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Patna Diary

Politics of touch-feet

After being re-inducted as a minister last Friday, BJP MLA Ramadhar Singh did what most politicians expected him to do — touch the feet of chief minister Nitish Kumar. “Singh thanked the chief minister for reintroducing him into the ministry,” a BJP MLA said. ut a senior JD(U) leader sounded philosophical about the “touch-feet politics”. “Politicians touch the feet of leaders only when the latter are generous. If they feel ignored by the leaders, they would not hesitate to put their hands on their leaders’ throats,” he said. The senior leader recalled that JD(U) MLA Chhedi Paswan had touched the feet of the chief minister when he was inducted into the ministry during the NDA-I. “But after being ignored in NDA-II ministry, Chhedi termed the chief minister a dictator. I am sure he would like to try his hand on the chief ministers throat,” he said.

Strict rules

The swearing-in of the Lokayukta at the Governor’s House saw officials enforcing the protocol strictly. When chief minister Nitish Kumar, sitting in the front row with deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, saw the Leader of the Opposition, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, sitting in a chair a row behind, he waved at Siddiqui to sit beside him in the front row. Siddiqui came and sat beside the chief minister. But when the chairman of the Bihar Vidhan Parishad, Tarakant Jha, arrived, Siddiqui was asked to sit in the chair next to Jha. “It is protocol,” an apologetic officer said. “Protocols are strictly followed at Raj Bhavan and during the President’s visit. Once Lalu Prasad had to stand behind a low profile mayor of Patna when the President of India visited the state,” a senior officer said.

Harassment still on

The government officials can always hassle citizens if the “service money” is not paid. After the suspension of a lady sub-inspector for asking money from the wife of a retired high court judge for police verification for her passport, people thought cops would not harass them for passport verification. But a niece of a senior IAS officer is having a torrid time having her verification done by the police. “The cop in his verification report wrote that the original home address of the applicant could not be verified,” the IAS officer said, stressing that his niece stayed in his house. Another officer was shocked after the cop concerned did the same thing in his wife’s case. “It is better to give money to the cops than having to run around getting the verification report verified. These cops will always find a way to extort people,” he said.

Missing ‘prasad’

Chief minister Nitish Kumar had political circles in giggles at a public function when he told health minister Ashwini Choubey that he was not getting “prasad” (divine offerings) from the health minister. “Perhaps the chief minister meant that he was not satisfied with the performance of the minister,” an onlooker said. However, a senior politician recalled that a couple of years ago there were rumours that Choubey had performed a puja at home because the chief minister was angry with him for his statements. “Perhaps the chief minister made the comment to remind Choubey about the puja,” he said.
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