Trust the BJP leaders to take the laughter out of the lives of their tireless party workers. The one bright spot in the solemn proceedings of BJP party conventions has traditionally been the hasya kavi sammelans, where satirical poetry provides some much-needed comic relief to the cadre and leadership alike. But thanks to the six MPs caught in the cash-for-questions scam, there will be only solemnity and no hasya when the BJP national council meets in Mumbai a few days from now. Given the tradition of hasya kavi sammelans, the party leaders were afraid that the poets would pick on the 'super six' as the most obvious subject for satire. Pramod Mahajan, the party gensec, said as much at the pre-convention party he hosted for journalists. So, instead of some funny poems, the party workers will be treated to a veer kavi sammelan, where a slightly different breed of poets will try to inject some valour into the rank and file through poems on the subject of bravery. Should we offer our heartfelt commiseration to the saffron partymen'
Three is crowd
In a different party circuit, a tussle is on between two Jammu and Kashmir Rajya Sabha MPs, Karan Singh and Saifuddin Soz, for a berth in the Manmohan Singh cabinet. Karan Singh, the former maharaja, has been eyeing a berth for a long time, but Soz left the National Conference for the Congress, so his case cannot be ignored either. The former is said to have proposed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi that Soz be packed off to Srinagar as the Pradesh Congress chief. However, a little hurdle has cropped up. To ensure smooth sailing for the Azad government in the valley, the Congress leadership is planning to bring Mufti Mohammed Sayeed (or his daughter) to the Centre. Now, the situation calls for the best of royal manoeuvres.
Where did those lines go'
Yet another saffron MP was in for a shock in parliament. The other day, Vijayendra Pal Singh, the BJP Lok Sabha member from Bhilwara, made a charged speech, where he recalled how Indira Gandhi did not waste time in getting a Lok Sabha membership after she became the prime minister while still a Rajya Sabha member. But now we have a prime minister, said Singh, who has no qualms about continuing to be a member of the House of States. A few days later, Singh received the verbatim report of his speech from the Lok Sabha secretariat. But all references to the prime minister, including whole sentences, were deleted, and thus, expunged from the records. Howzzat'
Better luck next time
If Ghulam Nabi Azad is the Congress's man with the Midas touch, Digvijay Singh has managed to earn the opposite reputation. The just-deposed AICC general secretary in charge of Assam has come in for some serious flak from his own partymen. 'After losing his home state, Madhya Pradesh, he has lost Orissa and Bihar, and the party will lose Assam too if he is not replaced fast, complained the rebel Congress MP from Barpota in Assam. Usmani has even threatened to resign if the Assam CM, Tarun Gogoi and Digvijay are not replaced. A group of sitting and former MLAs from Assam met the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and the lady from 10 Janpath and aired their grievance. They had a clinching argument. If the Congress gets defeated in Assam, how will the prime minister, who is a Rajya Sabha member from the state, get re-elected to the upper house' And pronto, out went Digvijay, in came Ahmad Patel, with additional charge of Assam.
A riot of colours
Guess who had come to lunch with the babalog. First, the fact that the Young Turks of the Congress, BJP and the left were breaking bread with one another at a lunch hosted by the Congress's Milind Deora was enough to set the rumour mills churning. On top of that, the not-so-young, non-MP comrade, Prakash Karat ' not one famous for attending such 'dos' ' too made an appearance to give company to Rahul Gandhi, Suresh Prabhu, Mohammed Salim, Manvendra Singh and the rest. Can we smell a new revolution here, Mr Karat'
This game above all
Somnath Chatterjee will be a relieved man now that Sourav Ganguly is certain to board the plane to Pakistan. The whole of last week, the Lok Sabha speaker was extremely upset over the Bengal boy's exclusion, and made sure that his displeasure reached Indian cricket's 'man in Pawar'. But not before he clarified that he is a cricket-lover and not another parochial Bengali.
Smells like poll strategies
New Year will toll election bells for West Bengal. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and team favour a date after April. If Alimuddin Street is buzzing with activity, it is not because New Year's ahead, but because the list of candidates must be drawn up soon. Insiders reveal that Buddhababu, bolstered by his rising popularity graph and encouraging noises from the industry, wants a new look in the all-important list as well. In other words, he would like to see a few old faces go. No prizes for guessing that the first name in this category belongs to one Subhas Chakraborty. But what options does the controversial man have' Does he join hands with non-left forces' Or will he suddenly go all soft and squishy and stay on' To those close to him, Subhasbabu has trashed Bhattacharjee, Anil Biswas and company. But there are hints that he will press for the nomination of his wife Ramala as well. As things stand now, his request will be refused. And then'