The Telegraph
Sunday , April 24 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Secret mission

Is it a bird? A plane? A bullet? No, its Anna Hazare. The social activistís Ďsupermaní status is an indisputable fact today, given the fear he has struck in the hearts of the corrupt. Quite naturally, the search is on for a chink in his armour, and his foes believe that they have found one in the letter Hazare wrote to Sonia Gandhi, complaining about the malicious campaign against his sidekicks. The letter, his detractors argue, could not have been written by him. Why? Because Hazare does not know the language ó he had been demanding an interpreter at the Lok Pal committee meeting. Not merely that, Hazareís foes insist that the letter was, in fact, written by Arvind Kejriwal, who had been lobbying for a position in the National Advisory Council. But does that mean Hazare had no knowledge of the letter or did not agree with its contents? Yes, say his opponents, taking a quantum leap in their imagination. Hazare, they argue, is not in charge of the movement. Who is? The Hindu right, they insist. Some say this isnít even a quantum leap; it looks more or less like paragliding.

Different game

Move over Gautam Gambhir. The cricketer in demand in poll-bound Bengal is the former Indian captain and Congress MP from Moradabad, Mohammad Azharuddin. The former skipper is clearly the most sought after Congress leader in this part of the world. Out of the 65 Congress candidates, more than 35 have demanded that Azharuddin be sent to their constituencies to campaign. Azhar is expected to traipse through the whole of Bengal and also campaign in Calcutta. He is sought after even by Trinamul Congress leaders. Azharís magic was discovered when he campaigned during the municipal polls. Bengal does not seem to be able to forget the skipperís many centuries at Eden.

Win some, lose some

Is Narendra Modi losing his charisma? First, the Bharatiya Janata Party lost the Gandhinagar municipal polls. Now a police officer has complained to the court about Modi. The margin in Gandhinagar is narrow, but the events are unsettling for the saffronwallahs. They have an explanation though. Modi is supposed to have clamped down on corruption. That, they think, has upset the babus, and hence the backlash.

Reverse swing

Irrespective of what they say in public, Congress leaders have been worried by Rahul Gandhiís attack on the Kerala CM for his age. Congressmen feel that the remark may boomerang on the party and take away the swing, which had been favouring the United Democratic Front in the red bastion. VS Achuthanandan commands a lot of respect in the state, particularly in the Ezhava community to which he belongs. This community makes up 30 per cent of the population. A senior Congressman was heard saying that in the early 1980s, Rajiv Gandhi had insulted the then Andhra CM, T Anjaiah, and lost the state to NTR. In the early 1990s, Rajiv sacked an ailing Veerendra Patil and the Lingayats never voted for the Congress thereafter, handing over power to anti-Congress forces in Karnataka. With a 78-year-old as PM and a wheel-chair-bound M Karunanidhi by the Congressís side, Rahul, they feel, should have watched his words.

Vote count

The PM may have created a controversy of sorts by not voting in the Assam election, but the Congress party spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, seems to have created a bigger controversy while trying to defend him. While answering Narendra Modiís charges against Manmohan Singh, Singhvi is supposed to have questioned how the PMís lone vote would have made a difference. At a time when Modi was doing his bit to highlight the significance of the right to vote, Singhviís statement brought more embarrassment to the party.

Guide to success

After withdrawing his fast, Anna Hazare held a press conference. When scribes reached the venue, they saw Guide, starring Dev Anand, was being screened. The organizers seemed to have drawn a parallel between Dev Anandís fast to bring rain and Annaís hunger strike to eradicate corruption. The movie was soon taken off the air. Was it because in the end, Dev Anand was more successful than Hazare will be?


Friendly visit

The whole country watched Team India win the cricket world cup. But ever since the win, tongues havenít stopped wagging in Mumbai over Rahul Gandhiís visit to Salman Khanís Bandra residence after the match. Has Rahul moved from the King Khan camp to the one belonging to the Dabangg star?

Rahul, who is known to be friends with Shah Rukh Khan, was apparently spotted in Salluís house between 2 and 6 am. Salman, in fact, was seen walking on Bandra Bandstand to receive the visiting party of five members led by Rahul. They were offered a sumptuous meal at Salmanís Galaxy Apartment in Bandra. It remains to be seen how Shah Rukh takes to this development. After all, the hostility between the two Khans is an open secret.

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