This was one battle in which Ravana came up trumps against Ram’s army. Bajrang Dal and BJP activists were busy waging war on M Karunanidhi for his comments on the Ram setu. In the heat of the battle, someone in the sena camp hit upon a bright idea. Dussehra, the wise man felt, was round the corner. So why not burn an effigy of the Tamil Nadu chief minister, who, in the sena’s eyes, is no more than a modern-day Ravana' The sainiks then put their plan to action. They ‘managed’ to obtain a statue of Ravana, which was then turned into a Karunanidhi look-alike with the help of the paint brush. Meanwhile, those who had made the original statue discovered the ‘theft’ and lodged a complaint with the police. Word was sent post haste to the BJP headquarters that the theft could be held against Karunanidhi’s detractors. Hearing this, the sainiks developed cold feet and the original Ravana was returned to the rightful owners. Now did we hear someone in the saffron camp cry, “Hey Ram”'
A party’s fortunes need not determine a partyman’s day. And most certainly not if the man in question is Amar Singh, with his reputation of having a pal in every camp. While his party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, is reportedly bonding with the Left, Singh clearly has no qualms about being seen in public with the friend’s enemy — in other words, the BJP. Singh recently accompanied Dev Anand to present the latter’s autobiography to Ravi Shankar Prasad, the I&B minister in the Vajpayee cabinet. The ever-helpful Singh was also there for the evergreen actor, when he expressed his desire to present a copy to LK Advani. Advani was not in town, but so what' Amar Singh was there to get the book delivered to him.
How does one become a neta in India' By going to jail, or so thought Sachin Pilot. Pilot was recently arrested in a rally in Jaipur and put behind bars. Confident that a few days in prison would raise his status among his followers, Pilot strode in, only to discover that he had been given a raw deal. He was lodged in a cell full of hardened criminals, with only a blanket, chatai and plate for company. He had to deposit his belongings outside and was prevented from meeting his lawyers for three days. Outside, things weren’t bright either. Last heard, Pilot had approached the national human rights commission. Perhaps he thinks that the commission would be a better bet to help him earn his stripes.
All the king’s men
Rahul Gandhi is a man in demand, for all the wrong reasons. Newly-appointed secretaries in the Congress want to be ‘attached’ to him in the hope that they would become a minister of state once the prince became king. An hour after his anointment as secretary, Jitin Prasada was heard calling up scribes whether they knew who had got lucky. Meenakshi Natrajan, a former president of the NSUI, made it clear that she was in the fray while Alka Lamba, a former party office bearer, gloated that she was the chosen one. The race, it seems, is still open, although one hears that Suresh Bafna has already been assigned to work with Rahul ‘temporarily’. Some in the party feel that the post must go either to someone from the North or the South, while some others are pushing for a Muslim candidate. With so many people pitching in, one only hopes that this wouldn’t turn out to be another instance of too many cooks spoiling the broth for Rahul.
Crossing the bar
The latest joke doing the rounds in the political circles of the capital is that Pranab Mukherjee has joined the CPI(M) politburo and Sitaram Yechury the Congress working committee. The joke has its origin in the fact that Pranabda is seen a little too often these days in the company of Left leaders like Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, while Yechury is found hobnobbing with Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi. Do we see a sulking face somewhere' No doubt it belongs to Prakash Karat. Can the festive season bring some good cheer for him'
Words unmaketh the man
Poor Janardan Dwivedi, the stars are not being kind to him at all. First, there was the AICC reshuffle, which held no carrots for him. And now that Madam’s speech in Haryana has made the reds become even redder, it is again Dwivedi who is at the receiving end of ugly, suspicious glares. But thanks to small mercies. At least no one knows for sure if Dwivedi wrote that speech.
A spot for dear old Vlad
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Look who’s having to wait because Karat & Co. will not climb down from the nuclear tree — Vladimir Ilych Lenin. And how' Wrapped in a piece of cloth in the backyard of the CPI(M) party office in New Delhi, the bust by a Russian sculptor had been kept outside the library room in anticipation of formal installation. But then his followers got too busy with learning the 123 of the nuclear deal. Now that there is a chance that the Left might live and let live, Lenin might come out of his wrapping. But when and how is the question. Will there be a function to ceremonially install the statue' Or will it be put up one fine morning without any fanfare' It seems most likely that dear Vlad will find his place in front of AK Gopalan Bhavan. Sparsely decorated as it is, the only other sculptures in the office are the little terracotta statuettes of Marx gifted by the SFI unit in Krishnanagar. They are excellent likenesses too, it must be mentioned.