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Why Bihar govt offices are tripplers' paradise

DELHI DIARIES: Union minister Ashwini 'bhai' wins hearts in Cuttack, Assam crackdown against drink driving works

The Editorial Board Published 16.01.22, 02:40 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File photo.

Tippler’s tricks

One of the provisions of the draconian prohibition law in Bihar allows the authorities to seal off premises where people are caught drinking. The rich may not care about this because they have many houses, but the majority cannot afford to lose their dwellings. The latter have thus found a way to bypass the law — they have started drinking stealthily inside government offices and buildings, leaving behind bottles and tetra packs as the tell-tale signs of their innovation. Liquor bottles have been recently found near the chief minister’s office in Patna, the legislative assembly premises, district collectorates, hospitals, schools, government farms and other such places. Although some people have been arrested for flouting the prohibition, the malaise is spreading fast. A senior officer in the state administration explained that “this is happening because the fear of houses being sealed has no impact if people drink at government offices. This is a sad situation because it rarely happened during the years before the state went dry in 2016.”

Personal touch


The Union minister for railways, electronics and communication and information technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, has an ease when it comes to connecting with the masses. He lends a personal touch to his interactions, making it easy for people to like him. He recently visited the millennium city, Cuttack, to lay the foundation for developing a second entry to the Cuttack railway station. While he was there, Vaishnaw said, “Please call me bhai. When I was the collector, all of you addressed me as brother. At that time I was the younger brother and now I am your elder brother (pointing to his grey hair). I am the same brother — call me Ashwini bhai”. He had served as the district collector of Cuttack in 2001. Delivering his address in Odia, the minister recalled his association with the city of Cuttack and how he walked the city streets during Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Cuttack. For each of his remarks, he received a resounding applause from the audience.

Sober drive

The administrative drive in Assam against drinking and rash driving has reduced the number of road mishaps and deaths related to these. Launched to minimize road deaths on December 31 and January 1 and then again on January 13 and 14 — for New Year and Bihu celebrations — so that festivities were not hampered for any family in the state, the drive has drawn a lot of public support. The Assam CM, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said that there were no deaths from road accidents on January 13 and 14 because of the sustained efforts by the district administrations and the police, not to mention support from the people.

Storm brewing

With elections to 24 of the seats in the Bihar legislative council around the corner, a storm is brewing between the Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Among the seats that have fallen vacant, a majority belong to the BJP and some to the JD(U), but the latter is now in favour of a 50:50 distribution along the lines of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The proposal has come from JD(U) parliamentary board national president, Upendra Kushwaha, who has Nitish Kumar’s support. He has pointed out that the JD(U) got 122 seats to BJP’s 121 in the 2020 assembly polls and they gave seven and 11 seats to Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and Vikassheel Insaan Party, respectively. However, this time, the BJP has 74 seats in the assembly compared to the JD(U)’s 45 and would not like to give these up. It will have to deny tickets to a few more legislators if it has to share a couple of seats with VIP, which could lead to rebellion in its ranks.

Bold decision

Media reports claimed that as many as 42 people, including party leaders and security personnel, from the BJP’s Delhi headquarters tested positive for Covid-19 recently. Mass testing was carried out because top leaders were scheduled to hold a meeting. The party chief, JP Nadda, and the defence minister, Rajnath Singh, had tested positive and joined the meeting virtually. But the scare led even the prime minister to attend virtually. The home minister, Amit Shah, however, was present at the office. Party officials recalled how Shah had campaigned without wearing a mask at the peak of the second wave. He has even caught the virus and had to be hospitalized twice in the past. Party cadres are using this to show how bold Shah is, not only as a minister but also in life.

Different image

Tamilians were pleasantly surprised by this year’s Pongal kit given to priority households under the public distribution system. In a culture known for its personality-driven politics, the kits were bereft of any image of the CM, MK Stalin. This is the norm in more mature democracies in the world, and even in the neighbouring state of Kerala. However, in Tamil Nadu, almost every asset funded by the State used to be branded with the face of the CM in power.


The Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala has learnt a bitter lesson. It recently courted controversy for organizing a traditional dance show with 500 of its women cadre during the Thiruvananthapuram district party congress. The CPI(M) has now called off a public meeting that was scheduled to take place in Kottayam. Its district units have decided to follow Covid-19 protocols in both letter and spirit after the Thiruvananthapuram fiasco.

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