Capital Buzz / Virendra Kapoor
A foreign affairs capsule
The privatisation bug has bitten the external affairs ministry
too. And thereby hangs a tale. Foreign Minister Inder Kumar Gujral
(left) proposed recently that a compendium of all agreements, protocols and treaties that
India has signed since Independence should be published.
collection of minor and major treaties, Gujral believes, could
run into two or three volumes. It would be comprehensive enough
to provide the necessary historic, political and economic background
for serious scholars of Indian foreign policy to research the
Since most members of the Cabinet do not bother about
these matters, the issue was joined by one of the few intellectually
sharp members of the Deve Gowda government. Chaturnan Mishra,
the agriculture minister, wondered if the publication would not jeopardise official
secrecy. When told that the foreign ministry would vet all data
before publication, the CPI veteran was reassured. But only
for a while.
Gujral said the job of publishing the compendium
would be assigned to a private organisation. That raised Mishra's
hackles again. He countered that
his ministry had no funds whereas the private publisher would do
the jobgratis and make some money for himself while giving the
ministry a certain number of copies free of cost.
Mishra was adamant but Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda clinched
the issue, saying, "Here we have opened our skies to foreigners and you
object to our treaties being published by Indian parties."
The work on the compendium is to begin soon.
Degree or diploma
PresidentShankar Dayal Sharma (right)often releases
books at simple ceremonies at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Last week he formally released
a compendium on Madhya Pradesh, his home state, which among other
things contains an exhaustive who's who of the state's political
Human nature being what it is, Sharma was drawn to his
own resume. And as he read through the entry against his name
he got angrier and angrier. "Whoever compiled the volume does not know the
difference between a degree or a diploma,"
said a miffed Sharma. There were several other mistakes. "And couldn't
the volume be brought out in Hindi now that the country is celebrating
Hindi diwas(day)?" he asked.
The publisher mumbled
a weak defence but volunteered the information that Dr Sharma's
resume was issued by his secretariat. The President cooled
down a bit but still did not believe that his office could make
such a mistake. Later, the publisher wondered if the real cause
of Dr Sharma's ire was his being listed in alphabetical
order which meant that he figured after a host of sundry politicians from
'Ghoda' nee Gowda
Trust Maneka Gandhi to ask questions about horses. The other day
Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav (left)
was flummoxed to find that the Speaker had admitted a starred question by the green queen on the
number of horses in the defence services, their longevity and
the manner of disposal of old and unfit horses.
Yadav, who normally has difficulty comprehending anything that does not pertain
to the caste equations in UP, was at a loss to understand what Gandhi stood to gain by asking all these 'useless'
questions. A senior army officer sent to brief him complicated
matters further. For if Yadav's English was bad, his briefing
officer's Hindi was terrible. Even Yadav could not help bursting
out into loud laughter when the officer pronounced 'Ghoda' as
In spite of the officer trying his best, he could
not get his 'Ghoda' right. For him it was still 'Gowda' in Hindi
and a horse in English.
Leaking like a sieve
There is much consternation at the highest level in the Deve Gowda
government at the style of Joginder Singh, (right)
head of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He was gently told by
the prime minister to steer clear of the media, but it seems he
cannot shun publicity.
Last week when a newspaper reported that
a decision had been taken to make former prime minister P V Narasimha
Rao a co-accused in the St Kitts forgery case, Deve Gowda was
miffed. The decision was known only to half a dozen people. The
needle of suspicion pointed to Singh as the source of the leak
till someone pointed out that the culprit was a senior finance
ministry official who loves to keep the rich and the famous happy.
The official had earned notoriety in the seventies as an aide
to a controversial Congress minister.
Tussle over super sleuth
Although he is defence minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav has succeeded
in placing some of his favourite UP cadre officials in key positions
in several ministries. Amar Singh, the high-flying fixer
who is his quest for legitimacy has become general secretary
of Yadav's Samajwadi Party, has emerged as the one-man placement
agency for senior government officials.
Soon after Deve Gowda became
prime minister, the Yadav-Singh duo managed to post the former director-general
of UP police, C S Mathur as a special secretary in the
Now the duo wants Mathur to head the sensitive
Intelligence Bureau. Abhijit Mitra is officiating as IB director
following the summary removal of D C Pathak at Yadav's behest.
Home MinisterIndrajit Gupta (left)
is in favour of continuing Mitra as the IB chief. The Yadav-Singh duo, some in the IB argue,
is keen to induct Mathur as director, IB, for that would help
them sort out the dossiers the agency has built up against
Rao, courts and Deve Gowda
A piquant situation has arisen for Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda (right)
because of the judicial focus on political wrong-doing. He is at a loss to
figure out how to deflect the judicial onslaught on Narasimha Rao.
Recently when senior
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders met Deve Gowda in connection with the Gujarat stalemate,
the prime minister mentioned his dilemma. Commiserating with
BJP president Lal Kishinchand Advanifor the court order denying his plea for the dismissal
of hawala charges against him, Deve Gowda suggested that something
should be done to put an early end to judicial activism.
Both Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee
stoutly refused any suggestion to curb the judiciary in any way.
It was suggested that all other political
parties are keen to rein in the judiciary. But the BJP leaders
insisted that they would not be a party to any move to clip the
wings of the judiciary.