The petite lady would not have dreamt of being ‘promoted’ in such a way, but an MLA probably thought that no one less than an ambassador could visit his constituency. Machilipatnam MLA Perni Venkataramaiah kept referring to Sara M. Cohen, Head of Press and Cultural Affairs Department in Embassy of the Netherlands, as ‘Ambassador of the Netherlands’ at a seminar last week. Dignitaries present there did not make any attempt to correct him. What was more surprising was the press note issued by I&PR Department faithfully referred to her as ‘ambassador’. And so were some vernacular dailies, which reported the proceedings of the seminar by referring to her as ‘ambassador’.

Striking right chord

The best way to impress audience is to address them in their mother tongue. Minister of State for Railways R. Velu, who has some rudimentary knowledge of Telugu, was doubtful at a meeting he addressed in the city recently whether his Telugu could be chaste enough to convince the listeners. He chose to take the permission of the audience before starting to speak in Telugu. After speaking a few sentences, Mr. Velu asked the audience if they were able to understand his pronunciation. When a good number of them signalled their no-objection to his Telugu speech, Mr. Velu proceeded confidently and completed his speech in Telugu in his own rhythmical style that was enjoyed by the audience.

For a small break

Kankipadu MLA Devineni Rajasekhar was very happy when Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy visited the city last week that a Chief Minister had come “for the first time” to address a public meeting in his Assembly constituency. The dais was packed to capacity with Ministers, officials and local leaders. Even ladies had to stand for want of chairs. Zilla Parishad Vice-Chairman Tatineni Padmavati and Deputy Mayor Anne Prasanna were two such luckless ladies. Suddenly, Minister for Revenue Dharmana Prasada Rao got up from his seat even as the meeting was in progress and left the dais. When some curious scribes followed him to see the important chore that made him leave so unceremoniously, they saw him lighting up a smoke.

Reds always ahead

When it comes to the streak of innovation among city politicians, the ‘Reds’ are always ahead of others. Be it on the road or in the VMC debates, media-savvy Reds often come out with some outlandish ideas to protest against the government’s policies. They seem to enjoy a patent over evolving new forms of protests, such as plastering their mouths, wearing mosquito nets and sometimes wearing nothing above the waist to express their dissent. Continuing the tradition, CPI activists recently installed make-shift vegetable stalls at various places in the city to protest against the rise in the prices of essential commodities. Several corporators played the role of vegetable vendors. The stalls attracted several homemakers and other passers-by, who obliged the CPI activists to stop for a while at them and sign the post cards to be sent en masse to the Government to protest against price rise.

‘Claustrophobia’ allowance

Scribes, who went to attend a press conference jointly addressed by State Ministers C. Damodar Rajanarsimha (School Education) and Mukesh Goud (BC Welfare) in a star hotel, were in for a rude shock. They were asked to head to a small congested room, over-crowded by members of a union who wanted to submit a memorandum. The reporters had to virtually jostle their way into the room only to find no place to sit. To add to their woes, the air-conditioning was not functioning. Barring the electronic media personnel who surrounded the two Ministers who could not even be seen by others, the print media journalists struggled to make sense of the Ministers’ barely audible speech. A scribe walking out in a huff was heard murmuring: “May be it’s time we put forth a demand for ‘claustrophobia’ allowance.”

( K. Srimali, G. Ravikiran, G.V. Ramana Rao, J R Shridharan and P. Sujatha Varma)