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Dilli Gupshup: Has Modi underestimated Dr Singh?

Last updated on: April 16, 2013 13:08 IST

Has Modi underestimated Dr Singh?

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Is Chiranjeevi the tourism ministry's secret weapon?

Why is Vijay Mallya upset with Veerappa Moily?

What in-house problem is the railway minister grappling with?

All this, and more, in this week's Dilli Gupshup...

Anyone picking up a newspaper, or looking at a news site, in the last few months would not have missed the fact that Narendra Modi has virtually declared his prime ministerial ambitions.

With the Gujarat chief minister's popularity on the ascent, the Bharatiya Janata Party does not seem to have much choice in the matter.

Among its allies, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already thrown down the gauntlet, saying he would not support the BJP if Modi were to helm the government.

If that wasn't enough – remember, there are many in the BJP who are not happy with Modi's ascent -- the opposition the Gujarat chief minister is facing is only going to increase.

The BJP may want to project the 2014 general election as a Modi versus Rahul Gandhi battle, but the Congress has other ideas.

If Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's plans work, Modi may soon discover that Rahul Gandhi is not the only person he has to worry about. The 2014 election may turn into a Modi versus Singh contest.

The prime minister is busy working out a strategy that will come into play three months before the Lok Sabha polls. Singh wants to puncture the Gujarat chief minister's development plank.

Buzz at 15, Gurudwara Rakab Gunj Road, where the Congress's war room is located, is that the initiative to take Modi on has come from the good doctor himself.

Sources say he believes he owes this to the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family!

Please click on NEXT to find out about the tourism ministry's secret weapon...



Image: Will Modi's prime ministerial ambitions be derailed?
Photographs: Amit Dave/ Reuters

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Now, Chiranjeevi replaces Aamir Khan

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It pays to have a superstar for a minister!

Take the Union tourism ministry, for example.

The success of their Incredible India! campaign was at stake after Aamir Khan made it clear he would be unable to renew his contract with the ministry.

Khan, who has been a hugely successful brand ambassador for the campaign, had not charged the ministry for his work.

With Khan's contract due to end soon, the ministry clearly needed an equally popular replacement.

Even as they were discussing options, someone realised they didn't have to look too far... Union Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi was, after all, a superstar in his own right!

No wonder then, Chiranjeevi is all set to replace the Khan.

Please click on NEXT to find out why Vijay Mallya is upset with Veerappa Moily...



Image: Chiranjeevi is now minister-cum-brand ambassador.
Photographs: Snaps India

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When 'good times' turn bad...

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Poor, poor Vijay Mallya.

The beleaguered tycoon is now wondering -- though, considering the circumstances, he really shouldn't -- why the United Progressive Alliance ministers have started ignoring him.

Here's the latest in his saga of woes...

The liquor baron and IPL franchise owner, who was on his way for a meeting at the petroleum ministry in Shastri Bhavan, was a few minutes late. That was all it took for him to miss his appointment with Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily.

Though the ministry babus were sympathetic, they pointed to the clock and referred to the minister's 'back-to-back' appointments, prior commitments, important engagements, etc, leaving Mallya most disappointed.

Has the king of good times forgotten that sad adage -- success has many friends but failure walks alone?

What in-house problem is the railway minister grappling with? Please click on NEXT to find out...



Image: Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily has no time for Vijay Mallya.
Photographs: Dijeshwar Singh/ Saab Pictures (Vijay Mallya); Courtesy Veerappa Moily's website (Veerappa Moily)

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Railway minister battles his own board

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Pawan Bansal may look unassuming, but the lawyer in him has clearly honed his powers of observation.

After heading the railway ministry for six months, the Union minister explains how the Railway Board lords over everything.

Their modus operandi is simple.

Whenever the railway minister suggests a new project, the board members nod vigorously in agreement.

Then, they raise queries and objections in a manner that ensures the projects either get delayed or are put on the backburner.

In other words, the Railway Board members ensure that only their wishes are honoured.

Last heard, the minister was working at breaking this particular barrier.

Is the CBI sidelining the Bofors case? Please click on NEXT to find out...



Image: Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is stymied by the Railway Board.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/ Reuters

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How the CBI ignored the Bofors case...

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The Central Bureau of Investigation's golden jubilee celebrations were impressive, even though the 'In Pursuit Of Truth' catch-line saw many smile discreetly.

As part of the celebrations, the CBI issued a booklet listing the 10 most important cases it has handled.

What raised eyebrows was a rather notable exception.

The investigation into the infamous Bofors case – which lasted 10 years and cost the exchequer crores of rupees before the CBI could name the kickbacks recipients – found no place in the booklet.

Which begs the question: Does the CBI consider the Bofors case a blot or failure?



Image: The controversial Bofors gun.
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/ Reuters

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