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Capital Buzz/ Virendra Kapoor

Of short, squat, under-the-belt jabs

There is a little kid in New Delhi, by the name of Sahib Singh Verma, who has mastered the fine art of hitting below the belt.

This kid, this little hitter-below-the-belt, came into a piece of luck a couple of months ago -- one fine morning, it was conveyed to him that he was being made the Delhi chief minister. His cousin, Madanlal Khurana, it seemed, was not feeling too well about people calling him dirty hawala names. So would Verma take over till he started feeling well about it?

So our kid became the CM. And once in chair, Verma began enjoying himself hugely. He could bully around other kids who, now, were only happy to be bullied around. Our kid started having a whale of a time. And when Khurana came asking for his CM-ship back, he was none too politely told to look for another job.

Which was a bit too much, actually. But, as we mentioned, our kid is not much bothered about such niceties of life. He is a hitter-below-the belt, remember? So, to make sure that Khurana really did what he asked him to, Verma went ahead with a couple more 'numbers'.

Seeing that Khurana was pretty pally with Bahujan Samaj Party's Ram Bahadur Bidhuri, our hitter-below-the-belt went plotting to get Bidhuri fired from his post (the general secretaryship). "Bidhuri is a Khurana agent," he spread, "and is actually with the BSP to help him. In the last couple of elections he has been dividing anti-Congress votes."

Result? Bidhuri was out on his ear from not only his chair, but the party as well.

Then came the second round. Here, our kid conspired with certain other kids of a local club, the Central Bureau of Investigation, to harass Khurana. Thus, suddenly Khurana-probes started all over the place.

But unfortunately for Verma, his parents Lal Kishinchand Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to know about this. And were ashamed. What? How could a son of theirs do such a thing? That too against his own cousin?

They took our kid to task -- pulled up his socks, whacked his bottom etc etc. Never ever repeat this, they told him, or else, we will return the chair to Khurana. Verma tearfully promised them he wouldn't.

Which is how, on Thursday, Verma got the handshake and Khurana the cold shoulder.

Run along and play, Reddy boy

What's between Congress president Sitaram Kesri and United Front bigwig Chandrababu Naidu is nobody's business but their own. Or at least, that's the way they want it to be.

But no, Andhra Pradesh Congressmen are ashamed of it. (Tch, tch, their Chacha playing games political with that dreadful Telugu Desam Party leader! How could he?) In fact, so much did the Kesri-Naidu friendship get under their skin that former chief minister K Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy decided to take the matter up with Kesri.

"Er, Kesriji," Reddy says, "Er, this connection with Naidu, er, umm, do you think it is, umm, er, going to affect the party?"

Pat came the Congress president's reply, "You see, Naidu made H D Deve Gowda the prime minister. Then he unmade him. After that, he helped make I K Gujral prime minister. More recently, he made Krishna Kant as vice-president... Who knows, he might help me become the prime minister!"

Before Reddy could react, Kesri added, "My friendship with Naidu should not come in the way of the Congress's opposition to the TDP in Andhra Pradesh. Go on opposing him as best way you can. But at the Centre, let me handle him my way..."

In other words, Reddy, beta, run along and play; but don't meddle in us grownups' games!

Lock 'em up

Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel wants Director General of Police C Dinakar under lock and key.

Karnataka Director General of Police C Dinakar wants Chief Minister J H Patel under lock and key.

Nope, folks, we are not drunk. Nor confused. This is very much true: Patel wants Dinakar in a psychiatric ward, and Dinakar wants Patel in custody!

It started with the CM calling Dinakar 'mentally retarded and in need of psychiatric help.' The top-cop returned the compliment immediately. Now, he has sought Governor Khurshid Alam Khan's permission to prosecute the chief minister on criminal charges.

Patel, for his part, says Dinakar is being manipulated by Janata Dal MP P Kodandaramiah.

Reddy's dilemma

The man had good intentions at heart -- you got to grant Union Information and Broadcasting Minister S Jaipal Reddy that.

All he wanted was to liberate All India Radio and the Doordarshan from the strangling government hold. And all he did was announce that the long-pending Prasar Bharati Bill would come into force from September 15. If the plans are coming unstuck now, well, it is not really his fault is it?

The trouble is the employees. There are about 20,000 of them under four broad categories -- technical, producers, Central Information Service officials and Central Secretariat Service members. Who will stay with the autonomous bodies, and who will revert to government service -- that is the question.

A Prasar Bharati cell has been created in the ministry to sort out the staffing problem, true. But unless the terms and conditions of employment in the autonomous DD-AIR are framed, most of the current employees will be unable to choose between the two.

And at the present reckoning, it will take at least three years to sort out the problem!

Capital Buzz

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