Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor
Oh Chacha, my Chacha!
Eighty-whatever years old and not sat in the prime ministerial gaddi even once! Now, isn't that a roaring shame?
Of course, it is. Which is why Congress president Sitaram Kesri is desperate. And is ready (shhh, don't tell anyone) for the second round.
Informed Kesri men say Chacha is readying for his final fight, having found a fresh excuse in the United Front's recent public relations disaster (pay hike, Gujral's foot!).
"The coming winter session is going to be the last for Gujral government," cocky Chacha-ians claim.
"True, true," wizened old-timers nod, "It looks like another coup is on the way... Kesri's flailing health and all those court-probes against him are spurring him on."
"P Chidambaram won't present any more Budgets for the UF in a hurry now," gloat certain others.
So high has the Congress aspirations risen about Kesri's rise to power that when the Old Man paid President K R Narayanan a courtesy call last week, eager-beaver Congressmen ran around hailing the advent of the Chacha Era!
Chacha, for his part, is keeping a tight mouth about his plans. Or maybe, he isn't -- could it be that he is deliberately letting
his men do all these talking?
Clutching at saffron straws
Of late, senior Bharatiya Janata Party
leaders have been getting wake-up calls. From a kindly soul named Nadeem Akhtar who happens to be in London.
London climate, he informs these leaders, is excellent. Not too hot, not too bright -- just perfect. But still, he was not planning to stay there for long, not he! Being a patriotic Indian, he missed Bombay and Bombayites...
"B-b-but the Bombay police don't like me," he wails long distance, "They want to arrest me for M-m-murder..."
The first couple of times, the BJP leaders found the cries heart-rendering. Now, but, they are finding it ear-rendering; and so, refuse to entertain the music director anymore.
Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, however, is an exception. Recently in London, he listened to Nadeem at length -- and went ahead doing nothing.
The healthy minister
And now we discuss the lady. A media-savvy, okay-looking (though none-too-featherweight) Union Minister of State for Health Renuka Choudhary.
Ma'am Choudhary has gone and riled her state cousin, the grissly-bearded Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu. Royally.
And how has she managed it? Why, by playing the media-game (at which Naidu, incidentally, is zilch)!
Naidu, thus, is angry with our lady. "Doesn't she," he is said to growl to himself, "have anything better to do than get her name printed all over the papers?"
But the lady isn't bothered. "PR is the in-thing," she is alleged to growl in reply (to herself, naturally), "Naidu can go take a run..."
The latest in the lady's media-attraction ideas -- borrowed, of course! -- is the public durbar on Fridays. Wherein the minister, accompanied by bureaucrats, holds court for three hours to provide instant justice for grievances. (Gujral, too, if we remember, tries the same trick -- on the same day!)
Besides this, the minister insists on presenting her visitors, including
journalists and foreigners, a small pack containing
traditional Indian medicines.
"Take it," she urged a journo, who was looking the packet over doubtfully, "It's good for your health!"
Talk about pushing ayurvedic medicines... down the throat!
It pays to have the PM for an uncle
Amit Judge, I K Gujral's nephew, is now a proud India International
So what? What's the big deal?
Well, nothing really -- except that Judge doesn't have any of the requirements which the prime minister's favourite ex-watering hole calls for.
The IIC so far has been rather reluctant to admit even reputable (not that Judge isn't reputable -- besides being the son-in-law of the FERA-troubled Ashok Jain, what's the blot on him?)
businessmen and industrialists. Nor does it look approvingly at
anyone on this side of forty. Judge does not meet any of the
normal criterion for being an IIC member.
But that's all all right, if you have an uncle who is the PM.
Sneaky inquiries reveal that his name was proposed by Gujral
himself and seconded by journalist and recent Rajya Sabha-nominee Kuldip Nayar. With such powerful
backers, and Gujral's Principal Secretary
N N Vohra as IIC director,
there was no way the admissions committee could reject
Obviously, it pays to have the PM for an uncle.