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Indomitable Patwa

india Updated: Sep 03, 2006 14:17 IST

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COME SUMMER and Prakash Tarun Pushkar might see an octogenarian VIP making splashes on its waters. At 82, Sunderlal Patwa’s spirit is  indomitable, never mind the awkwardness in the gait. “The swimming pools in Bhopal don’t have water-heating facility like in Delhi’s Tal Katora Stadium”, he says, implying he would have loved to swim in Bhopal in any season but for the lack of the facility.

South’s veteran leader M Karunanidhi was said to have constructed a swimming pool in his bungalow in Delhi to avoid facing the hassles of  driving to the swimming pool outside. Will Patwa follow suit?

Although effect of the stroke in 2000 that paved his exit from the NDA Government is still visible on his frail health, Patwa is optimistic about regaining his past élan.  His yearning for the youthfulness may have caused consternations in certain quarters in the BJP. The old warhorse might be preparing to stake a claim for Vidisha Lok Sabha seat. Age is no bar
in politics. Remember Morarji Bhai?  

Wishing e-connectivity!
Seeing reporters coming drenched in his press conference, Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology Director General Dr Mahesh Sharma was a little apologetic on Friday. He regretted for their inconvenience in having to attend the meet amid heavy downpour. A little later, while talking about scientific advancements, the D-G mentioned that maybe in some years, e-connectivity would be so common that people could do business sitting in their homes, offices or market, wherever they are.
“Then, we might not have to ask you to come for a press conference in such a bad weather,” he quipped. Some journalists wished that such e-connectivity were reality available at least during this monsoon.

Rare unity
Such unity of purpose and single-minded pursuit was never seen in the Congress since it was dislodged from power in 2003 in the State. The brutal killing of Ujjain’s Prof H S Sabharwal has really charged the party.
The Congress put its best foot forward; Jamuna Devi and Subhash Yadav together visited the aggrieved family of Sabharwal at Ujjain. That boosted the party workers’ morale.  Then the BJP’s churlish response to the tragic affair further consolidated the Congress stance. Media coverage was also a tonic.

Then came the Chief Minister’s reaction that it was ‘an accident’. The Congress didn’t waste time in reacting to it in a manner expected of the main opposition party. Dharnas, demonstrations and submission of memorandum to the Governor followed. Jamuna Devi is looking truly combative and the BJP Government looking pathetically cornered. But the million-dollar question is: how long the rare Congress unity would last?

Dating blues
The BHEL had a grand plan for golden jubilee celebration on August 29 in anticipation of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s arrival. He didn’t come. The celebration, therefore, was a bit subdued. Of course greetings among staff were exchanged, sweets distributed, some danced and sang, but festivity befitting the occasion was inescapably missing.

Now the BHEL management is looking forward to the PM’s consent to celebrate the occasion, never mind the sanctity of the foundation date. What if the PM is not able to come again? Will celebration be deferred till the VVIP actually makes it to Bhopal?   

Watching weather 
The excessive rains in Bhopal have added a new feature in some administrative and police officers’ daily routine — watching Met Department’s website. The August 13/14 rains had caught the administration, like others, unawares. Some of devastation caused by rains could have been avoided.  No wonder that officials are on their toes at every fresh spell of rain. A senior police official admitted that he watches the website of the Indian Meteorological Department almost every day for forecast.
Contributed by Ranjan, Ashutosh Shukla, Sravani Sarkar, Manish Dixit, Shams Ur Rehman Alavi