Stealing bosss thunder
The first rule in the government is to never overshadow your boss. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik got an earful from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at Maldives for briefing the media even as Gilani and Manmohan Singh were talking privately on opening a new chapter in Indo-Pak relations. Maliks remark that terrorists such as Ajmal Kasab should be sent to the gallows quite stole the headlines from the bilateral talks between the two prime ministers. Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai clearly did not learn a lesson from Maliks example. At the request of the domestic media,he agreed to brief journalists,ironically,just outside the window where the two prime ministers had resumed their talks. Mathai too got pulled up.
Sticky security net
Is Mamata Banerjee aware that there is a ban at the Kolkata airport on taking out Bengals most famous export? At the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport last week,two women journalists were stopped by the security for carrying rasgullas. The airport cops claimed it was against regulations to carry rasgullas. One woman tried to argue that it was permissible to carry 100 ml of liquid in a passengers hand luggage and the syrup in the rosgulla was much less than the permissible limit. When none of the policemen on duty could provide a satisfactory explanation as to why rasgullas are dangerous,she marched to their bosss office for an answer. It turned out that the ban on rosgullas has nothing to do with safety regulations. It is the airlines which have requested the police not to permit rosgullas on board. It seems that the fragile containers break frequently in transport and the sticky syrup spills,making it hard to clean the upholstery.
Vying for his prison memoirs
Three major Tamil publications are vying for the rights to publish former telecom minister A Rajas diary of his days in Tihar,once he gets out of prison. In Tamil Nadu,it is quite common to publish prison diaries. M Karunanidhi and Vaiko are among the many politicians who wrote accounts of their experience in jail. Raja refuses to confirm or deny reports that he is penning his memoir,Thrills in Tihar but he has been noticed scribbling frequently in jail and even in the courtroom.
L K Advani found it hard to control his emotions on his 85th birthday last week and tears frequently rolled down his cheeks when he listened to the praises showered on him by party colleagues. The icing on the cake was Rajnath Singh,who did not share the best of relations with Advani when he was party president,claiming that Advani was not a mere contender for the PMs post,he was the natural choice. Singhs remark,which has set the cat among the pigeons,seemed motivated more by the need to scuttle the chances of other potential prime ministerial aspirants than genuine conviction about Advanis suitability. Significantly,none of the other speakers at the birthday party,Arun Jaitley,Sushma Swaraj,Raman Singh,Arjun Munda and Shivraj Singh Chouhan,though effusive in their praise of the BJP octogenarian,seconded Singhs suggestion.
Advanis yatra ends this month and the master of ceremonies,Ananth Kumar,who has rubbed many local units up the wrong way during the yatra,may have to pay a price for his high-handedness. For instance,in Ranchi,Arjun Munda was not permitted to speak because of time shortage and Ravi Shankar Prasad could not address the crowds in his hometown,Patna. Kumar,himself managed to assume a prominent role throughout the journey.
When Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was appointed to the post,his detractors in the state grumbled that Gehlot,who belongs to the magician community,has used some potent magic by which his potential rivals had lost their assembly seats. Gehlot now needs all the magic at his command to stay on in power since the party high command is breathing down his neck. Gehlot has visited Delhi almost a dozen times in the last month. In view of the two major scandals in the state,Gehlot has been asked to rectify his governments image before the month-end. After a recent visit to Delhi, Gehlot rushed to Jodhpur to call on an astrologer,who doubles as a tantrik,for advice on how to sort out his problems. In Jaipur,the CM has another astrologer as a standby.