Motorcycle riders in Palakkad, Kerala, were in for a treat last weekend. The traffic police in the city distributed over 300 laddoos among them. No, there was no festival; it wasn't even a traffic department party. In fact, the two-wheeler riders got a warning after they enjoyed their sweet treat. "It is laddoos today but if you do not pay heed to traffic rules, you will have to pay Rs 1,000 as fine," the riders not wearing the helmet were told. This was part of an awareness campaign highlighting the need to follow safety rules. The state has made mandatory that pillion riders on two-wheelers wear the helmet and those sitting in the back seat of a car wear the seat belt.
Expose corruption, get notice
A case of “shooting the messenger” has raised questions about the Uttar Pradesh administration’s willingness to clean up the system. Recently, a police sub-inspector on duty at the state secretariat in Lucknow was caught on camera taking a bribe of Rs 100 to allow a contractor to enter the premises without a valid pass. The clip became viral, following which the police person was suspended and an inquiry into the matter was ordered by the UP secretariat’s administration. Now three government employees have been served notice for video-graphing the incident and making it public on social media. When an employees’ body flayed the action against the three, the head of the department expressed ignorance about this, adding that he would “look into the matter”.
Kishor missing in action
The Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), has started preparing its strategy for next year’s Assembly elections in Bihar, but its professional poll strategist, Prashant Kishor, is busy elsewhere. Kishor is on a professional assignment with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Sources say the JD(U)'s centre of action has shifted to Delhi, where Rajya Sabha MP Ram Chandra Prasad Singh has started working on two crucial aspects –— identifying the probable candidates and balancing the equations with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an ally. JD(U) sources say Kishor’s designated number two status in the party is largely symbolic; after President Nitish Kumar, Singh’s writ runs in the party. Given Kumar’s fast-changing preferences of allies and key aides within the party, one really doesn't know...