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National - Elections 2004 Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

POLL-POURRI

Double standards

An innocuous report in a Hindi daily has provoked the JD (U) into "questioning" the Congress' "double standards." The (unconfirmed) news report said the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi's son, Rahul Gandhi, had asked for the doors of 10, Janpath to be thrown open to party functionaries from Amethi — to give them better access to him.

The JD (U) spokesman, Shiv Kumar, has sought an "apology" from the Congress for objecting to Jaya Jaitley functioning as the then JD (U) president from George Fernandes' house when the Tehelka scandal broke.

"The JD (U) party office was located in the house of Mr. Fernandes, the MP, and not of the Defence Minister. Still the Congress raised a hue and cry and boycotted Mr. Fernandes in Parliament. Now we want to know how Rahul Gandhi can function from the residence of Sonia Gandhi, who is privy to sensitive `files' in her capacity as the Leader of Opposition."

Awe-struck

Bajirao Naik had never seen so many cars in his life. So when Congress president Sonia Gandhi's motorcade arrived at his village of Lamzana Phata in Maharashtra, the farmer was both elated and puzzled. Why was one car's beauty marred by bristling ugly rods and frames, he asked the masterji (school teacher) next to him.

"This is [a] jammer. It blocks all waves emanating from hidden remote control devices aimed at exploding a bomb. This car stays close to Soniaji's car. In the event that a terrorist plants a bomb on the road or alongside it, the bomb will not go off because it will be jammed," the latter explained.

Naik found the explanation about this high-tech security system so engrossing that he paid hardly any attention to what the Congress president was was saying. He continued to stare at the "jammer car".

His last question to the teacher was, "Who provides this jammer car? Surely the Government?."

All for a vote

The telecom services have come in handy for politicians. If the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, explained the "India Shining" concept to people through the Reliance network, a BSP candidate, P. Madhusudhan Rao, has chosen BSNL to reach out to his voters in the Himayatnagar Assembly segment in Andhra Pradesh.

BSNL subscribers in Himayatnagar shouldn't be surprised if an aide of Mr. Rao calls them up and seeks their valuable vote in favour of his leader.

Mr. Rao seems to have done quite a painstaking job of extracting a list of subscribers in his constituency from the BSNL directory.

In any case, there is a precedent. The tech-savvy Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, spends 45 minutes each morning calling up voters across the State in a phone-in programme called "your vote, your child, your future."

Gargi Parsai, Arunkumar Bhatt, N. Rahul

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