Divided they stand                         Virendra Kapoor
   June 23, 2001

Square pegs, BJP chief Jana Krishnamoorthi is yet to realise, do not fit in round holes.

And hence his recent allocation of work. Instead of experience and familiarity with local conditions dictating the choice of party officials in-charge of the states, extraneous factors seem to have weighed the most with Krishnamoorthi.

Thus you have Om Prakash Kohli, a former Delhi BJP chief, as the boss of seven key states. The more experienced Madan Lal Khurana has been palmed off with just two.

Worse is the case of the BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit. Despite a do-or-die assembly election looming large, the leadership has not given up its little games.

Remember, former BJP chief Kushabhau Thakre was denied a second term. The septuagenarian isn't getting any younger and his health continues to be as bad as before. But Krishnamoorthi has put him in charge of UP.

Thakre's nomination was made in view of the sharp differences among local leaders. A commendable move it would have been, had Thakre the moral and physical courage to tame recalcitrant elements.

But Thakre's health is frail. As for his moral authority, such it is not that it will quell the clashing ambitions of rival BJP leaders.

Kilkenny cats in UP

While on the subject, top leaders in the BJP's UP unit are fighting like Kilkenny cats.

Despite the crucial election, Chief Minister Rajnath Singh, state party chief Kalraj Mishra and senior leaders Lalji Tandon and Om Prakash Singh are happily digging out each other's eyes.

Rajnath Singh's writ does not run even within his cabinet. For instance, on May 21 he called a meeting to review the functioning of the ministries of irrigation and higher education, headed by former state party chief Om Prakash Singh.

Senior officers, including secretaries of these ministries, attended. But the minister forgot to turn up!

Om Prakash Singh and Rajnath Singh continue to be at loggerheads. The former just can't stomach that his bete noire is now the CM.

No dancing shoes for Jaitley

Delhi's political circles are vastly tickled with the following story.

At a party in the house of a man-about-town ad executive, Law and Justice Minister Arun Jaitley was accosted by a petite young thing.

While several notables -- including the affable heart surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan -- watched, she poked him in his tummy and asked him for a dance.

The eager-beaver girl, a journalist, was in a particularly convivial mood after a couple of drinks.

But Jaitley, though a modern man, was not up to shaking a leg. He politely declined, even as he turned pink at the cheeky gesture.

One is told that the next morning when our journo realised what she had done, it was her turn to feel mighty embarrassed.

Take me too!

Many senior Congressmen are seething at their party chief Sonia Gandhi's decision to take along Jairam Ramesh and K Natwar Singh on her visit to the US.

However, the choice of Murli Deora and Dr Manmohan Singh did not evoke hostile reaction, the former having set up most of her meetings in the US and Iceland.

Interestingly, Vincent George was stood down for another personal assistant.

Since Congressmen weigh each other's worth by her/his proximity to the party boss, they are particularly unhappy with Natwar Singh for worming his way into Sonia's inner council.

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