Rediff Navigator News


Capital Buzz

The Rediff Interview


The Rediff Poll


Crystal Ball

Click Here

The Rediff Special



Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Suspicious stuff

Was the prime minister being presumptuous when he sent a congratulatory note to Congress president Sitaram Kesri, (left) hours ahead of his 'election by consensus' as the leader of the party's parliamentary wing?

On the morning of Friday, January 3, Kesri was still at his Purana Qila Road bungalow when he received a sealed envelope from the prime minister. Eager to know its contents, he opened it himself. Little did he suspect that it would contain a congratulatory message from H D Deve Gowda,eight hours before his actual election as CPP leader. 'Kindly accept my congratulations for your election as leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party,' said the small note scribbled on the prime minister's official letterhead.

How did Deve Gowda get to know what was to happen at the CPP meeting scheduled for that afternoon? Could it be that the intelligence agencies were keeping tabs on the goings-on in the Congress party? Or was the message proof of a Deve Gowda-Sharad Pawar (below, right) nexus? Or of the prime minister's undue interest in the internal affairs of the Congress?

Putting the 'shadow PM' in his place

Contrary to the impression spread by Sharad Pawar-friendly scribes, that the newly-installed leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha is the shadow prime minister, Kesri is at pains to cut the Maratha strongman to size.

Kesri and his aides make it clear to whoever wants to know that Pawar was made the leader in the Lok Sabha only because the CPP leader and Congress president is not a member of the Lower House. Nothing more ought to be read in that.

Already, Kesri has begun putting Pawar in his place. At the first meeting of the CPP executive committee, Kesri riled Pawar by insisting that his bete noire from Maharashtra, former home minister S B Chavan, sit on his left whereas Pawar sat on the party president's right.

Kesri also failed to show up at the felicitation organised for Pawar by loyalist, Govindrao Adik, MP. Kesri was in the capital, but chose not to attend the 'hail Pawar' tamasha. Nor, for that matter, did Sonia Gandhi deign to respond to Adik's invitation to attend the function. Worse, she did not even send a congratulatory note to Pawar.

The name game

There has been a quiet change of guard at the capital's premier hub of intellectuals, ranking diplomats, artistes and assorted group of professionals. The India International Centre has a new boss in former culture secretary Kapila Vatayayan. She took over from former Jammu and Kashmir maharaja, Dr Karan Singh, (above, left) last week.

The change was expected, given the fact that Dr Singh had just finished a five-year term as president of the IIC's board of trustees and the centre's constitution barred a second term for the incumbent.

What was not expected was the ugly hurry with which Singh insisted on inaugurating the annexe to the IIC.

The new complex, built at a cost of over Rs 50 million, is situated at some distance from the main IIC building. It was far from being fully operational when Singh opened it at a function on December 29. But, then, had he not inaugurated it when he did, he would not have got his name inscribed prominently on a marble plaque affixed at the entrance to the annexe.

Should the visitor fail to notice the plaque, there is a largish brass Nataraja that has been displayed bang in front of the main door as one enters the reception area. Another plaque announces that it has been gifted by Mrs and Dr Karan Singh.

Serbia's Mira in New Delhi

The Indian media is guilty of allowing the visit of Mirjana Markovi,the influential wife of the beleaguered Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, to this country late last month go unnoticed.

Mirjana, popularly known as Mira, was in Delhi at the height of the street protests in Belgrade, to promote her latest book. And, as The Times, London, noted rather acerbically, she was here at State expense. 'While she was away in India, one of the protestors's posters read: 'You are safe there, they don't kill cows in India,' The Times said in a dispatch from the streets of Belgrade.

Capital Buzz


Home | News | Business | Sport | Movies | Chat
Travel | Planet X | Freedom | Computers

Copyright 1996 Rediff On The Net
All rights reserved