|July 14, 2001|
Everyone seems to have gone overboard with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's visit.
Except for the gent at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
President K R Narayanan and his aides are not swayed by the excitement. Gently nudged by the ministry of external affairs to get their act together for the visit -- Musharraf spends a night at the Dwarka suite at Rashtrapati Bhavan -- a senior presidential aide responded to this effect: 'Not to worry, we will accord him correct and proper hospitality due to a visiting head of State.'
Not at all innocent
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha doth protest too much. But his I-didn't-knows are not in tune with the records at his ministry.
Contrary to his claim he was in the dark about the US-64 fiasco, there is ample evidence in the official files that he was forewarned about the impending crisis in the Unit Trust of India. But Sinha failed to take corrective steps.
Not all was well with the recent Sonia Gandhi entourage to the United States.
Only Dr Manmohan Singh conducted himself with dignity. The rest bickered openly.
In New York, Murli Deora found his name missing from the list of people accompanying Sonia for her meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Deora's name, it seemed, was removed to favour Vishwajeet Singh.
Singh was not part of the delegation that had accompanied the Congress president from India. A former Rajya Sabha member, he has been living in New York with his Indian Foreign Service official wife. Since he was keen to accompany Sonia, he had his name added and Deora's deleted.
Though eventually Deora went along, the resultant feud made an ugly sight.
Incidentally, Sonia was introduced at a couple of meetings in the US as the 'future prime minister of India'.
Last year when Arun Jaitley was information and broadcasting minister, Doordarshan's Metro channel had sold a three-hour prime time evening slot to Kerry Packer's Channel 9 for Rs 2.10 billion.
This year, instead of renewing the contract, DD under new minister Sushma Swaraj invited fresh bids for the slot. And had to settle for a measly Rs 1.8 million from a Mumbai-based television software production house.
Channel 9, it appears, was keen to renew the contract, though at a reduced price. Reportedly, it was willing to pay around Rs 1.5 billion.
But the DD bosses, for reasons unknown, were dead against Channel 9.
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