Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is too generous, too much of a gentleman.
That is how they are trying to pass off his meeting with Dr J K Jain, he of the Jain television channel and such doings.
The PM's critics, for their part, are fuming: How dare he extend a lifeline to a man who is threatening to do stuff to his Principal Secretary Brajesh Mishra!
Both Vajpayee's friends and foes agree that his face-to-face with Jain just when the latter was to "expose the corruption and misdeeds of Mishra" on his channel has sent a wrong signal.
"It is as if Vajpayee is cowing down to save Mishra the embarrassment of an exposure," argued some Congress MPs.
Following his self-publicised, one-man dharna at the Boat Club (covered solo by the not-so-popular Jain television), Vajpayee had sent for the medical doctor-turned-entrepreneur.
Jain's agitation, if you have forgotten, is against the intelligence report that said he allegedly has links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.
Jain claimed through reports in a section of the media that his meeting lasted "two whole hours". Home Minister L K Advani was also present for some time.
Jain now wants an official statement giving him a clean chit. Trouble is, how do you withdraw a charge that was never made in the first place -- at least not in public?
As for the threat to expose Mishra's alleged black deeds, the national secuurity adviser is believed to be an upright man, of great financial integrity.
Sources at Jain TV, though, claim they have unearthed some "connection" in the rise of an advertising agency run by one of his nieces and her uncle's shoot-up as the PM's right hand.
There are inquiry commissions that come and inquiry commissions that go.
Then there are inquiry commissions that go on forever.
By our count, there are at least three in the last category. The first was set up to look into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the second into the Babri Masjid demolition, and the third into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.
Long after Justice Milap Chand Jain wound up his inquiry, the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency headed by a CBI joint director continues to investigate "the conspiracy angle" in the former PM's assassination.
Having got nothing to show for its two-year labour, the MDMA has now got a six-year extension.
Incidentally, the Congress has found Justice Jain another sinecure. In Rajasthan this time...
To Sir, With...
You all know of Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav, who occasionally addresses Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah as "Sir".
But did you know there are a few others who call the lady -- wait till you hear it! -- "Madam-Sir"?!
Meanwhile, all is not well between Heptullah and Vice-President and RS Chairman Krishan Kant.
Kant disapproves of Heptullah and shows it by calling a senior member of the panel of chairpersons to preside over the House when he leaves after the Question Hour. And Heptullah, enraged she, believes that Kant should vacate the presiding officer's chair only for her.
'Madam-Sir' had similar hassles when President K R Narayanan was the RS chairman.
Me, I saved Kapil
And then there is this television anchor who claims he saved former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev from the CBI.
We don't know the truth of that matter, but we hear the anchor underwent four long hours of grilling at the CBI headquarters!
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