Politics is power. And power is money. So politics equals money.
If for some reason you cannot become a politician, though it requires no qualification, the next best is to become personal assistant to a successful politician. Overnight your fortunes would look up, you would be wined and dined by folks seeking access to your boss...
The national capital is teeming with former PAs who made it good. Let's buzz a bit about them.
Number one, of course, is Rajinder Kumar Dhawan, now a Congress Working Committee member. A lower division clerk in the Railways, he was recommended to then prime minister Indira Gandhi by his cousin, Yashpal Kapur, himself a clerk before turning into a full-blooded politician.
And Dhawan's life was made.
At the peak of Indira Gandhi's reign, captains of industry, powerful central ministers and chief ministers all bowed and scraped before Dhawansaab. He is now a man of considerable means and lives in what's probably Delhi's swankiest residential colony -- Golf Links.
Omi Arora, though not as well known as Dhawan, is another ex-PA who's enjoying the fruits of PA-ship. As long-time Man Friday to Jagjivan Ram, Arora was much in demand. He had a special thing going with industrialist Lalit Mohan Thapar and managed to squeeze in on the board of several Thapar companies.
Omi is quite a rich man today, what with enormous real estate interests, including hotels in central Delhi, Mussourie etc.
Though not in the same league as the aforementioned gentlemen, Gulzar Kalra, onetime PA to Sanjay Gandhi, who later served Arun Nehru, left his lower middle-class past behind him the moment he tasted power. He was one of the first ones to be allotted a Maruti dealership. His agency in the capital, Agnall Traders, added plenty to his financial muscle.
Kalra now boasts of all the accoutrements of the nouveau riche -- a rather garish home and farmhouse in South Delhi.
Now comes the purpose of recounting these get-rich-quick tales. Namely, to introduce -- not that he needs much introduction -- another addition to the Man Friday Club:
Gentleman PA Vincent George, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's right hand.
Not so very long ago, George was a stenographer at the Congress headquarters. From there it was a hop, skip and jump as then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's manager. From there, he passed himself on to Sonia.
George, too, has acquired considerable real estate and other assets. He recently pulled his son out from an up-market school and had him admitted to an expensive one in the South.
But now, things look bad for Georgie, very bad...
And shut the darned door after you...
Yes, Gentleman George may get the boot. And soon, if Sonia has her way.
The trouble with him, we are told, is that he thinks he is a big boy. Big enough to play politics over his boss's head.
"He lets visitors meet Sonia according to his preferences," says what we would call an informed source, "Those who keep him 'happy' get to see her and those who don't are perennially on the waiting list."
All of which, incidentally, Trinamul Congress leader Mamta Banerjee found too hard to stomach before she packed her bags.
"Those who keep George happy get to see Soniaji," Mamata confided to a journo recently, "Others are not even offered a chair to sit! Why should I take such humiliation?"
Why indeed, feels Sonia too. Which is why insiders see her preparing for George's removal.
The latest is thatR D Pradhan, former Union home secretary and a self-avowed admirer of the Nehru-Gandhi family, is being inducted into her personal secretariat.
If things go as planned, Sonia will altogether eject George from her personal staff. He might be given a sinecure as one of her aides in the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Since she presides over multi-billion Gandhi-Nehru family trusts -- even the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial is with Sonia now -- George will have his hands full looking after huge chunks of real estate.
"George," our source said, "is out after the assembly election. That's for sure."
Sir, you're a cad!
Former Delhi chief minister Sahib Singh Verma, people who know him say, is so crude, that he gives even Madan Lal Khurana from whom he usurped the Delhi CM-ship, a massive complex.
The other day, Delhi BJP boss Mange Ram Garg met the party workers of Verma's assembly constituency as part of preparations for the poll. To gauge the feelings of the rank and file, contenders for party tickets were asked to stay away from the meeting.
Sitting MLA Verma, too, was told not to attend. But he showed up bright and early. And, insisted on participating in the deliberations.
When a senior BJP worker protested that there could be no free talk with Verma around, Garg politely requested him to withdraw. But no, Verma wanted to stick on: He was not a candidate for the poll and, hence, had every right to attend the meeting.
This was signal for several workers to stand up simultaneously and accuse Verma of playing a trick.
"You held a meeting of your supporters this morning in your house. You told them to seek your renomination even though you yourself would pretend to be not keen on contesting," they shouted.
If Verma was embarrassed at his crude tactics being exposed, he did not show it. He mulishly stayed on till the meeting ended.
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