Relation matters, even if distant

When Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag visited Wajidpur on the outskirts of Patna in search of his roots, BJP MLA from Bettiah Renu Devi had also rushed to the sleepy village. The legislator claimed that she had gone to Wajidpur because President Purryag was a distant relative. "But she could not justify how distant the relationship is. It must be very distant because the President's forefathers must have left Bihar more than 150 years ago," said an amused BJP leader. He recalled that when Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam had visited Bihar, there were a few claiming to be distant relations.

"It is always beneficial to have relatives in high positions. The Bihar leaders must be quite aware of this. Unknown persons often surface from nowhere, claiming themselves as bhaiya (brother), bhatija (nephew) or saala (brother-in-law) of politicians," a leader said, recalling that he had also received such "relatives" many times when he was a minister. "The funny part is that those who cannot connect with leaders as a relation try to connect as fellow caste men," he added.

Former JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Upendra Prasad Kushwaha's claim that several legislators and parliamentarians of the party are in touch with him and are ready to revolt against chief minister Nitish Kumar has left many leaders amused. "When Kushwaha returned from New Delhi after resigning as an MP, I came across him and even nodded at him. This does not mean that I am in touch with him. Politically speaking, I will not go anywhere near him," a JD(U) leader said. The lack of confidence in Kushwaha is primarily because of his defeat in the 2005 elections despite being elevated to the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. "He first has to look like a winner before trying to be an alternative for Nitish. Many MLAs are displeased with Nitish, but they will not go anywhere near Kushwaha now," a

Dal MP said.

A senior minister recently sought an appointment with an official in Darbhanga and got an appointment at 12pm. When the minister went to the office, he was told that the officer was busy and the former should meet him at 3pm. When the minister returned at 3pm, he was asked to come at 6pm. The

minister was obviously upset. "If this is the

situation of a minister, I can understand what can be the situation of the common man," the minister said, adding that officers were having the last say these days.

If the ongoing chill did not spare Nitish Kumar at one of his janata durbars despite arrangement of a

bonfire and blowers to

keep the meet warm,

blame it on his security

personnel. The trouble

was that the officers deployed for the chief minister's security came in between him and the

blowers in search of warmth. A shivering Nitish ultimately had to ask them to make way for the heat from the blowers to reach him as well. "I am feeling cold," the chief minister admitted.

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