Priyanka Vadra played the part of the Vadra bahu to the hilt at the wedding reception of businessman and unofficial Congress spokesperson Tehseen Poonawalla with Monika Vadra, cousin of Robert Vadra. Priyanka looked after the guests, good-naturedly allowed relatives to take selfies with her and on behalf of her in-laws escorted her mother Sonia Gandhi to the car when she was departing. Monika and Tehseen’s roka ceremony was hosted by Priyanka and Robert.
Priyanka’s new-found closeness to the Vadras comes after years of the Gandhis generally keeping a distance from Robert’s family. The estrangement began after Robert issued a statement publicly disowning his late father Rajendra and brother Richard, accusing them of exploiting their relationship with the Gandhis.
BJP president Amit Shah has issued strict guidelines to party MPs that they should not accept donations on behalf of the party, either privately or publicly. He told the MPs that they are allotted sufficient funds by the government to run their own offices. In case they need more money for tea and samosas for their constituents, they should contact the party office, he said. In each state, only three MPs are to be authorised to collect money on behalf of the party. Recently Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi had to decline a contribution since she was not authorised to accept it.
In heart, not party
Controversial politician Amar Singh threw a wedding reception for the son of Shivpal Yadav, the younger brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav, at Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra Goel’s Delhi residence. Amar Singh has been waiting patiently for some two years now to be re-admitted to the Samajwadi Party. He was expelled six years back. Three powerful SP members who have opposed Singh’s return were missing at the reception, namely, Mulayam’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, Jaya Bachchan and Azam Khan. Someone asked Mulayam whether Amar Singh was back in the party, “Not in the SP, but in my heart,” was Mulayam’s cryptic response.
Sanjay Joshi, removed from his party post and the national executive some years back, is desperate to patch up with Narendra Modi, with whom he had a bitter falling-out. But the PM shows no sign of relenting. Despite his ouster from the party, Joshi stays at an MP’s bungalow in Delhi and continues to dabble in politics, even campaigning for the party in select constituencies. Last year, Joshi seemed to have reached some sort of a truce with Amit Shah and was entrusted with party work in Uttar Pradesh. But Shah backed off when Joshi appeared to be projecting himself with posters felicitating him on his birthday, April 6, appearing all over the capital. Joshi this year was hopeful of being asked to play a major role in the BJP’s UP Assembly campaign. But once again Delhi is flooded with birthday greetings posters. Joshi supporters claim the posters have been put up by his enemies, who do not want him to be rehabilitated.
Natwar Singh is writing a new book, “In Praise of Older Women”. Predictably, Indira Gandhi is one of the seven women in his list, but Gandhi’s two aunts Krishna Hutheesing and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit also figure. Others whom Singh has included are: Han Suyin, author of the famous love story Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, Singh’s mother-in-law, the Rajmata Mohinder Kaur of Patiala, Indian-born American writer and journalist, Santha Rama Rau, and yesteryear actress Nargis Dutt. Singh knew all the women intimately and corresponded regularly with them. The book will include extracts from the correspondence.
Over their heads
In his bid for innovative governance, PM Narendra Modi asked all bureaucrats to write to him directly about successful experiments in their respective spheres. However, when Modi mentioned in his Mann ki Baat chat two examples of successful schemes on toilets and beautification projects in Madhya Pradesh, the state government was taken aback since it had no clue about the projects. Both cases cited appeared to have been highly exaggerated. MP Chief Secretary Antony D’sa issued instructions that, in future, employees should route their proposals to the PM through the head of the bureaucracy so that these could be checked for accuracy. Several Central ministers and secretaries of respective ministries would also like to issue similar instructions so that they are kept in the loop when suggestions are forwarded to the PM. But they are too intimidated to do so. In the case of MP, the Chief Secretary had the backing of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.