Now that Narendra Modi is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s official choice for the post of prime minister for the forthcoming general elections, requests are pouring in from all quarters to get to know him better. Nuggets of information, consequently, are filtering out to help the aam admi get to know the man better. Modi, apparently, is finicky when it comes to personal habits. He prefers wearing well-ironed, wrinkle-free clothes, a habit that goes back to his teens. His love for crisp clothes meant that a young Modi used to pour hot water in a brass lota and iron his shirt using the vessel’s heated bottom. Of course, such frugal habits are now a thing of the past. His wardrobe today boasts of numerous kurtas, most of them have been stitched by his favourite darzi from a posh shop on Ahmedabad’s CG Road. Modi’s other loves, apart from rajneeti, include wrist watches and sandals. Modi is equally particular about cleanliness. His desk, home and surroundings are generally kept squeaky clean. Chartered flights are his other obsession. He is not known to take regular flights. Those in charge of the BJP’s electoral campaign will be hoping that the trivia will help the aam admi call Modi one of their own and give him the top job.
The world has changed not only for Modi but also for Diggy Raja. Only in case of the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, the parivartan may not be to his liking. Digvijaya Singh was once considered as someone who carried considerable political weight in his state. Unfortunately for him, he seems to have lost his clout, and his loss has turned out to be Jyotiraditya Scindia’s gain. Scindia has been appointed as the campaign chief for the state elections, thereby seriously undermining Diggy Raja’s position. Singh’s supporters have been left wondering whether Raja saheb would be able to get them tickets without the support of maharaja Scindia. The Singh camp has also been flummoxed by its chief’s approach. Singh has decided to play second fiddle to Scindia and agreed to accompany the younger leader to tours and press conferences. There are whispers that Rahul Gandhi has “advised” Singh to assist Scindia in every manner. Rahul’s word is, expectedly, Singh’s command.
Very little seems to have changed in Scindia’s personality though. In Bhopal, he was seen asking Congress workers not to address him as “maharaja”. But critics say that every time he was addressed with his royal honorific, his face would light up with joy. At a meet-the-press programme in the state capital, scribes were asked to submit written questions in advance. They were not even permitted to throw questions at Scindia. The moderator of the programme read out the scribes’ queries to the maharaja, who, with a touch of magnanimity, decided to answer not more than five questions.
Congress workers are now worried that Scindia’s royal airs would hurt the party’s aam admi credentials. Meanwhile, the grins are getting wider in the BJP camp.
The frown is getting longer not just on Digvijaya Singh’s face. After Didi swept the panchayat polls in West Bengal, leaders of the Forward Bloc have forgotten to smile. The party has just two MPs. They hail from the districts of Cooch Behar and Purulia. But they are unlikely to retain their seats in the general elections because the Left has been decimated in these two districts. Party leaders are pestering big brother CPI(M) to bail them out by giving the duo safer seats. Given the Left’s performance, one wonders if any seat remains safe for the comrades.
The Union food minister is hard at work. Sources say that he has been working late into the night in his office. KV Thomas’s behaviour has left many in the Congress surprised. After all, the food bill, supposedly a gamechanger for the party’s electoral fortunes, has been passed. So what is Thomas upto, his friends and foes have been wondering. A closer scrutiny has revealed that Thomas is busy penning a book on Sonia Gandhi. The minister wants to present the book to the Congress president on her birthday. When another minister in Krishi Bhavan got wind of Thomas’s plans, he started cursing his aides for their failure to come up with a similar idea. The clever aides suggested that he ought to start a similar project on Rahul Gandhi, who was instrumental in the passing of the land acquisition bill. In all probability, there will now be two men burning the proverbial midnight oil in Krishi Bhavan.
Rajkumar Santoshi is in a spot of bother. Santoshi is making a sequel to Andaaz Apna Apna, which had featured two of the Khans — Aamir and Salman — together for the only time on the silverscreen, thus far. Santoshi is confident that Aamir and Salman will be eager to team up again to rekindle the magic of the first film. But some of Santoshi’s associates no longer share his enthusiasm to draft in the two Khans. They are of the view that Ranbir and Shahid Kapoor should replace the Khans because the two younger actors are more likely to do justice to the characters of Amar and Prem than the ageing Khans. Santoshi has armed himself with two scripts, one meant for the Khans and the other for the Kapoors. The producer will be hoping that the Kapoors — who would possibly cost less — beat the Khans in this contest.