May 24, 2009 2:04:13 am
Doon School will have a larger representation in the 15th Lok Sabha than ever before. There are at least eight alumni of the exclusive public school which calls itself the Eton of India. The winners include Kalikesh Singh Deo (BJD) from Orissa,RPN Singh (Cong) from UP,Rahul Gandhi (Cong) from UP,Kamal Nath (Cong) from Madhya Pradesh,Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong) from MP,Jitin Prasada (Cong) from UP,Udayan Raje Bhosale (NCP)from Maharashtra and Dushyant Singh (BJP) from Rajasthan. The clout of the school is even more impressive when you consider that a number of the winners are bound to be made ministers. The Doon losers are: Akbar Ahmed,Mani Shankar Aiyer and Raninder Singh. The unusual number of parliamentarians who hail from just one school was first noticed back in the Eighties. School chums of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi,like Kamal Nath,Arun Singh and Akbar Ahmed were encouraged to enter politics along with the Gandhis. Incidentally,Rahul Gandhi and Udayan Raje Bhosale attended Doon at some point,but did not graduate from the school.
Bloomer of blooms
RLD President Ajit Singhs house has been inundated with flowers after the Lok Sabha elections. A scribe noticed Rahul Gandhis name on one bouquet and assumed that the Amethi victor had also sent Ajit greetings because he wanted his party to join the UPA. Another journalist put him wise,pointing out that Gandhis address12 Tughlaq Lane and Ajits address12 Tughlaq Roadare remarkably similar.
At their Thiruvanthapuram election rallies,the Communists used to joke that the outsider Shashi Tharoor certainly had some mysterious and powerful backer. After all,neither the local unit nor the state Congress committee was consulted on his nomination. Tharoor was selected even though he had lampooned the Congress and the Gandhis in one of his books. Now a furious CPI,which lost what they assumed was a sure shot seat by some 100,000 votes,alleges that CPI (M) cadres did not work for their candidate,P Ramachandran Nair. CPI cadres say that Tharoor has influence not only in the Congress but also in the CPI(M). He is,after all,a friend of both Prakash and Brinda Karat.
Old neighbours patch up
Is a long-standing feud between two of the countrys most powerful families finally ending? Priyanka Gandhi first extended the olive branch by explaining in an interview that she owed her excellent command of the Hindi language to Amitabhs mother Teji Bachchan,who taught her to read poetry and Prem Chands Godan. Big B responded with equal warmth. He acknowledged that the Bachchans and the Gandhis were once neighbours and Priyanka spent a lot of time with his mother and Teji left a deep impression on her. The thaw in relationship is despite the coolness between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party,which has not been asked to join the government.
Stars and swipes
Though she is not exactly a major box office draw,actress Mahima Chaudhary,who offered her services to the Congress for the campaign,was much in demand. Mahima is a Jat and was a hit among voters from her own community in UP,Rajasthan and Haryana. Similarly,Zeenat Aman was popular in Muslim pockets. Cutting cross party lines,Salman Khan campaigned for seven candidates including,Milind Deora,Praful Patel,Vinod Khanna and Kamal Nath. Five of the candidates won. All Bollywood actors scrupulously kept away from Patna,where two of their fraternity,Shatrughan Sinha and Shekhar Suman,were slugging it out. Only Hema Malini,a veteran BJP campaigner,broke the unofficial cordon and campaigned for her former co-star Sinha. Reports suggest that some of the smaller stars performed for money and not for any love for a political cause.
N Ram,editor of The Hindu,who is close to the CPI(M) and Prakash Karat,stuck his neck out on his prediction for Tamil Nadu.
On a television talk show,he insisted that the AIADMK alliance,which included the Left,would win at least 39 of the 40 seats in the state. That made Dayanidhi Maran,Chief Minister Karunanidhis nephew,see red and there was a public scrap of these two leading lights from Chennai. Interestingly,on the day of the results,the newspaper buried the news of the DMK victory on one of its inside pages.
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