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|November 16, 2002|
A couple of indications the BJP will be out of power the next election:
One, we overheard the middle and upper classes, the party's traditional supporters, saying, "Things have deteriorated!"
Two, bureaucrats and businessmen, who have all along shunned Congress leaders, now actually seek them out.
The disillusionment with the ruling combine might take some time to percolate to the rest of the country, but unless Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wakes up fast, the Hindutva tribe will get the boot in the 2004 election.
A postscript: seems people will be more enthusiastic to vote out Vajpayee if Sonia Gandhi was not at the Congress helm -- for, her foreign origins and public demeanour put off the public in a major way.
Forget your ambitions, lady -- if you know what's good for the party.
17 going on 14
Trying to catch Parthiv Patel before he got too pricey, a senior executive of a sports sponsorship firm went to Ahmedabad to sign him up.
The cricketing sensation, who aroused the nation's curiosity as much with his wicket-keeping as with his baby face, arrived to see the official on a scooter, with his uncle riding pillion.
How come the underage Patel, who -- as a commentator put it -- is '17 going on 14', is driving, asked the executive.
"In Ahmedabad, it is alright," Patel mumbled. "Besides, they all recognise me here."
The sponsorship firm was very keen to bag Patel, but there was a hitch. Being a minor, Patel could not legally sign such a contract, only his guardian could!
As Patel's father could hardly move out of the house because of a paralytic stroke, the uncle accompanying him was the best bet. But discussions proved inconclusive, and the uncle left without signing.
Interestingly, one wonders who signed Patel's contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
The price of fame
Central intelligence agencies have tightened the security around cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar and captain Sourav Ganguly after a terrorist plot to kidnap the stars came to light recently.
Apparently, the plan was to take Tendulkar or Ganguly, and as ransom demand the release of some foreign terrorists from Indian jails.
The players have now been provided round-the-clock security. Although the entire team is given protection while playing international matches, the players are on their own when the team disperses, though Tendulkar and Ganguly enjoyed security.
Now, their security has been upgraded. Other players too have been asked to be careful.
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
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