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All atwitter

When two leading lights of the Twitterati take potshots at each other,sparks are bound to fly and the Tweet world goes atwitter

All atwitter

When two leading lights of the Twitterati take potshots at each other,sparks are bound to fly and the Tweet world goes atwitter. It began with Lalit Modi taking digs at Arun Jaitley,against whom he holds a grudge since he believes Jaitley played a role in his ouster from the IPL. In response to one of Modi’s comments,someone posted that it was because of Jaitley that the Radia tapes were not discussed in Parliament and Barkha Dutt was saved from embarrassment. Modi promptly posted the tweet to Dutt,and the journalist entered the fray. Threatened with legal action,the man who tweeted the comment about the Radia tapes retracted and according to the Twitter buzz,even closed his Twitter account. Dutt asked Modi to retract since the man who actually made the charge had backtracked. But Modi is not one to back down. Instead,he raised a long-standing grievance against Dutt for “negative coverage” of the IPL when he was in charge. The slanging match was fast and furious. Dutt wondered how a man on the run who was not willing to face a probe in India could lecture her on ethics. Modi threatened legal action in retaliation. “My lawyers in London have just written to you to address the issue on hand immediately.”

Innocents abroad

There were some embarrassing moments during the goodwill visit to Australia in February by a parliamentary delegation led by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla. For instance,a woman MP from the DMK was asked to give the vote of thanks at one of the dinners. The MP was effusive in praising Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar,the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry and the minister for having selected her for the trip. But she completely forgot to thank the host country and her parliamentary counterparts from the other side for the dinner. A JD(U) MP got into a heated argument with the hotel staff because they could not understand his request for a “balti (bucket)” and a “mugga (mug)” for his bath. The management was equally puzzled about his request for “nimbu (lemon)” with hot water and the riddle could not be resolved even after he kept describing it as a “sour fruit”. Finally,a fellow Indian was summoned to translate his instructions to the hotel manager.

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Confidential error

The Indian High Commission in Australia had prepared a backgrounder for all the MPs visiting the country as part of the delegation. One of the MPs did not realise that the information provided was confidential background material and in the middle of a conference,he started reading from the paper given to him by the Indian Embassy,much to the embarrassment of our diplomats. It was left to another MP to cut him short.

Not so attentive

In contrast to his mother Sonia Gandhi who was in her seat 20 minutes before the presentation of the Budget last Thursday,Rahul entered Parliament 10 minutes late. He looked bored and at one point,left the House while the Budget speech was being read out. Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini,son Karti,daughter-in-law Srinidhi and 12-year-old granddaughter Aditi were in the Distinguished Visitors’ gallery to watch Chidambaram read out his eighth Budget speech. The Finance Minister’s family had been instructed not to comment on the Budget to the media before the presentation,no matter what the provocation. Some years ago,Nalini Chidambaram,in response to a journalist’s query,had made a remark that had created a flutter in insurance circles. This year,the Intelligence Bureau took particular interest in ensuring the secrecy of the Budget and IB Director Asif Ibrahim personally made a trip to the government press where the Budget is printed.

Regrettable regret

The RSS is unhappy at the wording of Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s clarification on his remark that the RSS and BJP were running terrorist training camps. However,there is little the RSS can do since the wording of Shinde’s retraction was first cleared by BJP parliamentary leaders,including L K Advani. After the BJP threatened that it would not allow Shinde to speak in Parliament if he did not apologise,the Home Minister was anxious to make amends. Since Shinde is popular with MPs because of his polite behaviour—he pleaded with folded hands that he should not be humiliated in his old age—the BJP leadership agreed to let him off lightly and accepted a statement of regret rather than an abject apology. Parliamentary Affairs Minister

Kamal Nath’s remark that Shinde had not apologised for his remark was meant to rile the RSS-BJP.

First published on: 03-03-2013 at 03:01:32 am
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