Rediff Navigator News


Capital Buzz

The Rediff Interview


The Rediff Poll


Crystal Ball

Click Here

The Rediff Special



Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Chandra Swami's back to intrigue

Soon after his release on bail, the controversial Chandra Swami was back to networking with the ruling elite. The tantrik believes his present troubles will end soon. And with that end in view, he has undertaken a quiet yagnya to propitiate the gods.

He has also revived contact with Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda through one of his former aides. Anmol Saxena was once a private assistant to Chandra Swami. In his hour of need, Chandra Swami has fallen back on Saxena to extricate him from his mounting troubles. Saxena, in turn, enjoys the patronage of one of Deve Gowda's sons.

Saxena's brief is to ensure that the prosecution does not fix Chandra Swami. The recent change of Chandra Swami's lawyer is part of the same strategy, to soften the 'prosecution'.

Who has replaced lawyer, Ashok Arora? None other than K K Maran, the special prosecutor in the defamation case the central government has filed against Professor K Venkatatagiri Gowda, the former Bharatiya Janata Party MP and author of two books doubting the prime minister's integrity.

Maran's association with Deve Gowda goes back to the days when the lawyer and the future premier were members of Subramanian Swamy's Janata Party. Maran, then a lower court lawyer, and Deve Gowda, then down and out, would spend hours on end together.

Now, of course, all that has changed. Maran will assist senior advocate Rajinder Singh in defending Chandra Swami.

Meanwhile, Kailash Nath Aggarwal,who was jailed along with Chandra Swami in the Lakhubhai Pathakcase, does not tire of announcing to an uncaring world that he had has had nothing to do with the tantrik these last seven years. "I left him seven years ago but no one believes me," he complains.

Deve Gowda puts governance on hold

Prime minister H D Deve Gowda is a victim of indecision like his illustrious predecessor, P V Narasimha Rao. Given the internal contradictions in the ruling United Front, wisdom often lies in elevating procrastination to the status of state policy.

Indeed some weeks ago when the prime minister's office took special interest in the appointment of a businessman as chairman of a Gujarat state undertaking many were amazed at the premier's personal interest in the matter.

Subsequently, it was revealed that the businessman had been kind to Deve Gowda when the latter was in the political wilderness. The PM wanted to return the favour and appointed him chairman of the much sought after corporation during the few days when Gujarat was under President's rule.

Otherwise, the prime minister seems in no hurry to take decisions. At least six gubernatorial slots are vacant, but Deve Gowda shows no inclination to make the appointments. Thus, governors, whose term expired some months ago, continue on an ad hoc basis.

Similarly, he cannot make up his mind on the nominations to the Rajya Sabha. Ditto for key ambassadorial appointments. Senior foreign service officers have been cooling their heels in the capital waiting for Deve Gowda to okay their appointments, but the humble farmer is in no hurry to oblige them.

Two men crave for office

Karan Singh, the former maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, is one of those perennial aspirants for high office whose talents the nation's recent rulers have invariably failed to recognise.

The Deve Gowda government is no different.

Dr Singh, who was once a contender for the presidency or the vice-presidency, has again applied for state glory to be bestowed on him.

Union Home Minister Indrajit Gupta was reminded ever so gently by the former federal minister of the various ways in which the government could utilise his services. But the phlegmatic Gupta has no intentions of pressing the likes of Singh into the service of the nation.

Another busybody seeking official largesse is Inder Jit Khullar. The journalist, it is said, is trying desperately to win official patronage. Any slot will do to enable him to keep his official bungalow and car in the capital.

Inder Jit became an MP in 1991, courtesy Darjeeling's Gorkha leader, Subhas Ghisingh. Since then he has been at a loose end, desperately looking for a political godfather.

The portents are bleak for Deve Gowda

Acouple of astrologers from Karnataka are much in demand these days in the capital. Their proximity to the Deve Gowda family is well known. Dressed in Kannadiga style a la Deve Gowda, they hold forth on the future in the well-appointed living rooms of senior politicians and bureaucrats.

The other day the duo made it to the bungalow of a senior finance ministry official. Basking in the winter sun on the official's sprawling lawn, they were inevitably asked the question that everyone is asking: 'Will the Deve Gowda government survive long enough to present the annual Budget?'

The soothsayers were unanimous that Deve Gowda will not last beyond April. And, of course, there was no question of the government presenting the 1997-98 Budget.

The official was stunned, more so when told that the prime minister had posed them the same question and he had been given the same answer.

Moopanar's terms for unity

One man probably more crucial than Congress president Sitaram Kesri in determining the lifespan of the Deve Gowda government is Tamil Mannila Congress leader G Karupaiah Moopanar.

Not unlike the late Tamil titan K Kamaraj, Moopanar is a man of few words who likes to keep his counsel to himself.

Kesri's lieutenants have bombarded him with pleas to rejoin the Congress. A K Antony, K Karunakaran, Naval Kishore Sharma, et al have had long meetings with Moopanar, but he refuses to commit himself either way.

In the ongoing tussle for leadership of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Moopanar has conveyed to Kesri that he would not mind if the Congress president became the CPP leader as long as Sonia Gandhi was inducted in the party hierarchy in an important slot. The TMC will rejoin the Congress sometime in March once Sonia is accorded the pride of place in the party.

Capital Buzz

Home | News | Business | Sport | Movies | Chat
Travel | Planet X | Kidz | Freedom | Computers

Copyright 1996 Rediff On The Net
All rights reserved