DIARY 04-06-2006

The getting game Show of studs Away from the heat and dust Son on the rise Please find out Let?s go to Sankarpur Bride before the bridle

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 4.06.06

The getting game

The hills of Kashmir are alive, but hardly with the sound of music. Although Shameem, the wife of the state?s CM, is a singer and has even won a Padma award (never mind those awful people who say that it was her husband?s achievement, not hers). And now, Ghulam Nabi Azad wants his wife to get the Rajya Sabha seat which he had to vacate in order to sit on the CM?s chair. So he wants to have the chief ministership and keep the Rajya Sabha membership too? But no, there?s more he wants. Azad also wants to keep the South Avenue Lane bungalow in Lutyens?s Delhi which he used as the Union urban development minister. Since there did not seem to be a legal way of going about this, he even got the ministry to agree to a swap for his favoured bungalow ? a run-down property on Rouse Avenue belonging to his state government. Just how unequal is the exchange? Well, if it helps you have some idea, the urban development ministry is thinking of pulling down the Rouse Avenue house and erecting a liveable structure in its place.

Show of studs

If you thought diamonds were a girl?s ? Lata Mangeshkar being the head girl, of course ? best friend, think again. Diamond studs are quite a rage with the young Turks who roam the corridors of power and the Central Hall of parliament. BJP?s Manvendra Singh, son of Jaswant Singh, has one. So does Congress?s Sandeep Dikshit, son of Delhi chief minister, Sheila Dikshit. But none yet to beat Vijay Mallya, who loves to live life Kingfisher size. The size of his ear-piece ? ?a family heirloom? inherited from his grandmother ? is certainly huge. But of late, even Manvendra is flaunting a diamond just as large, which he picked up while shopping with his little daughter. The only little difference between the two studs: Manvendra?s cost him Rs 150.

Away from the heat and dust

Q: Where have all the ministers gone? A: Out of the country. While students are baying for Arjun Singh?s blood, he?s extending cooperation in higher education to Saudi Arabia. He got away, but poor Anbumani Ramadoss, the health minister, had to rush back from Geneva because the striking doctors had brought the healthcare machinery on the verge of collapse. The defence minister, Pranab Mukherjee, is dining in Beijing. Home minister Shivraj Patil isn?t far away, he is just round the corner, in Singapore. Commerce minister Kamal Nath is in France, Oscar Fernandes is attending a seminar in New York, and the civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, is holidaying in Canada with his family. Agriculture minister and BCCI chief Sharad Pawar too is on a ?phoren? trip (no, not to the Caribbean islands), as are the two ministers of state for external affairs ? E. Ahamed in Cambodia and Anand Sharma in the UAE. No prizes for guessing that Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is packing his bags for the month-long football carnival in Germany. This time, Kapil Sibal, the minister in charge of science and technology, is accompanying him. The youngsters from the Congress ? Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada, Deepinder Hooda and Milind Deora ? have found themselves a junket in Sweden to attend. Is anyone complaining?

Son on the rise

Here is one son who has been inspired by his father. While Arjun Singh has been courting the backward classes, his son, Rahul, has taken up the cause of the minorities. Rahul is organizing an ?all-India mushaira? in Bhopal to please the Muslim community. In Bhopal, mushairas are the ultimate occasion for having fun. So whatever happens, the son will never face the brickbats like his father.

Please find out

Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia has formed a team to investigate how the left remains unbeatable in Bengal. Wonder why she is curious. A quick-fix formula, perhaps?

Let?s go to Sankarpur

Guess what those Bengalis, who had struck Kashmir off the list of their possible summer vacation destinations, are saying? ?Didn?t we tell you it was not a good idea? What is the use of taking so much risk baba? Long live Digha and Sankarpur.? Former CM Jyoti Basu, in his inimitable way, asked the same question: ?Now why did they [the ill-fated tourists] have to go to Kashmir?? Current CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has gone a step ahead to show the way to his fellow Bengalis. He is taking a little time out from Alimuddin Street and Writers? Buildings. And where are the Bhattacharjees going? To Sankarpur, of course.

Bride before the bridle

The whole brood of Congressmen are waiting for him to don the mantle. But Rahul Gandhi keeps evading the question. But for how long? Everyone was nearly certain that the coming AICC shuffle was going to see Rahul Gandhi being given a major responsibility. But Rahul is said to have expressed his reluctance to take up any formal responsibility at a time when the youth of the country are upset with his party over the reservations issue. Some others say that the young Gandhi is keen on reviving near-defunct party organs such as the youth Congress, Mahila Congress, Sewa Dal and so on. But the real reason could be very different. For the grapevine has it that Rahul has expressed his desire to get married before taking on any other task. But who to? Is it going to be his longstanding firang (Latin American) girlfriend? Or a more desi girl ? an industrialist?s daughter, or a writer, maybe? Watch this space.