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Capital Buzz/ Virendra Kapoor

Play for Parliament

In the other world, Uncle Shakuni had just retired for the night when the producer came knocking.

"Ho, ho," said Shakuni, a bit irritated (was this the way to treat a man who single-handedly saved Mahabharata from being another run-of-the-mill drama?), "Who goes there? What's your business?"

"Open up, uncle," came a hushed whisper from without, "It's me, Congressman."

Shakuni knew the Congressman fairly well. He was a new addition to his world -- a kurta-clad kindly soul who had come in just the other week.

"What do you want," he grumbled, as he gathered his lungi around him and proceeded to the door, "Waking a man up in the middle of the night for no reason!"

"Don't be angry, Uncle," said the Congressman, "I have come with good news -- we want you to do a script for us!"

Shakuni thought that over. And liked the idea. After Mahabharata, and the subsequent banishment to this world, he hadn't done any plays. Ah, here was the chance he had been waiting for! But it wouldn't do to show his eagerness to this whippersnapper, no. He decided to play it cool.

"Script? Don't bother me about scripts now," he said, "I have got more work than I can handle."

"No, no," insisted the Congressman, "This is a script like none other. Only a master-scriptwriter like you can do it! That's why I came over personally with the offer."

The master scratched his head, thought again. "Okay," he consented finally, "Tell me about it."

"Have you been watching the TV, uncle?"

"Yes. Great entertainment they telecast from the other world. Especially today, from Uttar Pradesh."

"Oh, so you know about the play running there?" the Congressmen seemed relieved, "How did you like it?"

"Well, professionally speaking, it wasn't very good. Lousy screenplay -- the dialogues were fifth grade! That lady -- what'shername, Mayawati? -- should never have been cast. And that hero Kalyan Singh is the worst looking chap I have ever seen! Heroes, you know, should be charismatic. Like Ram in our Mahabharata. Now Ram--"

"Never mind all that, uncle," interrupted the producer, "So you think you can better that play?'"

"Yes, yes, no problem there," the scriptwriter said, "As I said, that play stank. And the action! Ram, Ram, who directed it? You know, they should get some good stunt directors like we did for Mahabharata..."

"Don't worry, we will get one," the Congressman assured, "But what we want is a good screenplay along the same lines. You see, there's going to be a big mela in New Delhi starting mid-November. The venue is 24, Akbar Road and Parliament. And we want to stage the play then."

"Oh, plenty of time," said Shakuni, "Give me two days and you will have your play."

"Thank you, uncle. I knew I could count on you," the producer said gratefully, "But the play should have no loopholes. You see, there is another scriptwriter working on a similar play to stage for the mela. His name is Sitaram Kesri. Now our play -- we will call it The Great Congress Drama -- must be better than his. We must, must beat him!"

"Young man," said Shakuni, laying a paternal hand on the worried Congressman's shoulders and leading him to the door, "Have faith in me. Come back in two days time and you will have your play."

As soon as the Congressman left, Shakuni settled himself down with a large pot of black coffee and got down to the serious business of scratching his head. And thus motivated, he started writing...

"Superb," the Congressman couldn't help exclaiming when he read the outcome, "Kesri won't be able to beat this! I will fax it to the director!"

The play was promptly faxed down to a top political-director in Delhi who, immediately, started rehearsals. And though it is all being done under top-top secrecy, Rediff On The NeT did manage to sneak in a reporter...

Sitaram Kesri, the despot of a kingdom called Congress, is cruel and malevolent. His countrymen hate him, but don't have the guts to fight him. The hate sires rebels who first overtly go against him and gets their legs knocked off from under. Later, however, they learn the ropes and go about their operations covertly.

This is the heart of the play. The rebels are now pretty strong, their strength has gone up to 35. But still, they are not ready for an open fight. In a little while, they hope, their strength will grow to 45. But their main woe is that though they have three middle-order leaders (Sharad Pawar, Najma Heptullah and Purno Sangma) they don't have a real leader...

Meanwhile, the rebel force is roping in people left, right and centre. H D Deve Gowda, the former king of United Fraud, has promised them support. He and his 20-strong army will do this in exchange of a small gift -- namely, the kingdom of Karnataka. In addition, he has made his protege Inder Kumar Gujral, the present UF king, promise to help the rebels.

But the whole plot could come unstuck, if neighbouring powers -- the Telugu Desam and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam -- pitch in with Kesri. Will they?

The final act. The rebels, with 'external' help attack the despot in his palace. The war spills over to Parliament.

Meanwhile, a sub-plot is being hatched by Bharatiya Janata Party, another political clan. They want their leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the next king. For this they...

Sorry folks, this is where we draw the line. November is already here, so please see the climax of the Great Congress Drama on stage!

Waaah, mama!

What do Congressmen do when they get into trouble?

Why, they run crying to 10, Janpath! To mama Sonia Gandhi who is only too glad to take on their woes.

The latest to go seeking Sonia's solace was Congress vice-president Jitendra Prasada.When his followers ditched the party in UP to help Kalyan Singh, he went crying to mama.

"T-t-they d-d-ditched u-us," Prasada wept, "Oh, what will we do?"

"There, there, baby," came the soothing voice, "Don't cry, don't cry... did you have anything to do with it?"

"No, no, madameji (that's what all Congressmen call her)," sniffled Prasada, "I told them not to go, but they went. I couldn't stop them. And now, Chacha is planning to beat me saying I in-in-instigaged them!"

"Don't cry, baby, don't cry," came the soothing voice again, "I will tell Chacha it wasn't you. He won't beat you, I promise. Now go home like a good boy..."

Egg on BJP's face

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, sources say, are on a shopping spree. They are looking for masks to cover their faces -- the bigger, the better!

"Why?" we asked a middle-order leader.

"Because that man (Kalyan Singh) in UP has gone and inducted every known and unknown goon into his ministry!" he said, "It will take us a lot to live it down."

The anti-Vajpayee faction in the party blames him for the sorry turn of events after the BJP's deal with Congress rebel leader Naresh Aggarwal. (The deal was vetted in Vajpayee's presence.)

The Vajpayee camp, for its part, says it was president L K Advani's attempts to tame Kalyan Singh that led to all the trouble.

"Kalyan was known to be opposed to the BSP alliance," they say, "And the moment he got his chance to undo it he did."

Snooping on Khurana

Recently, a very well-off lottery dealer in the capital had a huge bill to foot. The payment was to a private detective agency for shadowing -- hold your breath -- Madan Lal Khurana!

To be fair to the said dealer, he did not have anything to do with the deed. The real culprit was -- who else? -- Khurana's 'bosom pal', Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma.

And his target? Well, dig up whatever dirt that's forthcoming on Khurana...

Unfortunately for Verma, his extracurricular activity came to Delhi BJP leader Kedar Nath Sahni's notice. He immediately dashed off an angry letter to Vajpayee and Advani protesting the 'despicable deed'.

Other senior BJP leaders were equally incensed, but Advani, for reasons beyond anyone's comprehension, has chosen to shield Verma..!

Oh, well, who can read a politician's mind?

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