Chaos at manifesto release

Rahul Gandhi may have promised to change the face of Uttar Pradesh in the next five to 10 years, but the state of affairs in the Congress headquarters is more pathetic than that of the State. There was utter chaos and mismanagement at the release of the party's election manifesto in Lucknow on Tuesday.

The manifesto, containing the party's promises to the people, is considered an important document and is released by a senior leader, or a minister, or the party president. Then it is distributed to the media and the partymen. However, in this case the manifesto was ‘released' by some enterprising, albeit callous office-bearers even before the arrival of Kapil Sibal, Salman Khursheed and Sam Pitroda, the ministers assigned the task of releasing it. Confusion prevailed as the media personnel scrambled to get a copy of the manifesto. As a wag remarked, “This only shows how serious the Congress is to achieve its Mission 2012.”

Code over carnival

Goa's politicians, known for indulging in a “carnival of democracy” round the year with their perennial antics and skull-duggery, have for a change been deprived of participating in the real carnival of colours scheduled for four days between February 18-21, thanks to the stringent code of conduct in force in the tourist-friendly State. Following complaints from Opposition parties to EC officials, all the carnival committees across the State have given an undertaking to the Chief Electoral Officer that they will be headed by administrative officials of the State (State Tourism promotes carnival celebrations in different cities), and that no politician would be allowed to be part of the committees or be on their platforms. Many politicians would undoubtedly sulk over this missed opportunity. For instance, one of the senior-most Congress politician and south Goa MP Francisco Sardinha, who has been a Minister and the Chief Minister and has even presided intermittently over Lok Sabha as member of presiding officers' panel, began his public life by playing King Momo, the mythological carnival king, in a premier carnival parade in Panaji in the mid-70s and ushered in a four-day mock rule of “music, dance, fun and frolic” in the State.

A musician's message

Following the footsteps of the Election Commission, the Chief Electoral Office in Goa has chosen pop singer Remo Fernandes as the youth icon to promote ethical voting and spread the message about the need to vote. As many as nine hoardings of this famous singer of Goan origin have been erected in different parts of the State, courtesy the CEO. In the campaign, he reminds voters of their duty. At the national level, the Election Commission has already chosen former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Indian cricket captain M. S. Dhoni as icons to inspire the youth to come forward to enrol themselves in the electoral rolls and also to spread message about ethical voting. The State, which has registered nearly cent per cent election photo identity card coverage ahead of the March 3 Assembly elections, has enrolled nearly 21,000 new voters, including 8,000 newly-eligible voters during a 11-day special drive.

(Contributed by Atiq Khan and Prakash Kamat)