Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene
All is fare in ink
Yesterday, apart from the elections, another piece of news that left many shaken was that of the proposed train fare hike, to be implemented from May 20.
Indian Railways were to have hiked fares for both suburban and long-distance trains, and a blanket hike of 10 per cent plus a fuel adjustment component of 4.2 per cent had been cleared by the Railway Board.
The okay had come on May 16 but its implementation was on hold till the code of conduct was in force. With the counting over yesterday, the code of conduct was deemed to be lifted and the announcement of the hike was imminent. But, like a suspenseful film scene, the announcement was put on ice at virtually the last minute.
We hear that in anticipation, the fare hike okay was drafted “in fair”. Only the space for the actual date was left blank, and was inked in at the end.
However, with the month and year being printed and the date being hand-written, it seemed a bit “off”, and apparently there were worries that the new government would look with suspicion on it, and perhaps even cancel it for this reason. Voila, the brakes came on and the hike was never announced.
The Modi wave may have swept across India, but not each and every one has been splashed by it. We were visiting a friend, whose housemaid glanced at the television set where of course it was all about NaMo. “The lotus is winning,” she observed. Then she added in puzzlement, “This Modi-ji, is he from UP?”
An SMS went viral yesterday on a social messaging app, claiming that those Shiv Sena leaders who had betrayed the party by leaving it, had lost the Lok Sabha elections to current Sena candidates and had thus received their just deserts. Chhagan Bhujbal lost by a huge margin of about 1 lakh votes to Sena candidate Hemant Godse.
Anand Paranjpe who had moved to the NCP lost to Shrikant Shinde of the Sena again by over 1 lakh votes. In Mumbai North, Sanjay Nirupam lost to BJP candidate Gopal Shetty by more than four lakh votes. One-time Sena man Narayan Rane’s son Nilesh Rane lost to Vinayak Raut. Some would call it justice, we think it’s just politics.
The Modi victory has naturally set social media ablaze. Jokes were a-plenty, of course, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been the butt of most of them. Freelance cartoonist Ashok Adepal was not to be left behind, and sent in his version of the Modi sweep.
What? You can’t hear me?
Television news anchor Arnab Goswami has been omnipresent in the run-up and on the result day of the elections. Last morning, ArGo, as he is known gave us a Laugh Out Loud (LOL) moment, taking a potshot at himself.
When he called a Congress party member for a comment, (the numbers were just coming in), he was told that he could not be heard.
To that ArGo reacted with a laugh, “You can accuse me of anything, there’s one thing though that you cannot accuse me of, and, that is not being loud enough.”
Spot on, ArGo. Glad to know that you’ve retained a sense of humour, even though post election coverage you may have lost your voice.