10 or 9? Reporters noting down Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s speech at the public meeting in Machilipatnam last week were surprised to hear him talking about the Government’s resolve to set up a major port “in each of the 10 coastal districts” in the State. After the meeting was over, quite a few of them again and again counted the number of coastal districts starting with Srikakulam and reaching up to Nellore, but the total still came to nine. The scribes were really baffled as to how a Chief Minister could commit such a factual mistake. Well, the faux pas did not end there. A press release issued by the Information & Public Relations Department by the end of the day, highlighting the points from the Chief Minister’s speech, faithfully reported that the Chief Minister had talked of “the Government’s commitment to set up a major port in each of the 10 coastal districts.” The King is always right!

Vanishing act

Though the annual summer coaching camps for various sports and games are all set to begin in a couple of days, the coaches’ fraternity of Vijayawada is in a sombre mood. Not due to the expected oppressive heat wave, but due to lack of commitment on the part of the youngsters and their parents. Many coaches feel that once the camp is over, youngsters plunge into academics and forget all that they learn in the playground. “This happens every year. For many parents, sending their wards to a camp is only to keep him or her occupied for a while. We toil hard and identify precocious talent only to find them vanish in thin air. All the money and energy goes waste, as there is no will amongst youngsters to succeed in sports,” says a senior coach.

Sense of humour

VIPs who come to receive VVIPs at Gannavaram Airport usually make a beeline for the air-conditioned VIP lounge to relax for a while. But, Minister for Animal Husbandry Mandali Buddha Prasad, who came to receive PCC chief D. Srinivas, surprised all by sitting on a concrete bench under the shade of a neem tree in front of the arrival section. When a scribe asked him why he was sitting outside, he said he found it more pleasant. Drawing Mr. Buddha Prasad’s attention to the hectic activity of party workers at the airport, another scribe told the Minister, “This tempo must be maintained.” Punning on the word, the Minister replied, “I own neither a tempo nor an auto,” sending everyone into peals of laughter.

Making an impression

What’s in a name, well if that is a question worth asking, then think of zillion possibilities of what’s in a photo frame? The worthiness of a good photo with the persons that matter is known to all, but for politicians, they are the tickets to the hall of fame. Those attending the Chief Minister’s meeting at Ponnur on Sunday, could not have missed the sight of Guntur-2 MLA T. Venkat Rao closeted with the Chief Minister showing him photo albums of the recent Praja Patham programme in Guntur.

The photo album had been indeed Mr. Rao’s ticket to success in the politics. A little bird tells the story of how Venkat Rao, then an aspiring youth leader caught the attention of the then Chief Minister Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy by presenting him with a photo album of his one-day tour to the district on the same evening. Mr. Reddy apparently liked it and asked Venkat Rao to accompany him till the Gannavaram Airport. That not only ensured Mr. Rao his due in the party, but also became the talking point in the Congress for a long time.

(Srimali K.,

J. R. Shridharan and G.V.Ramana Rao in Vijayawada and

P. Samuel Jonathan in Guntur)