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Gupshup from the Dilli Darbar

Last updated on: January 27, 2012 20:26 IST

Meri Awaz Suno...



Wanted: Hindi-speaking spokesman for the Congress; a former minister is all set with his 23rd book; polling staff feign fever to slink out of poll duties in the bitter cold; pilot-turned railway minister caught in a tug-of-war...

Political gushup from the Dilli Darbar.

The state assembly elections have gained momentum with the spotlight on Uttar Pradesh, but at New Delhi's 24, Akbar Road, confusion reigns supreme.

In spite of its battery of spokespersons, the Congress party seems short of a forceful Hindi orator.

Media boss Janardhan Dwivedi is proving a tad shy when his services are in demand.

Meanwhile, one spokesperson, the formidable Renuka Chowdhury has aggression, but is short on content. Abhishek Singhvi speaks Hindi, but his rashtra bhasha tone and tenor remains close to English.

And when Rashid Alvi speaks, it seems as if he were participating in a mushaira.

Lost in translation eh?

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Image: A Congress rally in Gorakhpur, UP to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi, MP.
Photographs: Pawan Kumar/Reuters


Tug-of-war at Rail Bhavan?

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Away from the public glare, tension is building at Rail Bhavan. Even as a genial Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi prepares to present his maiden Railway Budget, the signals from Kolkata are not good.

Trivedi is under pressure to resign from the Cabinet as part of the Trinamool Congress's ongoing tussle with the Congress. He is a loyal Trinamool soldier, but a sense of responsibility in the minister-turned-trained-pilot is keeping him focused on budgetary preparations.

The Congress in Bengal plans to make Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's power tariff hike an issue to counter her opposition to the UPA's petroleum prices rise, but at Rail Bhavan, such a confrontationist approach is being monitored closely.

What's cooking between Writer's Building -- where Mamatadidi reigns supreme -- and Rail Bhavan in New Delhi will be known shortly!

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Image: Porters transport a passenger and her luggage in Kolkata
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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No personal views, please

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The hief Justice of India, Justice S H Kapadia, has built a formidable reputation not only as a probity-conscious upright judge, but by enhancing the Supreme Court's prestige even further in the public perception.

His recent criticism of former Chief Justices providing legal opinion has gone down very well with the lawyers' community, but it has left many of his predecessors red-faced.

The Chief Justice, whose terms ends in September, avoids interviews, pointing that as the CJI he cannot have 'personal views.'

Are our judges listening?

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Image: Television cameras outside the Supreme Court of India
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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After Jinnah, what?

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BJP leaders are curious about Jaswant Singh's new book that deals with India's security concerns.

This is the former Majorsaab's 23rd book.

The last time he released a book -- Jinnah-- Jaswant Singh, who has never been a favourite with the L K Advani faction, given his proximity to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was briefely booted out of the BJP.

Fortunately better sense prevailed, and the man who represents Darjeeling in the House of the People, is back in the party.

BJP netas wonder if Jaswant Singh, who served as defence, finance and external affairs ministers in the Vajpayee Cabinet, will pan the then home minister's handling of internal security.

That minister being a certain L K Advani.

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Image: Former Union minister Jaswant Singh
Photographs: Desmond Boylan/Reuters

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Poll 'fever'

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The Election Commission is trying hard to mobilise the election machinery in election-bound states.

The Union government too is struggling to provide officers for poll-related duties.

Officials hailing from southern and western India are said to be reluctant on account of the biting cold in Uttrakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

When the Central Board of Direct Taxes asked its officials to pack their bags for poll duty, many cited 'seasonal fever' as an excuse.

Another round of communication has been dispatched, but the 'fever' continues.

Perhaps the CBDT should summon some doctors to find a cure for this 'poll' fever.

Image: A polling officer checks EVMs in Allahabad
Photographs: Reuters

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