Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor
Deve Gowda's instant solutions
Think before you leap is one adage which
humble farmer H D Deve Gowda does not seem to have heard of.
His propensity to speak first and regret later has often landed
the United Front government in trouble and exposed its
inner contradictions to the world at large.
The prime minister was
so carried away by the large crowd at the public meeting on
his recent day-long visit to Rajasthan that he instantaneously
announced the extension of the Mandal reservations to the jats
as well. At least that is what the jats were given to understand
when Deve Gowda promised a new commission to consider the demand for
their inclusion in the reservation list.
It is a different matter
that Deve Gowda's ministerial colleagues took no time to reject his proposal.
Led by Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Industry Minister
Murasoli Maran, the Cabinet shot down the move to distribute
the Mandal cake to more and more castes. The result: The
jats and their leaders like Ajit Singh are hopping mad with the
Speak first, think later
The prime minister was made to eat humble pie again a few
days ago. He mooted the proposal to have at least two members of
his ministerial team elected to the Rajya Sabha from the newly-
constituted Jammu and Kashmir assembly where there were four vacancies
to the Upper House.
Since Welfare Minister
Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Minister of State for Planning and Science
and Technology Yoginder K Alagh had to be found seats in the Upper
House before the expiry of the six-month period, Deve Gowda broached
the subject with J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.
Abdullah was neither in a position to say no nor did he have the political
savvy to think through the implications of gifting `outsiders'
parliamentary seats from his state. It was left to a
CPI delegation to make Deve Gowda realise the danger fraught in his
Ticking off the prime minister, the CPI leaders
told him that Alagh and Ramoowalia's election from J&K
could be exploited by the secessionists."The
anti-India elements will see in it a confirmation of their charge that
the assembly is a creature of New Delhi, a rubber stamp," the CPI
Mercifully for Deve Gowda, Mulayam Singh Yadav agreed to sponsor Ramoowalia's
election from UP and Shankarsinh Vaghela Alagh's
Another Deve Gowda gaffe
When newspapers splashed photographs of the unusually
large contingent of relatives that accompanied him on
his first foreign visit as prime minister, Deve Gowda, in a fit of
rage, asserted that he would bear all the
expenses incurred by members of his family.`Every
paisa for their visit will be paid by me,' he told reporters
accompanying him on his visit to the G-15 summit in Harare.
The Deve Gowda-14 chartered a private plane to visit Sun City in
South Africa. The charges for hiring the aircraft were paid by
the Deve Gowda family. But there still remains the little matter of
reimbursing to the Government of India the cost of flying first
class 14 members of the prime minister's family to Harare and back.
At the rate of Rs 66,000 per person for a first class ticket, the bill for flying
Deve Gowda's family comes
to nearly Rs 1 million. The prime minister is yet to deposit the
sum with the treasury despite his claim to pay every penny to
The same old CBI
Despite several directives from the law courts, the Central
Bureau of Investigation cannot help taking sides in order to please
its political masters. In the JMM MPs bribery case, investigations
zeroed in on the names of five businessmen who paid Rs 150 million
to then petroleum minister Satish Sharma for trading in
At least one industrial house publicly denied that it
paid money to Sharma to buy MPs. Instead of pursuing its investigations
to locate the source of funds given to Sharma, the CBI,
taking the said denial as gospel truth, has abandoned its inquiries
into the controversial industrial group.
However, the CBI is vigorously pursuing investigations into two
industrial houses who are known not to be particularly close to the
Deve Gowda government.
The industrial house on whose plane Deve Gowda, then the
prime minister-designate, flew to Delhi from Bangalore,
contributed the largest amount to Sharma's kitty. But the
CBI is showing no inclination to probe the matter. Incidentally, the
two other industrialists being investigated are not
on the best of terms with the high-profile chairman of
the controversial industrial group.
Ramakrishna Hegde is at a loose end.
Frustrated at his increasing irrelevance even in his home state, Karnataka,
Hegde has been knocking at the Congress door for re-admission, but in
So far, Congress chief Sitaram Kesri, who has let in
known Narasimha Rao-baiters, seems to take no notice of Hegde's appeals.
Hegde has been sending messages to Kesri through emissaries that he should be
allowed to rejoin the Congress which he left after the party split in 1969.
Kesri is aware that he will annoy both Sonia Gandhi
and the prime minister if he admits Hegde into the Congress. Whereas he
would only be delighted to needle Deve Gowda by throwing the political
lifeline to his arch foe from Karnataka, it is the fear of Sonia
which prevents Kesri from saving Hegde from political oblivion.
Hegde has not given up hope. He routinely
seeks out Congressmen close to Kesri to use them as a bridge for his
re-entry into the party.