of red in House
Red seemed to be the popular colour at the Assembly recently, only to leave two MLAs red-faced later.
he JD(U) MLA, Ranvijay Singh, was seen this week wearing a red kurta. Singh, lodged in jail for the past five years in connection with a murder, is a strong believer in astrology. When he went inside chief minister Nitish Kumar’s chamber, he found the latter discussing the findings of the Curiosity’s landing on Mars, the red planet. Noticing Singh’s kurta, Nitish asked him why he was wearing it. “The colour does not appear to have got you a bail,” Nitish said. Later, another JD(U) MLA, Rahul Kumar, entered Nitish’s chamber again in a red kurta. Son of Jehanabad MP Jagdish Sharma, Rahul is newly wed. Nitish said he was entitled to wear red all year round. “After all, he got married recently,” said the chief minister. “Nitish’s remarks led to the two MLAs coming to the Assembly in spotless white kurtas the next day — Rahul to avoid attracting the chief minister’s eye and Singh his comment. Singh said his astrologer had advised him to wear green that day but he kept to white,” said an onlooker.
Posters were splashed across the state capital for the meet of the students’ wing of the JD(U). “The funny thing was that the ‘student’ leaders who figured in the posters were all 40-plus. One of them even has three children,” said a BJP activist. In fact, most student leaders in Patna across party lines are “over-aged”. Patna University authorities claim that most of the students who protest outside colleges and the varsity gates do not have anything to do with the institutions. “One may wish to remain a student for life but political parties must put an age restriction for their students’ wing if they want to mould future student leaders,” said the BJP activist. He remembered that back in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Youth Congress leaders were all 50-plus. “It was late Rajiv Gandhi who fixed the age limit for Youth Congress leaders at 35,” he added.
A group of first-time MLAs noticed recently that some ministers had identical answer to different questions in the Assembly. “Deputy chief minister (who holds the finance portfolio also) Sushil Kumar Modi cited lack of infrastructure and land for opening a bank’s branch in a remote area. So did art, culture, sports and youth affairs minister Sukhda Pandey on a demand for a stadium in a block. Education minister P.K. Shahi had the same answer to a demand for opening a new school. Energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav also cited lack of infrastructure as a hurdle for providing power to some villages. The ministers just changed names of the locations in their answers. Instead of reading out their answers, they could have just said ‘ditto’,” suggested an MLA.
Demand for action against an official in the mining department from RJD MLAs in the Assembly has raised eyebrows in the official and political circles. While the mining minister, Satyadev Narayan Arya, strongly defended the official, the RJD MLAs continued to demand action against him. They claimed the official had abused a senior officer. The Speaker ultimately asked the principal secretary of the department to send a report. “Rarely is a question related to an individual so hotly debated in the Assembly,” said an official, wondering the RJD’s motive behind the demand. “Actually, the sand mining business is still in the control of the RJD sympathisers. The official concerned was making their (RJD leaders) life hell,” said a BJP MLA.