Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is working overtime to emerge as a ‘consensus candidate’ for presidency. And he seems to be well ahead of the pack. The BJP has already thrown its weight behind Shekhawat. Now the NCP seems to be in his pockets as well. At a function to mark the 70th anniversary of the AIFF, where the vice president was the chief guest, NCP’s Praful Patel said that he hoped Shekhawat would soon become the president. Understandably, Shekhawat was in a cheerful mood, and regaled the crowd with his wit. First, he attributed Priya Ranjan Das Munshi’s management skills to football. Then, he confided that he had played hockey, football and basketball in college but could not excel in any of them. “Whatever I have learnt from the games, I used in politics,” said Shekhawat. “I have never lost an election and I will not lose it again”. After such a show of confidence, one can only say that Shekhawat’s hard work is paying rich dividends.
No ears to lend
Congressmen are confident that Rahul Gandhi will do the trick for them in UP. But what they are unaware of is that very few people seem to be listening to what the young man has to say. This includes some Congress leaders themselves. Take the case of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Haryana CM. Rahul reportedly spoke to him twice, asking him to take up the case of one Chandna, a member of Rahul’s personal staff. Apparently, Chandna’s house in Panipat has been encroached upon by unruly elements and Rahul wanted Hooda to help the poor man get his house vacated. The calls fell on deaf years though. The buzz is that the illegal occupants happen to be Jats and are close to the CM. It seems that Congressmen themselves are unwilling to carry out Rahul’s commands. Will the people of UP follow suit'
Women on top
One hears that Kiran Bedi is all set to become Delhi’s police commissioner after KK Paul’s retirement. The race for the top cop’s chair also features YS Dadwal, special police commissioner and two years junior to Bedi. But Dadwal is likely to finish second, as Bedi has 10 Janpath’s blessings. Reportedly, when Bedi met Sonia Gandhi, she had this to say; “Kya sirf purush hi banega dilli ka police commissioner'” That may have melted Madam’s heart. If Bedi bags the post, Delhi will be under the thumb of three powerful women. It remains to be seen whether Bedi, Sheila Dikshit, the CM, and Arti Mehra, the mayor, manage to put things in order unlike the menfolk at the helm.
Some more news on women public servants. This time from Mumbai. City corporator Suvarna Madhalkar has come up with a garden on Marve road, which will serve as a “recreational ground” for lovers. Madhalkar collected Rs 10 lakh and turned a 20,000 square feet garden in to a couple-friendly zone. The patch of green, which has adequate lighting and plenty of shrubbery, would hopefully become a paradise for those who want to enjoy a bit of privacy, away from the prying eyes. According to Madhalkar, men and women will be allowed to hold hands and talk freely here, but they will have to ensure that “they don’t go overboard with their affections”. One wonders why the kind-hearted Madhalkar has not thought about adequate security arrangements for the garden. With a meddlesome moral police on the prowl, a few burly guards are an absolute necessity if lovebirds want to ensure that they get home in one piece.
Short and sweet
Mukesh Ambani’s recent visit to Rajnath Singh had set tongues wagging in the media. There were speculations that the elder Ambani had called on the BJP president to seek his help to push through a more liberal SEZ policy. As it turned out, Ambani’s maiden visit to Singh had nothing to do with this. The duo sat chatting over tea and chivda, and when Singh let out a rant against the government, Ambani listened to him politely. The meeting over in twenty minutes, Ambani drove out of Singh’s bungalow, leaving the conspiracy theorists with egg on their face.
Spirits in the material world
Babubhai Katara’s indiscretion has set senior BJP leaders thinking. After all, the list of sanghis embarrassing the party seems to be growing everyday. Some of the rotten apples in the basket had started out as dedicated, unassuming men. But their deeds have left the party without a place to hide. So what’s next on the agenda' A chintan baithak to redefine the term swayamsevak'
The matchmaker on an elephant
Mayavati is not only an astute politician, who cleverly plots the downfall of her rivals, but also an able match-maker. Ashok Bajpai had left the Congress in a huff, after he was denied a poll ticket from Allahabad. Soon enough, he found his way to Mayavati’s flock, who also gave his son, Harsh, a ticket to contest from the same seat. That was not all. Ashok’s wife, Ranjana, who had left him and joined the SP, ditched Mulayam Singh and joined the BSP, after Mayawati brokered peace between husband and wife. Harsh is now engaged to marry the daughter of Satish Mishra, who is considered to be Mayavati’s right-hand man. The Bajpais, finally reunited after being separated for a while, are now riding the elephant to happiness. Behenji need not worry even if she is unable to topple Mulayam Singh. She can always think of authoring agony aunt columns which, Bajpai will tell you, are sure to be a raging success.