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Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Presidential diplomacy

Now that the time for the Presidential election is drawing near, there is much to-ing and fro-ing in Rashtrapati Bhavan. And, naturally, most of it is on President Shankar Dayal Sharma'sbehest.

Dr Sharma wouldn't mind another go at Rashtrapati Bhavan -- life isn't really bad there at all. So he has decided to do some PR-ing. Which is why you see so much to-ing and fro-ing.

All of a sudden MPs who, till the other day had no idea what Rashtrapati Bhavan looked inside, are finding themselves shepherded through the plush corridors towards Dr Sharma's breakfast table -- yes, attentive government servants assure, the President would like to have breakfast with them!

So they had breakfast with the President. And left in a daze, half from the novelty of the affair, as from the sumptuous culinary delights Dr Sharma had spread before them.The next day, a fresh group was brought in...

Meanwhile, Vice-President K R Narayanan also threw a huge dinner at his house the other day. (No, no, it wasn't because of Dr Sharma's parties... ) The entire council of ministers and a large number of MPs were present.

"Dr Narayanan, we hope to have the next dinner with you at Rashtrapati Bhavan," some guests told him.

The vice-president smirked, but did not reply.

Who said...?

Don't tell anyone where you read this one, but we will let you into a state secret: our Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral is a man of great individuality.

Who said he had no manoeuvrability, that he was a prisoner of the various United Front leaders?

He wasn't! And he was going to prove it soon.

Who said he couldn't do anything about the conspicuous absence of his photographs on his ministerial colleagues desks (where H D Deve Gowda sat smiling proudly), that he couldn't have his photograph there?

He could! And he was going to prove it soon.

Who said he wasn't his own man, that he couldn't have his own men in the Cabinet?

He could! And he was going to prove it soon.

So folks, don't be surprised if we see some new faces in the Cabinet shortly. That would just be Gujral proving his stuff.

Mayawati affairs

They are all the same, these politicians, ain't they?

Till they get where they want, they are for the masses, for the down-trodden, for the underdog. But once they get there, well, then it is another matter -- the masses, the down-trodden and the underdog can go take a collective jump in the nearest lake.

Look at Madam Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Kanshi Ram's mouthpiece, Bahujan Samaj Party leader, self-avowed champion of the lowest of low.

Where do we see her now? At the top of the UP rung and, expectedly, enjoying herself.

Since taking over as UP chief minister, not she alone, but her family too have been enjoying themselves. It started with their bursting firecrackers that night to celebrate madam's fortune (keeping the neighbours awake the whole night) and continues with a real loud lifestyle.

The lady's (pardon the pun!) family which had all along lived in a resettlement colony, suddenly found itself with quite a few prime plots on hand. Two in Inderpuri, three others in Noida... Just to ensure that the land was not wasted, Mayawati ordered a couple of houses to be built. One of 'em is finished and will be occupied soon.

The three NOIDA plots are yet to be built upon -- the family, chamchas say, is contemplating on the type of structures that will come up there.

Of rats, snakes, Kanshi Ram and Mulayam

Okay, now that we are done with Madam Mayawati, let us talk about Kanshi Ram. Remember him, na?

The angry old man who played Mike Tyson with journalists last year?

Well, this gentleman has a habit of addressing 'loved' ones with reptilian names. Thus, when he felt an overwhelming love for Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav he named him cobra.

Not to be outdone in this little game of compliments, Yadav did one better: he dubbed, not just Kanshi Ram, but his party, BSP, as one, big chooha (rat).

Kanshi Ram appears to have been out-complimented -- he hasn't come up with a suitable reply as yet.

Real repartee

Next time someone invites Professor Bhabani Sengupta for a television interview, the gent will probably run for miles. He is had enough of television for some time.

Sengupta, I K Gujral's self-confessed intellectual guru, who lasted all of 36 hours as an officer on special duty in the Prime Minister's Office, was put through the wringer for a forthcoming episode of Zee TV's Aap Ki Adalat programme.

Reminded how he had written a newspaper article on Uzbekistan while referring to facts about Tajikistan, Sengupta got apoplectic. "The situation in Central Asia is so complex it is difficult for anyone to keep track of events there," he defended, "In any case, what was the editor of the paper doing?"

Pat came the anchor's response, "Well, he was more ignorant than you!"

The last we heard of was a few ungentlemanly splutters from the said gent.

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