The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patna Diary

Lalu, now a family man

The RJD leaders who do not go to Delhi frequently will have to scratch their head to recall how long they have not seen their leader Lalu Prasad. It has been months since they have seen the party chief in Patna. “Laluji has become a grihasthi (family man) in Delhi. He has a one-point agenda — getting his daughter married off,” said a party leader. he RJD chief's fourth daughter was married off in Delhi recently. The party leaders point out that the marriages of his fifth and sixth daughters have also been fixed. His fifth daughter will reportedly tie knot later this month. That will leave him with one daughter to marry off. “Once he is done with his grihastha dharma, we shall hopefully see him in Patna more requently and he will engage in politics — the thing he is better known for,” said the leader.

Food for thought

The state road construction department is busy with a complex assignment. No, it is not about roads in Bihar. It is about the menu of the lunch to be hosted in honour of Union minister for road transport C.P. Joshi on Wednesday. The event will be held at a rest house near the airport. “For the past two days the department has been deciding on the menu,” said a source, pointing out that only 40 persons, including chief minister Nitish Kumar, had been invited to the event. Agreed, that official dinners and lunches are elaborate matters. “But it is best to leave the matter to the caterers,” he added, wondering how much time the department took to decide on roads.

Bitter UP experience

An experience of a senior JD(U) leader while campaigning in UP appears to have tickled even his partymen. “The senior leader landed in Balia with a chopper. There were just four persons on the stage to receive him and a very motley crowd (less than 50 persons) to hear him. The leader stared at the vacant ground and asked the men on the stage who was the candidate for this constituency. The senior JD(U) leader was in a mood to give a piece of his mind to the candidate for organising such a poor show. But he became all the more frustrated to learn that the candidate was absent and that he (the candidate) had gone to refuel his vehicle,” said a JD(U) leader present at the venue. “Bihar leaders are not big crowd-pullers in UP. Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan and Sushil Modi do manage to draw moderate crowd to their rallies. But a few vote for their parties. Lalu is a crowd-puller, but his party does not get too many votes,” said a senior politician.

Flat for a crore

The official circles are abuzz with reports of a senior bureaucrat purchasing a flat in Bangalore spending over Rs 1.25 crore. “Even the officers in Bangalore were amazed. But the bureaucrat told them that he knew how to manage things,” said an official at the secretariat. Incidentally, the talk in the corridors of power is how much money has gone to the cities in South India from Bihar. “The amount will be staggering. It will be less than Bihari students studying in engineering colleges in the South Indian cities,” said another official sarcastically.