If Lalu Prasad’s wishes were horses, trains would fly. And in that event, the drivers of these serpentine carriers would, of course, have to be referred to as pilots. Even if wishes aren’t horses, there’s still Lalu Prasad. He might not have the werewithal to make trains levitate — although his supporters insist that he has worked enough miracles for Indian Railways — but he has thought of the next best thing. If he has his way, engine drivers of Indian trains will be called pilots soon. Let’s try to ignore the ensuing linguistic confusions for a while. But will a change in name usher in a higher standard of living for the tribe of engine drivers' And what if the pilots (of the aeroplane variety) strike work in protest against their status-mark being made common thus' In Bihar, they say Lalu Prasad has a solution for every problem.
The parivar is upset with the family — rather with the importance given to the Mahajan family. First, the media went ga-ga over the engagement and marriage of the disgraced Rahul Mahajan, and then came Poonam Mahajan’s grand induction into the BJP. The live telecast of Rahul’s wedding by some TV channels had raised several eyebrows in the party, and the speculation that the channels had been paid in lakhs to cover the do. The annoyance of some BJP-wallahs was more than evident. When one of them was asked whether Poonam was indeed joining, he couldn’t keep his anger in check. “Why don’t you ring them and ask,” he snapped. “The entire family seems ready to join.” Tch, tch, tch, did we spot the colour green somewhere' Why, isn’t the parivar about sons and daughters' There’s Vasundhara Raje’s and Jaswant Singh’s, to name only two...
And Antony is a humble man. AK Antony, that is. So much so that he is unwilling to move out of his three-room first-floor accommodation into a larger, securer set-up. The security agencies are in a bit of a quandary, though they’ve dealt with humble men before. George Fernandes too gave two hoot about his personal security, but then, he lived in a spacious bungalow. Another instance of Antony’s simple living' He will have nothing but some authentic Kerala idlis. So now the raksha mantrak has visitations from the Kerala House idli-makers thrice a day.
How to tie one’s pajama strings
With Uma Bharti around, the Congress in Madhya Pradesh does not have to try very hard to embarrass the ruling BJP. The other day, former Congress CM Digvijay Singh got up in the assembly and gave a graphic description of a verbal duel between the sadhvi and the chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan. In the course of the slanging match, Bharti is known to have reminded her ex-comrade that she had taught him how to tie pajama strings. Not stopping at that, the sanyasin apparently went on to curse the CM and remind him of the fate of a BJP leader who had been killed recently. At the end of Diggy Raja’s narration, the BJP contingent in the house looked definitely undecided about who they hated more, the sadhvi or the Raja.
Too many sulky faces
If you take a peek inside 11 Ashoka Road right now, chances are that you will be met with a sulky face. And the sulk need not have been brought on by the media’s fussing over the Mahajan family. LK Advani has been cross for some time now, and cut himself off from organizational matters. Middle-rung leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are upset at being overtaken by Rajnath Singh. Jaswant Singh is sulky because he feels he did not get his party’s backing during the controversy over the mention of a mole in the PMO in his book. Yashwant Sinha is unhappy at having to play bit-parts in the party as well as in parliamentary affairs. Swaraj — other than the ambitious bit — is also heartbroken that she was denied the Vidisha parliamentary seat. And the BJP rank and file is sulking because the future seems bleak and rudderless. Need we take a headcount'
Fun for free
India going out of the Champions Trophy (or any trophy, for that matter, played in India) may spell doom for the supporters, but could turn out to be a blessing for many others. This time, in Jaipur, as many as 3,000 schoolchildren were given free admission to the West Indies-South Africa semi-final match. The children turned out in their best clothes and cheered Brian Lara’s team into the finals. Such a refreshing sight in the Indian sporting scene!
Frisson on the line
The Punjab CM, Amarinder Singh, had been feeling for a while that Janardan Dwivedi, the AICC gen-sec in charge of the state, was deliberately filling up the Punjab PCC with members from rival Jagmeet Brar’s camp. An angry Singh dialled Dwivedi’s number recently and gave him a piece of his mind, a process that went on for no less than forty-five minutes. The next day, Singh also met the Congress president and stated that Dwivedi was fishing in troubled waters. But, come to think of it, the quarrel may have come as a blessing in disguise for Dwivedi. Fed up with the infighting in the state Congress and a domineering CM, our man has been desperately seeking an escape route. And the tiff with Singh would give him the perfect opportunity to leave in a huff, and thus skirt the responsibility for the Congress’s defeat in the forthcoming elections, which looks almost certain. Is that why Dwivedi called Singh soon after the lashing and asked for some tickets to the Champions Trophy match in Mohali'