A hundred promises
Ministers in India give their best to either the first 100 days in office or the last. Since the frequency of cabinet reshuffle makes the last option a bit uncertain, they usually devote their energies to the first. That is precisely why a slew of ministers in the current cabinet have unravelled their plans with such unceremonious haste. It was the Union minister for science and technology, Prithviraj Chauhan, who set the ball rolling, followed by Anand Sharma, the minister for trade and commerce. Then came the big bang from the human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal. There are many others in the rat race — the minister for law, Veerappa Moily, the ministers for textiles and telecom, Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja respectively, among others. Bitten by the same bug, meteorological departments too have promised to improve their predictions within a 100 days, while the agriculture ministry has promised to meet the challenge of delayed monsoons within the same time and, not to be outdone, the power ministry has made similar noises. But if the power situation in the capital is anything to go by, one should know what these pious pledges will come to.
All’s well that ends well
Sometimes, a foreign hand becomes necessary to resolve matters. The ministries (or should we say ministers?) of science and technology and human resource development recently found reason to lock horns when an invitation arrived from Germany for a minister’s representation at a prestigious panel. It was addressed to Kapil Sibal, who had since moved to HRD, and the HRD ministry laid claims on it. The science and technology ministry, however, was not about to relent easily and the babus claimed that the invitation was for their own minister, Prithviraj Chauhan. The tug of war would have probably continued had the Germans not intervened to invite both the ministers to the do.
For several months, visitors from Guna, Gwalior and Shivpuri at Jyotiraditya Scindia’s Safdargunj Road residence in the capital would be given cold and hot treatment — chilled water followed by a cup of hot coffee — but not any longer. Apparently, the cold water counter and the coffee machine were installed by a public sector company under the prince’s previous ministry. The machines have gone with a change of portfolio and left many people thirsty as well as disgruntled.
The three brave warriors of the Bharatiya Janata Party — Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie, who had launched a blistering attack against the entrenched party leadership and the new leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley — seem to have lost their sting overnight. Following the recent two-day national executive meet, the RSS-BJP establishment has closed ranks and sent out a strong signal that the washing of dirty linen could no longer be done in public. Which is why there has been no further leakage of letters after the one by Sinha.
However, many feel that it is only a matter of time before Shourie’s cogently-argued case damning Jaitley and Advani is out. Shourie the journalist would perhaps welcome it as much as Shourie the politician. There can be nothing more unfortunate than a good piece of writing not seeing the light of day.
Rahul Gandhi may not be in the scene right now, but his “talent hunt” campaign seems to have become a rage of sorts. A talent-hunt drive in Lucknow saw professors, doctors, engineers, management professionals and many other educated people making a beeline for it. A history professor from Lucknow University is said to have applied for a post in the Youth Congress. The scholar had to be politely told that his age was coming in the way. At 53, he could not have made it to the organization whose prescribed age limit is 35. But then it is the enthusiasm that matters, stupid!
For some moisturizer
Wrestlers in Indore want the municipality to give them tonnes of spurious desi ghee for free so that they could mix it in the soil of the akharas. The pehelwans have been getting hurt practising on the dry, parched soil and they want to soften the surface a bit. The corporation will probably be glad to comply with this request. After all, it is having problems finding storage space for the ghee.
And the award goes to…
Jaya Bachchan has stirred the hornets’ nest again with her insistence that it was she who prompted Ashutosh Gowarikar to criticize the decision to give Priyanka Chopra the best actress award at the IIFA. Jaya’s affection for her daughter-in-law has somehow forced other people to do strange things. For one, it prompted Gowarikar to go up on stage and lament that the best actress award was not given to Aishwarya Rai. Bollywood is intrigued by Jaya’s decision to go public with her tirade against Pri Chops, who seems to have built up a formidable reputation for herself as a hard-working and professional actress. Jaya may have done it to impress Rai, but people are asking why any self-respecting saas would have to work so hard to curry favour from her bahu. Meanwhile, Chopra has refused to comment on the matter. Incidentally, Jaya’s remark coincided with Priyanka getting another prize, this time at the Shanghai International Film Festival, where she won the Jin Jue award.