| Health is wealth
Hunks like Akshay Kumar and John Abraham have company in the form of Nitin Gadkari. No, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief isn’t thinking of a career as an actor or of producing films. The burly man has decided to follow a punishing fitness schedule, much like the muscular boys of Bollywood. Gadkari, who is grappling with a weight problem, has been thinking about kicking the flab for a while now. In fact, during the national executive meet in Indore, he decided to turn over a new, and healthy, leaf. He held several consultations with experts, including those who train our well-sculpted film stars. On their advice, the portly man is now supposedly following a diet regime and having his spartan meals on time. A personal trainer has also been appointed to monitor his rigorous work-out sessions. Gadkari has already announced a younger-looking core team for the party. He is now working hard to achieve a leaner look himself. After all, the captain has to stay in shape if he is to command the respect of fitter subordinates.
Life in a Raj Bhavan can be a staid affair. But trust Shivraj Patil to add a dash of colour to the goings-on in Chandigarh’s Raj Bhavan. We aren’t referring to his sartorial tastes here. The governor of Punjab has spiced up the dour routine with his innovative activities. Patil is said to be going for long walks. In the evenings, he also indulges in badminton games. But Patil has been confronted with a peculiar problem. In keeping with the tradition of servility, none of his opponents is willing to pose a stiff challenge to the governor during the games. Bored stiff, Patil, we hear, is said to be missing the ‘challenges’ that he had faced during his days as the home minister.
Hit the floor
There is a post vacant in the Congress Party. It is that of a floor manager, who can coordinate the House proceedings efficiently. The current team, comprising P Bansal, Prithviraj Chavan and V Narayanswamy, has failed to live up to the expectations of the party. During the tabling of the women’s reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha, they were seen taking approvals from the top leadership before initiating a move. The trio fared as badly with the nuclear liability bill. A section in the government is of the view that the three men have no idea of the strategies the Opposition is likely to adopt. As an example, critics cite how Chavan, the Union science and technology minister, was caught napping over the crucial nuclear liability bill.
According to one school of thought, Chavan and Co. should be replaced by someone who carries some weight. Two possible names have cropped up in this connection, those of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni. It remains to be seen whether Azad trades the country’s health and family welfare to maintain the government’s well being in Parliament.
Behenji has survived the scorn of bees as well as her political opponents to don her garland of notes twice. But what went into the making of the money malas? Apparently, a number of business establishments in Uttar Pradesh’s various towns were approached by the Bahujan Samaj Party cadre before the rally in Lucknow. The volunteers asked for donations, but businessmen were surprised by the absence of threats that usually accompany such requests. On a number of occasions, the volunteers even pleaded with the businessmen so that their names could be entered as donors even if they decided not to contribute a penny to the party kitty.
But the show of humility had a purpose. The idea was to keep the party and its supreme leader on the right side of the income tax authorities, who would be told that the garlands had been put together by way of small donations from the ever-obliging public.
Wanted dead or alive
Here is something more on Gadkari and his national team. Baldev Prakash Tandon had been named as a special invitee to the national executive, even though he is no longer alive. The correct name should have read Balram Das Tandon. Gadkari’s opponents — many of whom are unhappy for not finding a place in the core team — have gone to town, protesting against the glitch that brought a dead man alive. Last heard, Gadkari’s supporters are at work to give the controversy a quiet burial.
Women on top
The women’s reservation bill may not be out of the woods yet, but Sushma Swaraj and Brinda Karat are already busy collecting the accolades. Swaraj and Karat buried their political differences to jointly claim credit for this historic legislation. Eager to scotch the possibility of Sonia Gandhi being hailed as the real reason behind the success, the two women highlighted their own contributions on every media outlet.
Swaraj, who fielded the queries along with Arun Jaitley, made sure that the scribes knew who calls the shots. When a question was put to her about Narendra Modi, she cut in to say that all queries must be related to the issue at hand, and that even Jaitley would not answer such a question. Needless to say, Jaitley was not amused with the lady who stole his thunder.