTV Dinakaran, who has been appointed acting general secretary in her absence, has the upper hand, but there are other contenders, including her brother Divakaran. Dinakaran was reportedly not inducted into EK Palaniswami’s Cabinet as there is an Enforcement Directorate case against him for alleged FERA violations, and some other pending cases. Dinakaran, a former MP who was once expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa, hopes to get around this hurdle by being appointed special representative of the Tamil Nadu government in New Delhi, with the status of a senior minister. Dinakaran believes he can then sit in the Tamil Nadu secretariat and Tamil Nadu House in Delhi and get access to official files. That way, he can keep an eye on the administration and liaise between the Centre and state on projects.
No language formula
DMK working president MK Stalin flew to Delhi last month to mend his party’s image after hooliganism in the Tamil Nadu Assembly during the confidence vote for chief minister EK Palaniswami. The problem for Stalin is that unlike his sophisticated step-sister Kanimozhi, a DMK MP who is at ease in the capital’s power circles, Stalin finds himself at a disadvantage since he knows no Hindi and very little English. At a meeting with some journalists in Delhi, the DMK heir apparent restricted himself largely to addressing fellow Tamilians. The two non-Tamilian journalists had a tough time and had to get other journalists to translate for them.
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VP Singh, a scion of the former royal house of Badnore, who was recently appointed governor of Punjab, noticed that in the sprawling grounds of the Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh, there is a gurdwara and a shrine for a peer. Singh, formerly a senior BJP MP from Bhilwara, has added a small temple for Lord Hanuman in the garden.