Madam Gandhi went to Kashmir recently.
Up they flew in the prime minister's aircraft, Madam and a few Opposition leaders, to take stock of the situation after the massacre of 100-odd innocent civilians.
A sumptuous lunch was served en route. Madam, enjoying the pleasurable company of Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee, went at it with gusto. Back in Delhi she taunted the government.
The delegation, she said, did precious little except help itself to "tea, coffee and sandwiches".
Must admit that there was some truth in it. J&K Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah had proffered plenty of goodies to the visiting dignitaries -- and those who hadn't hogged on the flight had helped themselves to a snack or two.
The Congress president's genius for gaffe showed in a more serious manner a few days later. Her party disrupted Parliament demanding a judicial probe into the Kashmir killings.
Little did Madam know that the Centre was ill-equipped to order a judicial probe, since under the Constitution 'public order' was a state subject.
Senior lawyers in the Congress Parliamentary Party were forced to go along with Madam once she made it a prestige issue, even though they knew it could not be ordered unless the Centre rode rough shod over Article 370.
Ultimately, it was left to the Opposition to tell Madam that she had no leg to stand on.
We don't like saying it, but it is the truth -- many politicians are geniuses at cutting corners.
A Telugu Desam MP, we hear, recently jeopardised India's exports to Algeria. He contracted to export tobacco to Algeria and realised the full payment for the consignment he claimed he had shipped to the foreign party. When the Algerians weighed the stuff it turned out that they hadn't got all they had paid for.
Now, an angry Algerian government representative has written to the commerce minister threatening a ban on exports from India unless the matter is sorted out.
India's annual exports to Algeria, mainly of agricultural products, stand at over $ 2 billion.
The Crorepati humour
Amitabh Bachchan's television show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, has spawned a new genre of jokes.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan regaled fellow netas with this one:
Bachchan, trying to put a contestant at ease, asks his name. Next, the superstar asks his father's name.
When the contestant falters, Bachchan asks him the reason.
Pat comes the reply: "Aapney char option to diye hi nahi " (You haven't given me the usual four options)!
This joke is on Bachchan himself. He asks a contestant which of the following four companies is associated with a film star: 1. ABCL; 2. MMTC; 3. STC; 4. RTC.
The answer: ABCL, the acronym for the bankrupt Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd.
Looking in the contestant's eyes, Bachchan says, "Are you sure? Tala laga diya jayen?"
And the contestant remarks, "Is mein to tala salon pahley lag gaya tha" (This one was locked out several years ago)!
A mirror to the judiciary
It's like a self-contained island, is the Indian judiciary.
The Executive, thanks to a couple of Supreme Court rulings, has no say in the appointment of judges. "Good thing," you would say, "Bet that has improved things!"
Well... we will tell you a secret. The process of appointment to the high courts and Supreme Court bench is proceeding at a snail's pace. At the last count there were over 160 vacancies in the high courts alone!
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