Favourites for tinsel town stars
Film stars find it difficult to stay away from politics in Bihar but Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia was like a breath of fresh air recently. In the state capital for a fashion show, she was thrown an unexpected question from the media. “Who do you like better? Nitish Kumar or Lalu Prasad?”
eha promptly replied that she would not be able to answer the question, as she had very little understanding about politics in Bihar. “At least she was honest. There are some Bollywood stars who end up praising both,” said a member of an event management company. The stars, better left to speak on their films or lifestyle, had been known to frequently visit 1 Aney Marg during the Lalu-Rabri era. The trend has cooled off in Nitish Kumar’s regime with only the big names like Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif visiting the chief minister’s residence. “There is hardly anything to do in Patna except meet a couple of star politicians. So they (the film stars) tend to go to 1 Aney Marg,” said a senior politician.
JD MP Ram Kripal Yadav recently attended a function at Commerce College in Patna. There, the out-of-power leader was hotly pursued by a man seeking Yadav’s help to admit his son to LN Mithila Institute of Economic Development & Social Change. The man wanted Yadav to use his influence but the latter said he was in no position to oblige, as the RJD was no longer in power. “Nitish Kumar and his party workers do these sort of jobs nowadays,” said a candid Yadav. “Ram Kripal Yadav at least had an honest confession. There are some politicians who would give false assurances to people for works they know they are incapable of doing,” said an onlooker. Out-of-power politicians, however, allege that people pester them for getting different works done. “The number of persons coming to me for getting their work done is increasing despite the fact that I have been out of power for the past seven years,” mourned a former RJD minister.
delegation of tobacco farmers met deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi complaining that traders were imposing taxes on them at the ground-level to realise the tariff slammed on the sale of tobacco by the state government. Modi said the farmers should resort to strike and stage a dharna in the state capital. “More than half the legislators and mediapersons chew tobacco. I am sure the issue will catch their interest,” Modi joked. The list of people who chew tobacco also consists of several ministers and the chief minister.
JD chief Lalu Prasad is claiming credit for getting the Centre to agree on having two central universities in Motihari and Gaya. The RJD chief had taken out a padyatra from Motihari to Gaya to press for the demand. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi has another version, though. “The Union human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal, told the chief minister that the Centre would establish the central universities at both places. Laluji got a whiff of it and pre-planned his padyatra so that he could take credit for the Centre’s announcement. If Laluji can, he should undertake a padyatra to convince the Centre to make the Patna University a central university,” said Modi. Both the JD(U) and BJP leaders were also quick to point out that a padyatra means covering a route by foot. “But Laluji covered the distance between Motihari and Gaya in an air-conditioned car,” quipped a BJP leader.