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BL Diary - Congress photo-op

OUR BUREAUS | Updated on October 02, 2011

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A senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sounded quite confident about National Democratic Front's chances of success if general elections were to be held now. But when asked who would be projected as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate against Rahul Gandhi, the leader took a dig at the Congress party's strategy to project the Gandhi scion. “Congress seems to be using him (Rahul) just for photo-ops, such as flying to quake-hit Sikkim or addressing college-goers who swoon over his dimples. It seems they have realised that every time he opens his mouth, he gets found out!”

A doctorate for Anand

Taking on multiple contestants on the chess board is perhaps much easier for Indian Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand than receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hyderabad (UoH). Two attempts by the UoH to present him a Doctorate have been checkmated, literally. First, it was a mess-up on the issue of his nationality - Indian or Spanish (Anand lives in Spain and sharpens his game plans) that held up the presentation of the Doctorate. Yet again on Saturday, at the 13th Convocation, Anand's name was read out along with Prof. Amartya Sen and poet Ashok Bajpeyi, to be presented the ‘honoris causa'. However, the Master could not make it this time as he was playing the World Championships in Spain.

Too small to collect?

Investors seem to have graduated to asking probing questions at AGMs, from just running down the company's management on the subject of low dividends. At the recent Hindalco Industries AGM, an investor wanted to know why the company has cut down its donations to charities to Rs 36 crore from Rs 51 crore last year; he also wanted the names of the beneficiaries. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, said that besides the usual donations to educational trusts and institutions, the company had donated Rs 5 lakh to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. No donations had been made to political parties, he added. Going by the wealth declarations made by politicians voluntarily, they certainly can do without funds from India Inc.

Model response

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee gave a ‘broad-spectrum' answer to a specific question on Gujarat. The question went something like this. “During his ‘Sadbhavna Fast', Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that his State has been recognised as a model State by the country and the world. What is your perception of the Gujarat development model?” The Minister, at a meeting of public sector bankers on September 17, replied, “My approach and objective of this meeting was to review the performance of the banking sector in the States in the Western Zone. I found that the States in the Zone have done reasonably well in the credit disbursement, financial inclusion, expansion of bank branches, and also resource mobilisation. The performance of the banking sector in the West Zone is quiet encouraging. Thank you!”

Published on October 02, 2011

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