There is the hottest political rumour in town:
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha no longer enjoys the confidence of a most influential industrial house.
It wants Sinha out, double-quick.
But Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee won't have it. He has, it would appear, placed all his reliance on Sinha -- at least till Budget 2001 is ratified.
The case of the reluctant Krishna
Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna has his plate overfull. Again.
Being something of a gentleman, he just cannot bring himself to say 'No!' to his party bosses in New Delhi.
The result? Krishna's stuck with another costly task.
After recently hosting the Congress Seva Dal and Youth Congress jamborees in Bangalore, he has now been directed to pick up the tab for the forthcoming All-India Congress Committee plenary session.
Krishna is sulking, but can't openly protest party president Sonia Gandhi's decision for the meet scheduled from February 14 to 16.
Besides housing and feeding so many out-of-towners, there is that bit 'bout arranging funds for the tamasha. You cannot go back to the same people for contributions thrice in less than three months!
Then there is the question of disrupting normal life in Bangalore. The locals wouldn't at all be pleased if huge processions block the roads yet again.
Which is all why Krishna isn't exactly dying to please Sonia.
But, as we said, his goodness worked against him. They could have given Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh the honour. But Sonia and her chief adviser Arjun Singh are rather suspicious of Diggy Raja and did not want to burden him unnecessarily.
True, no such constraint was there in Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's case -- at least, he, unlike his MP counterpart, didn't seem eager for Sonia's sandals.
But Bombay was ruled out since the signora's archrival and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar could make things difficult.
Which left Bangalore. Poor Krishna.
This joke is in bad taste, we admit. Nevertheless it is doing the rounds in New Delhi's political circles.
The death of Jitendra Prasada, who had challenged Sonia Gandhi in the Congress presidential election, has the wags saying it is "unhealthy" to threaten her political ambition.
From Sanjay Gandhi to Rajesh Pilot, Sitaram Kesri and now Prasada, hasn't everyone cleared her path? Why, even P V Narasimha Rao... his conviction in the JMM bribery case has drastically dented his potential to plot against Sonia.
A senior Congress politician gave a new twist to this morbid joke when he approached Sharad Pawar at a social function.
"Be a little watchful about your health..." said he.
Pawar was unfazed. "The curse was only on those Congressmen who stayed in her party," he retorted. "We have moved out of her domain long time ago."
Clearly, the NCP boss had heard the joke before.
Be my guest, do
Seems former law minister Ram Jethmalani is in a 'forget and forgive' mood as far as Chief Justice of India Dr A S Anand is concerned.
But with Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, Jethmalani still has a huge axe to grind.
Why do we say this? Because the sacked minister invited the CJI to his son Janak's wedding in Bombay.
Sorabjee was not fortunate to get the invite.
In case you have forgotten, Jethmalani holds Sorabjee and Chief Justice Anand responsible for his ouster from the Vajpayee government.
Of course, the CJI did not fly down for the wedding, but he was polite enough to send the customary congratulatory message.
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