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Patna Diary

Face-to-face better than phone talks

These days, officials are sounding strained even in friendly conversations over phone. “The conversations are short and to the point,” said a person used to calling 10 officers a day. The officials are much more relaxed and informal while talking face-to-face, he added. fficials are calling it “Abhayanand effect”. “The phone tapping of former Sheikhpura superintendent of police Anusuiya Ransingh Sahu and former deputy inspector-general of Saran Alok Kumar has unnerved everybody. Even talking to your wife appears to have become official,” said an IPS officer. A political hue and cry was raised in the state over the alleged phone tapping of chief minister Nitish Kumar by a central agency until the Union government said it was doing its job. “It’s ironic that phones are being tapped on the pretext of detecting corruption,” he said, adding that the “big brother is watching” the corridors of power.

Chief guest debate

Mystery shrouds the sudden cancellation of All India Presiding Officials’ meet in Patna. Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary first acknowledged that the Lok Sabha secretariat had cancelled the mega event attended by Speakers and chairpersons of all legislative bodies of India. But he did not specify the reason. Much later, a letter of the Lok Sabha secretariat was circulated. It stated that the event had been cancelled because of the atmosphere in the country following the Delhi gang rape. “Even before this letter came, there was wrangling between the Lok Sabha and Bihar Assembly secretariats over who would be the chief guest of the event. The Lok Sabha secretariat was insisting on Speaker Meira Kumar, while the Bihar Assembly secretariat was adamant on chief minister Nitish Kumar. We were sure that the event would be cancelled on one pretext or another,” said an official of the Assembly secretariat.

Pandey learns to speak

The BJP state president, Mangal Pandey, was easily accessible before he was elevated to the new post. But now he is reluctant to take calls. “Actually, he is undergoing a learning process on what to speak and what not to speak. Senior leaders, including deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, have had long sessions with him,” said a BJP leader, recalling that Pandey’s predecessor Dr C.P. Thakur never used to wait to know the “mind” of other party leaders before going public. “Often Thakurji ended up contradicting the statements of other BJP leaders. He even spoke against the Nitish government,” he said, adding Pandey would hopefully not make the same mistake.

Minister shields BJP leader

BJP minister Giriraj Singh has mostly been in news because of his statements in favour of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Recently, he hogged the limelight shielding the party’s general secretary, Ananth Kumar, from the wrath of some supporters at Patna airport. A section of the BJP supporters banged the car in which Ananth was sitting. Well-built Giriraj took them on “physically” by pushing them back. “He did a better job than security guards. I would feel much safer with Giriraj than a government security guard,” said a senior BJP leader, stressing that Giriraj was better suited for taking care of security than a ministry.