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Keeping tabs on the political grapevine

The prime minister’s media adviser Harish Khare’s management of the PM’s press conference last week has earned him more foes than friends.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2011 21:37 IST

Sound advice needed

The prime minister’s media adviser Harish Khare’s management of the PM’s press conference last week has earned him more foes than friends. Khare did not invite information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni and principal information officer Neelam Kapoor for the PM’s interaction, citing “lack of space” in the room. After an interaction in September 2010 with print editors, Khare had advised a senior bureaucrat in the external affairs ministry to “understand the PM’s thinking” — leading to some consternation among top diplomats, who found it less than friendly.

His to do and die

Union minister for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh, too, has his share of detractors. He is aware of it, given all the controversies he courts. He has not lost his sense of humour though. Watching a presentation on a ‘green crematorium system’ that will reduce cutting down of trees for the purpose, Ramesh said, “There are many who would want me to be the first person there.” The way he is going, perhaps his enemies have more to fear.

Quite in the red

LK Advani’s expression of regret to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has left many in his party red-faced. Senior leaders including BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are upset that Advani didn’t discuss a document that named her as a foreign bank holder in party fora before releasing it at a NDA platform. “When we have released anti-corruption papers by our own people, why outsource these things and get into trouble?” Gadkari was overheard telling another leader. The blame’s fallen on S Gurumurthy, the Chennai-based chartered accountant who prepared the paper. But he is also mad at Advani for disowning his work so fast.

Not game for it

The National Games at Ranchi is turning out to be tricky affair for ministers in the central government. No one wants to get his photograph taken with embattled Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi. Except, local MP Subodh Kant Sahay, no central minister has even visited the site of the games. Even, sports minister Ajay Maken decided to stay away. The ice was broken when chief minister Arjun Munda assured Maken that he would be there with him at the venue.

Reel life becomes him

Superstar Rajinikanth is still wary of Tamil Nadu politics. Though his cry against corruption helped the DMK unseat the AIADMK in 1996, he does not want to follow MGR or Jayalalithaa’s footsteps. At the NDTV Indian of the Year Awards function, where home minister P Chidambaram said that Rajini could have entered politics [in 1996] and he could still sweep the elections, the superstar brushed aside the question with a terse “no comment”. Is it because the DMK is in the dock now?

Left speechless, really

Mamataa Banerjee’s bad luck doesn’t seem to be leaving her. When she presented the Rail budget last year, Sachin Tendulkar stole some of her thunder by scoring the first ever double century in an ODI. This time, Didi will have to slug it out with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee — who will be presenting the economic survey on the same day she will read out her budget speech in Parliament.