Virendra Kapoor

Well, if you thought law and order was get out of hand in Bihar, a story doing the rounds in the capital reassures you that Laloo Prasad Yadav is in control of the situation.

It seems one morning Yadav's personal physician found his Mercedes stolen. Next day, while checking the pulse of the royal personage, he mentioned the theft of his car.

Laloo was appalled at what had happened and asked him where in Patna had the car been stolen. When the doctor told him Laloo assured him he'd move heaven and earth to get the thing back. As it happened, he only had to ask a minion to put all call through...

You see, whatever else isn't well organised in Patna, crime is. Two goons have divided the territory into two well-managed units, and the lord of each territory leaves the other well alone.

The gangster came on the line. "I want the car in my house within an hour, undamaged," Laloo Yadav said. The car was there long before the time ran out and the keys were dangled before the gratified pill-roller.

But while handing the thing over, Laloo Yadav asked him how much the car cost. The doctor told him it was worth Rs 1.5 million.

"Very well, you've found your car worth Rs 1.5 million, haven't you? Now you take this fellow (pointing at the gangster) with you and give him Rs 100,000. One can't be unfair to this guy who took the trouble to return your car, can you?"

Now who said there wasn't justice in Bihar?

A job no one wants

A couple of months ago, Kedar Nath Sahni quit the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party and was replaced by Mange Ram Garg.

The change was made with approval from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and the consensus formula envisaged the replacement of Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma too. For many feared that with Verma at the helm, the party would never win the upcoming assembly election due in November.

After some attempts to replace him, first with Union minister Sushma Swaraj and later with former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana, the party leadership allowed let matters drift. Even Advani feels Verma is a dicey proposition but he still hangs on.

Sushma, meanwhile, refused to lead the party into the poll, but isn't averse to becoming chief minister thereafter.

Advani now wants Khurana, whose candidature he had opposed earlier. But the RSS think-tank in Keshav Kunj, Jhandewalan in central Delhi, is averse to change. For they feel all is well in Delhi, and that they still can snatch victory from the jaws of a smashing defeat.

These leaders lend their ears only to the likes of Verma and O P Kohli, a former Delhi BJP chief and now a member of the Rajya Sabha. Kohli, who has his problems with the Vijay Kumar Malhotra-Khurana-Sahani group in the Delhi BJP, will rather let the Congress win by default than let down Verma.

RSS leaders have reluctantly agreed to Verma's replacement, if the new CM is Delhi Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. While Vardhan is a better choice, he is a political lightweight who could find it difficult to improve the BJP's chances.

And since nobody wants to take the hot seat, Verma makes merry while he can...

Evil women and tongues

Congressmen in the capital behave as if they've already won power in Delhi, with only the formality of the swearing in ceremony remaining.

But they have problems in their own camp, worst amongst them being the problem of factionalism.

The other day, at the marriage reception of the son of a minister in the Indira and Rajiv governments, former Union minister and Delhi Congress strongman H K L Bhagat called Delhi Congress chief Shiela Dixit "chhudail (evil woman)" and went on to lament his fate which made him have to deal with her.

Dixit overheard the remark and broke into tears. Between loud sobs she mumbled that this was the first time in her life that anyone had called her that. It took scores of Delhi Congressmen to console her.

Bhagat, having done his bit, had moved on to mix with other guests most of whom were local Congressmen.

The PS decides

Here is more on the controversial private secretary, K J Alphons, to Union Urban Affairs Minister Ram Jethmalani.

Soon after a tender for the Delhi metro rail project was awarded to a Japanese company last year -- the decision being taken by a panel of independent experts -- the ministry tried to restart the tendering process. The annoyed Japanese team was quick to complain to the prime minister's office so that matters quickly died now.

Now it turns out the inspiration for this came from the Indian liaison man for a German company that lost the Delhi metro tender to the Japanese.

A Keralite like Alphons, the fixer is also close to the PS. And that, it seems, was why the ministry took the unprecedented step.

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