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Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Nirvana, the Mayawati way!

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati (readers, dears, please, please don't get us wrong here) is leaving no stones unlaid -- quite literally, that is.

Laying foundation stones, right, left, centre and centre to left, it would appear, is the lady's ultimate hobby, her way of achieving political nirvana. And with September 21 looming larger than Bharatiya Janata Party's Kalyan Singh (to whom, in all probability, she will hand over power that day), madame is caught up in frenzied activity.

Thus, these days you see Mayawati shuttling between one site to another, grimly, dedicatedly, laying stones one after the other, unmindful of the heat and the dust and the grime...

"After all," quipped an observer the other day, "What is life if not to leave your name on a thousand stone or two?"

But, albeit this, there is one place which madame refuses to visit -- NOIDA, the upmarket locality which borders Delhi. And this, despite the fact that there are two Buddha statues there, just waiting to be unveiled!

But no, Mayawati will not -- absolutely not -- do the honours.

"It's because madame does not like the Buddha," an official, claiming great proximity to the lady, told us. We believed that -- till another chap, who claimed greater proximity, informed us differently. Then there came a third 'close associate' with another mad reason. Then a fourth...

Finally, this evening, we got to hear the real truth from a non-Mayawati-ite: "She is terribly superstitious," our source told us, "You see, both Kalyan Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav lost power immediately after they visited NOIDA. Mayawati is scared she too will have to give up power sooner than the deadline, if she steps into forbidden territory!"

Pawan, Rolex and Mont Blanc

The watch glittered and glinted. But then, it would -- for, isn't it an original Rolex?

Yep, it is. An authentic Rolex which, as usual, was wound loosely on Railways Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's dark hand...

The day was August 15 and Paswan, sitting in the front row, was all ears to Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral's eloquent call for a satyagraha against corruption.

...and the darned watch, which costs nearly Rs 700,000, continued to glitter on poor, uncorrupt, Paswan's hand!

Hey, how can a garib politician afford such a watch? The question, dear folks, has been asked before. By former Kerala governor Dr Sarup Singh, in the eighties.

"Doctor saheb, mujhey koi dey gaya (someone gifted it to me)," a shamefaced Paswan, minutely studying something on the Raj Bhavan walls, had replied.

Now, today, as Gujral went on with his valiant anti-corruption call, the same watch continued to glitter -- though its cousins, an assortment of Mont Blanc pens, were safely under lock and key in Paswan's garib house!

Power broker caught stealing power

A couple of weeks ago, this column mentioned a certain tentwallah-turned-fixer in the capital. Here is more about him now.

A few days ago, the Delhi Vidyut Board, raided one of our fixer's premises in north Delhi -- and caught him stealing electricity directly from transmission poles. On being cellularly informed of the shocking news -- What? Raid? On his premises? How dare they? -- the ex-tentwallah and his factotum, a local BJP MP, rushed over.

They started with threats. "DBV Chairman Navin Chawla," our fixer informed the officials, "owes his job to me."

The officials, however, were not impressed.

The fixer, much-knowledgeable in these matters, immediately changed tracks. How much money did they want? It was theirs for the asking, he promised.

Unfortunately, that, too, did not seem to cut any ice. So the tentwallah came down another step -- all right, he will pay whatever fine they decide, but no first information report should be filed. Please?

So that is how the matter stands now. The case will be forgotten, in return for which the fixer will pay Rs 200,000.

For its part, the BJP leadership, despite all the stink they created, continue to find both our fixer and his Man Friday pleasant!

Knowing Naresh, Knowing Gujral

First, there was the father. Then came the son. Now, it is through son to father.

This is about Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and his apple-of-eye son Naresh (who, when papa was ambassador to Russia long ago, was baptised as an exporter). More precisely, this is about the advantages of knowing the PM-son.

For, knowing beta Gujral is equivalent to knowing papa Gujral himself!

"The best way to get to know the PM," sources say, "is through his son. Indeed, it is the fastest too! And if you know him well enough, junior may even sit with you while you discuss your problem with the Chief Executive Officer of the nation!"

And that, believe us, is a great boon -- for there is little that Gujral denies his son.

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