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Patna Diary

Lalu, Nitish sit side by side

Chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad flew to New Delhi on Tuesday sitting side by side in the same flight. Supporters of both the leaders are curious about what the two political foes talked about during the more than 90-minute flight.

"We all know that they criticise each other in public and mockingly refer to each other as barey bhai and chhotey bhai (elder brother and younger brother). But now with trouble brewing in the JD(U)-BJP alliance, Laluji can perhaps give advice to his chhotey bhai on how to deal with it. Laluji has a long experience in dividing alliance partners. While he was in power he engineered splits in the BJP, JMM, BSP and CPI, which had supported his government,” said a JD(U) leader. The BJP leaders appear convinced that the two talk to each other over phone almost every day.

Tiwari on right track

National spokesperson of JD(U) Shivanand Tiwari was the only top leader of the party not invited to the meeting at chief minister Nitish Kumar’s official residence at 1 Aney Marg last Saturday. “Tiwari’s statement defending Pranab Mukherjee’s performance as the finance minister triggered the meeting. To bring in Tiwari would have meant inviting a row. Besides, Tiwari does not like to be mixed with other spokespersons in the party,” said a senior JD(U) leader. But the gag imposed on him about speaking any further on the BJP-JD(U) alliance appears to have worked. On Monday, he issued a statement against the wasteful expenditure incurred by the Union government in renovating offices. “We will be perfectly happy if Shivanandji goes this way,” said the JD(U) leader

Medics run out of patience

The junior doctors of Patna Medical College and Hospital perhaps called off their strike losing patience after two weeks. “On earlier occasions, there appeared to be an urgency on the part of the government to end the strike of doctors. But this time, the government appeared to be in no hurry,” said a senior doctor. Old-timers at the state secretariat recalled the Lalu model of ending strikes. “He used to leave the employees on strike alone. As the strikes dragged on, the employees used to get desperate to get back to work. The trade union concerned used to plead to Lalu to issue an appeal to the agitating employees. Lalu used to agree reluctantly after a few days,” said a seasoned trade unionist, wondering if the Nitish government followed the same policy for the strike of the medics.

Reluctant speaker

Senior IAS officer in the chief minister’s secretariat S. Sidhartha, made the Patna commissioner in-charge for some time, was found to be a reluctant speaker by the newspersons. “I have to go back to the chief minister’s office and I do not want many statements appearing in my name,” he told reporters. Officials know that the chief minister loves to take jibes at officials appearing in the media frequently. An official was recently told to concentrate on his work instead of issuing statements.