The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sad beginning

Happy days are here again

The beginning might be the end for Mayavati. Two solid pillars of her support are already under severe strain. The Muslim legislators of her party are apparently unhappy because Mayavati seems to have expressed her gratitude to the community less profusely than she did to the Brahmins and the Dalits. The problem probably lies in her flaunting of Satish Mishra, Rajya Sabha MP and party gen-sec, as her Man Friday. Nasimuddin Siddiqui, her blue-eyed boy of the previous tenure, is sulking ever since the swearing-in ceremony. He neither called on her nor visited his office in the secretariat. Siddiqui is said to have taken his leaderís rejection of his offer of incorporating two of his cronies into the ministry rather personally. In any case, the fact that only five of the 29 Muslim MLAs in BSP have ministries will be hard to live down. The BSP elephant seems to be mauling the rules of babudom as well. Mayavatiís creation of posts for her nominees, that places them high and above the lesser babus, has the bureaucracy in a tizzy. Already the transfer mania has led to the abrupt shift of over a hundred civil servants in the state, and there are more displacements in the pipeline. But havenít they seen all this before' Humans, unlike elephants, seem to have a really short memory.

Clearing the deck

There is no reason why the Kalaignar should shy away from throwing the party hat into the presidential ring when everyone seems to be doing so. But the DMK chief seems more sure about his choice for the post of the vice-president rather than that for the president. His choice is K Anbazhagan, the party gen-sec and, officially, second to the chief minister in the cabinet hierarchy. One is not sure if the kitchen cabinet has been at work again. But the removal of Anbazhagan to the capital would clear and disinfect the decks for the accession of MK Stalin to the party leadership. Amazing Karunanidhis!

Laugh out loud

The battle for oneupmanship is a passion among the UPA ministers. When P Chidambaram was stopped from going abroad days ago because the parliament session was on, his colleagues, particularly Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, derived immense pleasure at PCís discomfiture. Now PC canít help feeling pleased when PR is around. Das Munshi too has got grounded for the same reason. He was all set for the Cannes inaugural, when fate played the same joke.

Statutory warning

The BJP cannot overcome its obsession with the tainted. Had it not been for the forthright objection of the Assam unit of the party, another controversial Delhi-based tentwallah would have been anointed the partyís latest representative from the state to the Rajya Sabha. Led by the party chief, Rajnath Singh, and his coterie, senior party leaders had already endorsed the nomination of a friend-cum-business partner of the late Pramod Mahajan for his election to the Rajya Sabha from Assam. The state unity of the party not only refused to embrace an Ďoutsiderí, but also let out a timely warning against the PR disaster the nomination could entail. Maybe the coming months will see the free-lance political operator being accommodated by the Akalis. In the last assembly elections he had found no difficulty in worming his way into the parlour of Sukhbir Badal, the junior Badal representing Faridkot in the Lok Sabha.

Inclement weather

There is more trouble in store for Team India. Days back, the Union minister for science and technology, Kapil Sibal, had written to the BCCI president, Sharad Pawar, offering the services of the meteorological department in predicting weather conditions that would help in drawing up match schedules. The offer seems to have been accepted. But given the met departmentís track record, Pawar would be taking too much risk. Why, the other day, Sibal had wanted to hold his press conference in the open when the meeting had to be hurriedly carried indoors.

The more, the merrier

Aspirants for the presidency seem to be emerging from the woodwork. Apart from Pranabda, Karan Singh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, there is now kisan putra Balram Jakhar and Andhraís G Venkatswamy. PA Sangma would also have been willing, had it not been for his inconvenient past.



Coming to an end

Matters were never very inspiring for the young elite who had entered politics. Post-UP, the prospects seem to have dimmed further. Team Rahul, consisting of Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot, Tejaswini Ramesh, Milind Deora and others had provided their star frontline and backroom support. But the outcome has severely dampened their spirits. Prasada and Pilot are more upset than the rest. In Jitinís Shahjahanpur block, the Congress has drawn a blank, while Sachinís influence over the Gujjars in western UP remained invisible. On a rebound, the young are indulging in activities that are earning them further minus points. Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of Bhajan Lal, has been slapped with a show-cause notice for his alleged anti-party activities. And Pilot has joined Diggy Raja to counter another young blood, Jyotiraditya Scindia. With poor electoral showing, and an even worse performance inside parliament, the young breed has no hope of replacing the old war horses.

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