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How to be a fixer

January 11, 2003 01:20 IST

Want to make something of yourself? Any good at networking?

In today's Delhi, if you dream big, you need to network -- and by networking we mean five-star bashes for the Page Three People.

The first time you try it, not many of the 100-strong PTP crowd here will turn up. But keep on trying and sooner than later you will have a full house, because if there is one thing the PTPs hate with all their heart, it is dining at home.

And once they begin coming, you have arrived. For, can senior babus and police officers then be far behind? And what's more natural for you, the host, but introduce, over scotch and kebabs, the babu to the PTP who has a ‘slight' problem with his department?

Initially, you should take great care not to scare the babus off. Start them small, with simple, honest requests. Over time, you can cultivate them well enough to climb most trees you point out.

But why are babus partial to PTP parties? Simple, they too aren't averse to free dinners. Besides, there is a percentage in knowing the movers and shakers -- for instance, when they want a transfer in or out a certain department.

What fixers do

Now that you know how to debut as a fixer, here's what you mustn't do as one.

Not long ago, the Enforcement Directorate harassed Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra Goel no end, on the basis of a frivolous complaint supposedly from two sitting MPs.

Ashok Aggarwal, then ED deputy director, took extraordinary interest in the case. Eventually, after a painstaking inquiry -- painstaking for Goel, that is -- the Zee boss was cleared.

Turned out the whole thing was a conspiracy hatched by one of Goel's ex-employees, who had turned into a B-grade fixer.

The employee had got hold of the MPs' letterheads, an easy enough task for any fixer worth his salt, and forged their signatures.

Anyway, the charges against Goel were dropped. As for Aggarwal, who was allegedly in cahoots with the fixer, he is now under suspension, awaiting trial for amassing wealth far beyond his known sources of income.

The fixer is still at large. And so are his PTP clingers-on, as he claims proximity to many ruling politician.

The believer among Marxists

Marxists are godless. At least, according to Karl Marx and the rest.  

Why then was Bharati Roy, a former Communist Party of India-Marxist member of the Rajya Sabha, making a spectacle of herself in Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani's office, insisting on sharing with him the prasad from the Jagannath temple in Puri?

Advani was in an important meeting when Roy burst into his room. To be fair to her, she gave the prasad to other visitors waiting for their turn to see Advani. 

Wonder what the Marxists, particularly Roy's mentor Jyoti Basu, make of her double sin. Not only did she pay public obeisance to god, she chose Advani, whose hard Hindutva politics is an anathema to the red brigade, to do it with.

Attend to me... NOW

The other day in New Delhi, a member of Parliament walked into a dentist's room in a government hospital.

Attend to me now, the MP said.

I am sorry, said the dentist, but this gentleman here in my chair is under anesthesia. Perhaps if you could wait a while?

The neta couldn't. He threw a royal fit and stomped out, promising dire consequences.

Sure enough, a few days later the dentist received a long memo from his superiors, asking him to explain his 'conduct'.

The doctor stood his ground. The MP's complaint is still doing the rounds in the health ministry.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

Virendra Kapoor