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December 29, 1997


Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Bliss, Advani style

Ignoring, like ignorance itself, is sheer bliss. And oh, what sweet bliss!

The subscriber to this argument is none other than the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial non-aspirant L K Advani. The man, you would think, is blind as a grandfather bat. Completely, utterly incapable of seeing things, even when they have been thrust under his fleshy nose.

"Poor man," you say to yourself, and add philosophically, "Ah, well, age catches up. It happens to the best of us..."

Your wasted sympathy is, of course, spurred by Advani's complete 'unawareness' at what's happening in Delhi. Which would mean that he is not only blind but deaf as well -- or else, how could he have missed the war cries emanating from self-conned-out chief minister Madanlal Khurana and thus-conned-in CM Sahib Singh Verma?

Khurana and Singh, even school children would know, have been locked in a loving, strangulating embrace, both trying to dig each other's eyes out with the pointed legs of the chief ministerial khursi. But no, Advani is not aware of any such happening -- he is gone so blind these days that recently 20-odd pro-Verma MLAs were forced to meet him and speak their minds.

"Advaniji," they said, reacting to the base-ful rumour that the leadership was toying with the idea of fielding Khurana in Delhi, "We won't stand Khurana as our candidate. We will resign from the assembly if that happens."

Advani, naturally, said he didn't know anything about such a plan. Was that being contemplated? Why? How? Seriously, they weren't telling him there was trouble between Khurana and Verma?

"Tell you what," he said, "Why don't you meet Atal Bihari Vajpayee?"

So off went the 20 MLAs to Vajpayee's residence, where they retold their tale in greater detail. Vajpayee listened to it with rapt attention, contemplated deeply for a few seconds and decided to place the ball squarely back in his colleague's court.

Advani, he informed the MLAs, is the party chief. And as such, he is the man to decide on such matters. So why don't they have another chat with him?

Out rushed the would-be rebels to Advani's presence. But Advani, they found, was still busy indulging in the sweet bliss of ignoring!

Khurana and Verma, he said, there wasn't anything wrong between them. So what did it matter who got the ticket? Both were ambitionless, loyal partymen, weren't they..?

Ticket for sycophancy

Sycophancy is not the prerogative of the Congress alone -- it works in the BJP too.

What, don't believe? Not to worry, watch out for failed media tycoon Dr J K Jain (of the defunct Jain satellite channel and Surya magazine).

Our good doctor, who last time managed a BJP ticket (solely on the strength of being omnipresent in Advani's residence) but lost miserably to Congress's J P Aggarwal, plans to contest from the Chandini Chowk constituency. He has done all the ground work well (this time, sources say, he has literally become the party chief's shadow) and is already making preparations -- read requests for funds -- for the election.

"Not only will I get the ticket, I will get elected and become a minister in the Vajapayee government," Jain is going around assuring would-be supporters, "You look after me now, I will protect your interests as a minister."

By the look of it, Jain, who hails from Uttar Pradesh and was once-upon-a-time elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, would most assuredly get a ticket (like we said, because of Advani). But the chances of his winning are as bright as, umm, well, let's see how it turns out..!

Entertainer Jain

Entertaining nuggets from the Justice Milap Chand Jain Commission interim report are still trickling in.

Savour these. The Commission, in a letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation director, asked, "Is there any likelihood of any connection between the Bofors case and the Rajiv Gandhi assassination?"
"...was there any possibility of funding of the assassination by the Bofors middlemen?"
"Who are these middlemen? Do they have any connection with the CIA or any other international agency?"

For ready reference, the above questions appear on page 1219 of Volume XVI of the report.

The Commission had also written to the ministry of external affairs to 'prove' the linkages, if any, of the CIA, the KGB and Mossad in the Gandhi assassination!

Ambitious mogul

A most successful satellite television entrepreneur feels he is more suited for politics than just covering politics. Since he hails from Haryana, he recently conveyed his ambition to Chief Minister Bansi Lal. Would Lal consider his candidature for the Hissar constituency?

Lal's Haryana Vikas Party had lost the Hissar seat to the Congress' Selja Kumari last time round. The tycoon, now residing in Bombay, has his expansive family still living in Hissar. And Lal is positively inclined towards the young magnate. So...

Singh throws a tantrum

The high society in the capital is not at all amused by an incident at a recent party, hosted by Rajen Nanda, the well-known industrialist who is more known as the father of Amitabh Bachchan's son-in-law.

One of the guests was the portly Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh. Amidst much hogging of choice kababs and choicer drinks, Singh thought it necessary to throw a tantrum. And what a tantrum it was!

Espying the presence of a well-known heart surgeon with his wife, a successful television anchor in her own right, Singh demanded to know why the hosts had invited him when the surgeon was to be one of the guests. Unless the surgeon was evicted, Singh continued, he would walk out. Then he turned to Amitabh.

"You say you are my friend," he said, "In that case prove your friendship now and come with me."

In the face of Singh's belligerence, Amitabh had no other go but to go with him. After all, wasn't it the Singh-ial 'connections' that put full stops to several Bachchan-related investigations?

Now, now... don't ask us what went wrong between Singh and the surgeon -- only Singh and God can tell you that!

Capital Buzz