Kiss kiss, quit quit
Ever since Akhilesh Das quit the Congress complaining about Rahul Gandhiís coterie, rumours have been flying thick and fast about prospective quitters from the party unit in Uttar Pradesh. High on this list is the name of Sanjay Singh, a former Sanjay Gandhi aide whose wife, Ameeta, is the Congress MLA from Amethi. The script of Singhís tragedy could change radically if, as some insiders predict, he is fielded from the Lok Sabha seat of Sultanpur, a constituency flanked by the Gandhi fiefs of Amethi and Rae Bareilly. No such moves seem imminent for handling the disgruntlement of Varanasi MP Rajesh Mishra, Mathura MP Manvendra Singh, Aligarh MP Chaudhary Vijender Singh and Ghaziabad MP Surender Goel. A protective ring has been thrown around beta Rahul already, so that he is not singed by the heat of the rebellion. He is still happily touring Uttar Pradesh, Odomos in his tour-kit and dreams in his eyes. The Odomos will have taken care of the mosquitoes, but one scribe was found wondering how the poor chap would ward off the twin menaces of rebels and sycophants.
Till a room is found
Strange are the uses of adversity, they say. Mani Shankar Aiyar is busy campaigning in Karnataka these days. But then so are many others, you may say. But Aiyar has reasons to go all-out for these elections. Remember we told you a couple of weeks ago that with the sports and youth affairs ministry, he had also lost his room to discharge ministerial duties from? Karnataka has thus come in handy while they look for a room for Aiyar in New Delhi. And who knows, if his canvassing comes good for the party, it might be a large one, tagged to an important portfolio.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is usually quite good at steering clear of controversies, but her yes-it-happened-no-it-didnít meeting with Nalini Sriharan, an accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has put her in a sticky spot. It is still unclear why the jail authorities are denying the visit when Priyanka herself has confirmed it. What complicates matters further is that a petition has been filed under the RTI Act by Naliniís lawyer, S. Doraiswamy, seeking to know the details of the visit (if any). But shouldnít he know the details already? What exactly is going on here? Is there something thatís not meeting our eyes?
Who cares about the law?
Whatís life without some controversy is how Anbumani Ramadoss would probably respond to Priyanka Gandhiís situation. Luckily for him, there isnít any dearth of controversies when he is around. There are times when he is pulled up by the law, as it happened with the case of the AIIMS director, P. Venugopal. But there are also times when the Union minister for health does not feel like swallowing the legal pill, and therefore, defies the doctorís orders. That is exactly what happened after the Central Administrative Tribunal restored Rashmi Jain to the post of the senior financial adviser to the AIIMS after considering her complaint of harassment. On March 4, she was unceremoniously removed, without being offered any reason. Her possible offence was that she had refused to release some funds which she thought were illegal. Armed with the tribunalís order, Jain went back to the AIIMS to resume her job ó only to find her office locked and both the health minister and the director of the institute, TD Dogra, out of bounds. She went back the next day. Her room was locked as usual, but the director was available. He challenged her to file a contempt-of-court petition after resolutely refusing to let her join. Some people canít do without their daily dose of comeuppance, it seems.
Look back in anger
After Behenji comes Rabri Devi ó Laluís Masterstroke by Manoj Chaurasia. Who would have believed that an incensed Rabri Devi was capable of chasing another woman with a broom, and going to the extent of forbidding her to enter her 1 Anne Marg residence? One wonders what the lady had done.
The fight within
What is the hottest contest in the country at the moment? Panchayat elections? Karnataka assembly polls? Wrong. It is the contest between Shah Rukh Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. Donít get it? Very simple. The matches of the IPL, the league in which SRK owns the Kolkata Knight Riders team, are running away with the TRPs from Khanís new TV show, Kya Aap Panchvi Pass Se Tez Hai? What can SRK do to revive the fortunes of his show? Maybe get some of the Knight Riders on the sets? Indians canít seem to get enough of them.
Wish it were so
LK Advaniís bout of wishful thinking appears to have gone beyond his cursory desire for the prime ministerial seat. The BJPís prime minister-in-waiting created quite a flutter in parliament when he addressed Pranab Mukherjee as the Ďleader of the oppositioní. For once, the MPs, forsaking their usual practice of violating all possible sound pollution norms, took to talking in hushed whispers about Advaniís slip of tongue. While the speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, wondered if Advaniís error was a subconscious ďanticipationĒ of the shape of things to come, members of the Congress were found snickering among themselves. One even referred to the non-event as Mungeri Lal ke haseen sapne (the fabulous dreams of Mungeri Lal). With this general knowledge, however, Advani had better not venture near Shah Rukh Khan. Or the latter will make him admit, ďMain panchvi pass se tez nahin hoon.Ē