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Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Jeez, the guy must be rollin' rich!

Got to grant it to 'em, man, just got to! Them people at 3, Race Course Road -- you know, that man with the fancy beard, the one who's called I K Gujral or some? -- he an' his lady 'as got taste, man, real taste!

Just 'appened to be in the vicinity of their house, I did today, just 'appened to peep in -- and Jeez, were they redoin' the bloomin' house! New carpets, 'ew paint, everything 'ew, 'ew, 'ew! And all classy stuff, man, classy, 'ostly stuff!

The walls, they 'ere bein' painted a pastel blue, and 'em carpets -- plush, soft carpet -- they were bein' unrolled... And, man, they've also ordered new 'urniture, all 'esigner stuff... and even 'ew garden chairs!

Well, man, I get this cravin' to find out how much all this is gonna cost. So what do I do but nip around to the front and ask?

"Hey, captai'," I say to the first man I meet, "Got a house like this, I have 'ack home. And I want it to be done up the same way. Care to 'ell me how much all this costs?"

He 'ives me a col' stare and says, "Push off, pal, this is more than you can afford. So why bother?"

"But 'ell me, no?" I persist.

"Got Rs 2.5 million on you?" he asks,"This is not for you and I, pal, so move on..."

So I 'ad to push off. But, man, don't I wish I 'ad that kinda money! That Gujral-fello' must be rolling rich!

Fruste Gowda

Ensconced in one of New Delhi's many bungalow's is a frustrated not-so-old man.

Not so long ago, the man had graced -- hmm, is that the right word? -- the prime ministerial gaddi... but now, he spends time sleeping, granting interviews to the press and, consequently, ramming his foot deeep down his throat.

Of course, this one is about H D Deve Gowda. And a recent interview he 'granted' a few Tamil journalists.

At the drop of the first question, Deve Gowda started his usual rant and rave about United Front leaders. Tamil Maanila Congress president G K Moopanar, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M Karunanidhi and Assom Gana Parishad chieftain P K Mahanta, according to him, were all, er, well, incompetent. There were quotes galore to substantiate this view, which was splattered the next day all over the papers.

Naturally, the regional chieftains were not amused. They took up the matter with the big bosses. And Moopanar, for his part, faxed a four-line message to Deve Gowda asking if he had indeed uttered the remarks.

Deve Gowda was prompt in his response. "I have never spoken like that," he said, "The interview is a twisted version..."

Oh, really?

Second honeymoon

Some are good at it, some aren't. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, though age is fast catching up with him, belongs to the lucky few who can still manage to do it...

The 'it' is wooing the media -- not what you thought we were thinking!

Over a decade ago, in his earlier avatar as the CM, Dr Abdullah had mastered the art of getting good press. The national press had sung paeans of praise for his able stewardship in thwarting internal and external threats -- till the day the state came to the brink of being run over by militants.

Now once more in power, the CM is wooing journalists with warm hospitality. And visiting journalists, not very keen to risk a solo foray into the interior of the valley, are more than willing to accept what he and his trusted officials dish out over sumptuous meals in state guest houses.

Which is why there are plenty good things about a 'peaceful' Kashmir...

Masterly inactivity

Lord Curzon, we are sure, would have been proud of Union Communication Minister Beni Prasad Verma.

Reason, Verma has taken to the masterly inactivity with relish.

Thus, the decision-making in his ministry has come to a complete standstill. And vital proposals are hanging fire.

But why this sudden love for Curzon? We pry into the affair discreetly and come with the answer...

Apparently, it all revolves round a proposal to set up an international transit hub of communications network in collaboration with British Telecom. The VSNL-British Telecom venture, which envisages an investment of Rs 30 billion, has been approved by the Telecom Commission. But, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh (who, incidentally is the capital's most powerful string-puller), for reasons his own, is totally opposed to British Telecom. And Verma, also for reasons his own, just loves the foreign company...

"As he is not in a position to take on Singh," sources continue, "what better thing is there than the masterly inactivity?"

Capital Buzz

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