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Virendra Kapoor | April 17, 2003
What Sushma didn't do, Prasad did.
Talking of former information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj and her successor Ravi Shankar Prasad here.
The first thing Prasad did after he stepped into Swaraj's shoes was to publish RSS founder Keshav B Hedgewar's official biography -- the 'official' signifying it was published at Government of India expense.
The book was released at a formal function last week where a galaxy of Sangh Parivar luminaries, including Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was present.
Secularists, as expected, took umbrage that the government sanctioned the biography and saw a pattern between the book and the unveiling of Hindutva icon Vinayak D Savarkar's portrait in Parliament.
In the Sangh Parivar, no one was surprised Prasad brought out the book so fast. What hit some of them now that they were thinking about it was Swaraj had not brought it out despite being I&B minister for so long.
Of course, there were hushed discussions about that at the function. Some critics argued she had stalled the Hedgewar bio because she came to the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Socialist Party and did not want to rile the secularist lobby.
Prasad, on the other hand, this section pointed out, was a hardcore Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh man, who didn't have any ex-party colleagues to worry about.
But everyone came in for a shock when RSS chief K S Sudarshan defended Swaraj from the podium. Sushma, he said, was a most loyal Parivar member and was in no way to blame for not releasing the book.
C for condemnable
Was the American action in Iraq 'condemnable'? Or just 'deplorable'?
Officially, it is only deplorable, but many in the Opposition find it 'condemnable.'
The Left and Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party argued strongly for the 'C' word, but after a full day of haggling, the Treasury benches wear them out, settling for ninda or 'deplorable'.
His sister Nalini Singh has started a satellite television channel.
Though the channel is now limited to Nepal, given Singh's ambitions, it may not be long before it begins beaming in India too.
Most people avoid it. But not booze baron and Rajya Sabha member Vijaya Mallya.
He sent a letter to Defence Minister George Fernandes as Dr Mallya, never expecting a reprimand.
Fernandes wrote back, politely telling Mallya that honorary doctors do not normally highlight the 'Dr' bit.
Now Mallya is protesting. His doctorate, he has written back, is a genuine one, from a Californian university -- so why should he not use it?
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh