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Patna Diary

Shotgun plays down age factor, few don’t

What’s age got to do with L.K. Advani? Nothing, feels Shatrughan Sinha. It’s a big thing, felt a few BJP workers. ddressing a huge crowd at the Dak Bungalow roundabout, the Bollywood actor and Patna Sahib MP said: “Even at 84, Advaniji has shown exemplary courage by embarking on a 40-day journey (on a bus) to campaign against corruption across the country.” Playing down the issue of ageing of Advani, the actor-turned-politician recalled how Veer Kuer Singh had taken on the Britons when “he was quite an old man”. He also referred to Jyoti Basu, who was the chief minister of Bengal till the age of 86. The BJP workers, on the other hand, played up the issue. They erected 84 gates to welcome the 84-year-old leader to the city. A BJP worker insisted that Advani was absolutely fit and there was nothing wrong in projecting him as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate.

Daughter factor

The presence of L.K. Advani’s daughter, Pratibha, on his “rath” sparked off a gossip in the state BJP circle if she was the “political successor” of Advani. “There are some young leaders in our party who have been promoted by their fathers. But the top leaders of our party, especially Advaniji and Vajpayeeji, made their stand clear on dynasty rules. If Pratibhaji is ever promoted as Advaniji’s successor, it will be difficult for us to take on the Congress, which encourages dynasty rule,” he added.

Cellphones in MS mode

The Jan Chetna Yatra appears to have sparked a sense of humour among the BJP leaders. The other day, party MLC Harendra Pratap Singh entertained the crowd with his “A-to-Z of scams”. When a party leader appealed to his companions to keep their cellphones in silent mode in a meeting, a senior BJP leader said: “Perhaps we can use the Manmohan (Singh) mode instead. There is always silence at his end, too.” Since then, the BJP leaders in the state are using the term “Manmohan mode” whenever they want people to keep their mobile handsets in silent mode.

Ticket matters more than salary

When the state government announced a hike in salary and perks of ministers, the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of various boards and commissions enjoying the status of cabinet or state ministers were happy. Unfortunately, their salaries were not hiked. None of them now wants to plead for salary hike because they want to go to the chief minister for either a Rajya Sabha or a Bihar Legislative Council ticket.
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