Inside Track: Wrong number

An amused Sitharaman, who later heard about the mix-up, asked Goyal and Pradhan why they had not got back to her. “Because we would have looked like three idiots,’’ was their response.

Written by Coomi Kapoor | Published:June 18, 2017 2:23 am
presidential election, Amit Shah, UP Assembly elections, Congress, Prashant Kishor, arun jaitley, mahesh sharma, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman, indian express columns Jaitley was taken aback since he had seen the MoS for Commerce just a day earlier and she seemed perfectly fit.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was at an international conference in Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan when Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma’s daughter came up to him and said in a very concerned voice that Nirmala was serious and in ICU in her father’s Kailash Hospital in Noida. Jaitley was taken aback since he had seen the MoS for Commerce just a day earlier and she seemed perfectly fit.

Jaitley and his ministerial colleagues Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan immediately headed for the hospital. They reached the Delhi border when Jaitley got a call from his residence saying that someone was waiting to meet him. The minister explained that he was rushing to the hospital to meet Nirmala. His wife Sangita was quick to realise the misunderstanding. The Nirmala in hospital was one of Sangita’s domestic helps who had taken ill, not Nirmala Sitharaman. An amused Sitharaman, who later heard about the mix-up, asked Goyal and Pradhan why they had not got back to her. “Because we would have looked like three idiots,’’ was their response.

Nervous Shah?

So concerned is Amit Shah about the presidential election that the party’s July 15 national executive in Visakhapatnam has been postponed. Shah is leaving nothing to chance. He has transformed three rooms at the BJP national headquarters into a war room, equipped with sophisticated communication systems so that the staff can interact with state BJP offices, allies and the media. Though the name of the candidate is being kept a closely-guarded secret, the fact that Shah has set up a three-member committee of Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley to try and reach a consensus with the Opposition suggests that for some reason, Shah is unsure. Technically, the government has the required numbers, but perhaps the BJP president fears cross-voting by disgruntled elements from within the BJP’s ranks, if the candidate does not inspire confidence.

New Client

After its dismal UP Assembly performance, the Congress has dumped poll strategist Prashant Kishor, though he protested that the ungrateful party forgets the Congress did win in Punjab and got more seats than the BJP in Goa. But it looks like Kishor has found a new party to advise and one with deep pockets. Jagan Reddy of YSR Congress is talking to Kishor and so he is looking for Telugu speaking recruits for his team.

Lonely Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan feels the Centre is deliberately putting him down. Chouhan went on a fast to bring about a settlement with some 60 lakh agitating farmers, but when he called off his fast after 28 hours, there was no minister from Delhi to demonstrate solidarity. Unlike UP and Maharashtra, Chouhan was not given a clearance from the Centre to declare a farm loan waiver. In fact, the Centre is furious with Chouhan for announcing a steep Rs 1 crore compensation for the families of each of the victims killed in police firing, as it would set a precedent.

Starting glitches

The PMO, which has been getting feedback from markets, farmers and the IB, is apprehensive that when the GST is implemented from July 1, there could be an initial backlash, like with demonetisation. Revenue Secretary Hashmukh Adhiya, a Gujarat cadre IAS officer who is close to Narendra Modi, has visited several state capitals. He has cautioned the PM that there could be a negative reaction initially. To counter expected criticism, Modi has asked his ministers to explain the government position to the media and visit state capitals. From June 30 to July 5, ministers will be stationed at select district headquarters to explain the salient features of GST.


OPS Panneerselvam’s challenge to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami is slowly evaporating. The latest defector from his camp is M Pandiarajan, an MLA and former minister in Jayalalithaa’s Cabinet. Pandiarajan is planning to join actor Rajnikanth when he formally announces his political party. The joke in the AIADMK is that he will not be missed since it invariably meant a kiss of death. Initially, he was with G K Moopanar, who passed away shortly afterwards. Then he sided with actor Vijayakanth, whose political career failed to take off. Later, he joined Jayalalithaa, who died tragically. After Jayalalithaa’s death, he sided with Panneerselvam whose political clout is fast waning. The joke in AIADMK circles is that when Pandiarajan recently garlanded the effigy of an elephant in a temple, even the elephant collapsed.

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  1. E
    Employ Ment
    Jun 18, 2017 at 8:46 pm
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    1. S
      Seshubabu Kilambi
      Jun 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm
      Wrong numbrs ae managing wrong ideas and in wrong situations
      1. O
        Onkar Singh
        Jun 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm
        You are right: three s.But the names are not as you have suggested,they are Modi,Amit Shah and Jaitley!!!!!!!!!!
        1. K
          Kiran Prakash Gupta
          Jun 18, 2017 at 10:27 am
          Cooper's article is full of jokes and shows his frustration.
          1. K
            Jun 18, 2017 at 6:20 pm
            Your comments are very funny.Are you a professional joker?
          2. S
            Jun 18, 2017 at 7:55 am
            The nirmalaa episode sums up the way central govt is run. Impulsive decisions. Notebandhi ,bullet train,cattle ban hmm to name a few. The impression we get is most of the ministers simply sign the files without reading the contents as they don't have working knowledge of English.god help us from these tyrants.
            1. R
              Jun 18, 2017 at 11:16 am
              So, you are missing the dynasty...any nicom who is accidentally born into this family where power is handed over from generation to generation, has the divine right to lord over India??? Decisions made in kitchen, proxy rule by putting a remote-controlled doll as PM, endless loot...are these the things you miss the most?
              1. K
                Jun 18, 2017 at 6:16 pm
                Very good observations.You are great.Talking of accidental birth well Modi is hindu because accidentally he was born in a Hindu family. Modi is Indian because accidentally he was born in India.SONIA IS INDIAN BY CHOICE NOT BY ACCIDENT {as per your theory} Well earlier the decisions were taken in kitchen NOW decisions are being taken in TOILET. You are really a very good observer.
                1. S
                  Jun 18, 2017 at 6:18 pm
                  Yes we are missing the Dynasty who did not interfere in most Policy decisions as there were experts who would understand better. Modiji and Amit Shah are the absolute know-alls. Under the Dynasty, there was more concern about the common man nad collateral sacrifices were virtually absent. Under the dynasty, there was RTI and the media was more or less independent and they were not targeted through ED and CBI raids, and I don't just mean NDTV but even those like Arnab's Times Now despite him carrying out unverified investigative reports on Tharoor (during UPA), or Rahul of NewsX tweeting unverified and false reports which ultimately turned out to be false. There was less suffering of the common man despite adverse International economic conditions and high commodity prices. At least the common man was not asked to make sacrifices for the big Industrialist because demonetisation and false inflation figures are an excuse for lowering interest rates which hurt the common man the most.
                2. V
                  Venkatraman Shenoy
                  Jun 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm
                  During UPA rule too, ministers never used to read their files. They were sent to Sonia Gandhi, who asked her minions and hangers on from her kitchen cabinet, NAC, to read them and comment on them. Only then ministers used to sign under comments written by Sonia's kitchen cabinet.
                  1. S
                    Jun 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm
                    These ministers under UPA can be prosecuted for violating their oath of office by sharing confidential papers with people not supposed to be privy to the same. Instead of taking up this aspect to target Soniaji why has the BJP taken up only the National Herald case? If this is only an allegation, it can also be alleged that such information is shared with ideological gurus of the Party. Stop peddling allegations and do some real work to prove your allegations.
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