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Keen competition in Kerala

Our Bureaus | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 15, 2016

Upping the vote An architect firm's tongue-in-cheek public awareness message Bijoy Ghosh

As campaigning drew to a close on Saturday, it seemed to many that this time’s Assembly elections in Kerala have been more keenly fought than almost any other in recent times. The BJP-led NDA, long thought of as chokers in the State, seems to have suddenly transformed itself and is threatening to end the bipolar politics fashioned by traditional rivals, the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF. It’s a no-holds-barred fight as the State goes to the polls today.

While the PM led a phalanx of Union ministers in the BJP charge, the leading lights of the CPI(M) politburo hit the streets to drive the LDF campaign. For the Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Mukul Wasnik kept the flag flying even as party vice-president Rahul Gandhi skipped his programmes due to illness.

Spiritually, Sikka

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka seems to be spiritually inclined. He has named a set of services ‘Aikido’. The syllables read separately, Ai, Ki and Do are Japanese words that mean to combine, spirit and path/way, respectively. He named another service ‘Mana’, a Polynesian word for the pervasive supernatural power that flows through all things. Investors will hope this power will recharge them.

Beat up mayor

Pravin Patel, mayor of the Gandhinagar municipal corporation in Gujarat, has the dubious distinction of being a BJP leader-turned-Congressman-turned BJP leader. When the BJP and the Congress both won 16 seats each in the corporation polls recently, the ruling party lured back its ‘lost’ leader (Pravin Patel) with the promise of mayorship. This infuriated the Congressmen who thrashed Patel in the corporation premises last week. Nine of them were arrested.

Teaching troubles

Some 60,000 primary, secondary and higher secondary schools declared unscheduled holidays from April 11 onward because of the heat. Now the schools have been asked to open for just two days — May 16 and 17 — before the summer vacation which officially begins on May 18. The students are delighted. The teachers have no idea how they will complete the syllabus.

Cheers!

Prohibition has become the central plank for all political parties in Tamil Nadu. Opposition parties assure total prohibition from day one if they are voted to power. The ruling AIADMK says it will introduce it in stages. For every vote supporting prohibition there is one against it.

Gadkari goes candid

Minister Nitin Gadkari quite candidly told CEOs at a meeting that there is a common perception that if someone in authority helps a contractor, officials worry it can be mistaken for corruption, so decision-making is delayed. He feels if the administration is transparent this can be tackled. Cautioning the cement industry against forming a cartel and hiking prices, he said the government is planning concrete roads. “I will give good terms,” he said, but if prices go up, there are 10 public sector units that can supply cement. “I will set (the price) at ₹100 a bag. So take reasonable profits and increase production to meet the demand,” he urged.

Published on May 15, 2016
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