- Rs 20L seized from Ajit Chandila relative's home, another ex-cricketer held
- India and China ask SRs to work on more border steps
- Can't charge man with rape over consensual sex even if marriage eludes: Supreme Court
- Saudi Arabian authorities refuse to accept new Indian passports
- FIR filed against Facebook for not discontinuing hate page
P Chidambaram has performed the delicate feat of producing a Budget which will secure some electoral advantage without running up an economic bill. But perhaps Headlines Today w
as misguided in assuming that the biggest payout is the fealty of Nitish Kumar. In the press conference following the Budget speech, an unnamed reporter also asked the Finance Minister why Kumar had thanked him seven times. "Why are you so concerned that he's thanking me?" laughed Chidambaram. "Why don't you put on a happy face? He's taken a non-political view of the Budget." Indeed, the political payouts of this Budget will come from beneficiary groups, not potential allies.
While Chidambaram discussed taxation with the media, while Yashwant Sinha colourfully dismissed his Budget as "baazigari", the shadow economy that Chidambaram can never hope to tax carried on business as usual.
I started surfing in the reasonably mainstream and then descended into the underworld. Outraged by the tax hike on air-conditioned restaurants, Sahara UP asked a student: "Would you take your girlfriend out, ever again?" "Never!" blared the embittered student. But meanwhile, STV Haryana News was investigating another aspect of the restaurant business. Ignoring Chidambaram's Budget, it reported a raid on a restaurant in Bahadurgarh which rents out cabins to couples for Rs 200. Bang for buck and no tax comebacks.
And all the while Chidambaram was fielding questions in Delhi - including the leading question about Nitish Kumar's gratitude, which would have interested viewers in Bihar - Mahua News was reporting loot, pillage and financial criminality from almost every one of the 38 districts of the state. In Begusarai, a huge cache of booze had come up in fishing nets cast into the Baghmati river. Not hooch, mind you. That would have been so routine. Booze, probably dumped to escape the attention of the excise department.
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