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Virender Kapoor | January 18, 2003



Expected shortly, a reshuffle in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry.

Though no date has been fixed, people in the know say it would be before the Budget session of Parliament, which usually starts by mid-February.

Predictably, the reshuffle will leave most big guns -- read, Cabinet ministers -- unaffected, but there will be quite a few comings and goings in the middle and lower levels.

Two certainties: Uma Bharti and Vasundhara Raje will quit as they need to devote time to the Bharatiya Janata Party units in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Raje has already taken over as president of the BJP's Rajasthan unit. Bharti, for her part, is yet to be anointed MP head, though that hasn't stopped her from spending time in the state, stirring things up so Congress Chief Minister Digvijay Singh will find it hard to live it up his full term.

An almost certain ouster is Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha. The feeling is Sinha has failed to make his mark as a minister. He also attracted adverse publicity, in Parliament and outside, by his 'filmy' behaviour.

Of course, Sinha will not be dropped cold. He will be accommodated in a ministry where his actions will not attract too much notice.

Sinha is most keen to replace Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain, which wish is unlikely to be granted.

While on Sinha, the man dropped to make place for him in the Cabinet, Dr C P Thakur is likely to be re-inducted.

A leader among the Bhumihar community in Bihar, he is an important cog in the BJP's plan to oust the Laloo Pasad Yadav-Rabri Devi combine, which fact Vajpayee seems to have realized belatedly.

Since Jana Krishnamurthy was inducted as law minister only to make up for his removal as BJP chief, there is a move now to ease him out.

Trouble is, he is so senior neither Vajpayee nor Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani want to suggest it. They hope he will quit voluntarily.

Your place or mine?

The secularist lobby in the capital was embarrassed when the Delhi police arrested one of its members for alleged eve-teasing.

Kadayam Suranaratanan Subramanyam, a 1963 IPS officer who retired as Tripura director general of police, was arrested under the Delhi Police Act, for allegedly propositioning a lady constable posted as decoy on the Delhi University's north campus.

The police claim Subramanyam stopped his car by the constable at the Maurice Nagar bus stop and allegedly asked her how much money she would take to go with him.

Subramanyam's wife is principal of the women-only college close to the bus stop.

When hauled to the police station, Subramanyam first tried to hide his identity.

Later he identified himself as a former DGP. Whereupon, the policemen were ready to let him off without filing a case.

But the lady constables assigned as decoys across the campus protested, forcing their male counterparts to register a case.

Subramanyam was a member of at least two unofficial teams that visited Gujarat last year to inquire into the communal violence there. Both teams had held the Narendra Modi government guilty.

Be our guest

For the nth time, the Indian History Congress' annual session was held in a state not ruled by the BJP.

The reason is, non-BJP states lay out the red carpet for the IHC -- which is openly hostile to the Sangh Parivar -- and pick up the tab for the entire affair.

Indeed, old-timers recall how the near-bankrupt Marxist government in Kolkata pulled out all stops a few years ago to accommodate the IHC. The Digvijay Singh government in Bhopal did the same a year ago, and now the Amarinder Singh government in Amritsar last month.

Academia's loss, bar's gain

India's Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, referring to Nani Palkhivala who died last month, recalled this little-known fact about the celebrated lawyer's multi-faceted life:

'Palkhivala applied for a lecturer's post at Bombay University. To his surprise and regret, a Parsi girl was appointed to the post.

'With admission to most other courses closed, he enrolled at the Government Law College. This is one instance how destiny plays a role in one's life. Nani was eternally grateful to the young lady professor and treated her to a dinner several years later.'

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


Capital Buzz

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