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Off the record

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Shashi Tharoor's former boss, couldn't make it to Tharoor's wedding reception in Delhi on September 3. He was in Mumbai attending a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) meeting.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2010 21:59 IST

Commitments do us apart
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Shashi Tharoor's former boss, couldn't make it to Tharoor's wedding reception in Delhi on September 3. He was in Mumbai attending a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) meeting. Along with Krishna, Minister of State for External Afairs Preneet Kaur and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were also in Mumbai. Two Cabinet ministers from Kerala — A K Antony and Vayalar Ravi — couldn't make it either. But, many senior officials from the MEA and India's ambassador to the US Meera Shankar were present on the occasion. So was Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik.

Up the wrong trunk
The Elephant Lovers Association in Kerala has kicked up a ruckus over the Commonwealth Games using an elephant in the Queen's baton ceremony in Kochi on August 29. The petition also reached the Prime Minister's Office. Their grouse is that using the elephant is against the rules that govern the Commonwealth Games and amounts to cruelty to animals.

Pushed to the side
"He is a senior minister... Please let him in," an aide of Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge was heard pleading with Congress workers at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters on the day Sonia Gandhi was formally re-elected as Congress president for the fourth time in a row.

But, the surging crowd was unrelenting and Kharge had to take a side gate from the Seva Dal office to the AICC. But Kharge wasn't the only minister to do so. His colleagues Mukul Wasnik, Krishna Tirath and Jitin Prasada and senior leaders like Digvijay Singh and B K Hari Prasad had to struggle to get inside too.

An expert organiser
Modesty is certainly not something that one can accuse the Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, a think-tank linked to the Sangh parivar, of. On Saturday, it sent invitations for a discussion on Sino-Indian tensions.

Introducing the panelists, the Foundation tried to ensure that its honorary director Tarun Vijay should not appear the least among them in terms of expertise on the subject.

So after introducing two key career diplomats and a JNU international studies professor, the invite introduced Vijay, a Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson of the BJP, as a "sinologist", meaning a China specialist.

People know that Vijay has been a long-time journalist and editor of RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya. But that he was a 'China specialist' must have surprised many. Or, maybe, the Foundation's definition of an expert is anyone who organises seminars on that subject.

Catch in his throat
An otherwise vocal RJD boss Lalu Prasad was subdued in Parliament last week. The proceedings were led by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Many first-time Lok Sabha MPs regularly complain that the two Yadavs get up to speak on any issue due to which they don't get time to raise other matters.

On the last day of the session, a senior MP asked Prasad if everything was ok with him as he had been "unusually calm" in the House.

"Gala kharab hai bhai (I have a sore throat, brother)," he replied.

Hail to the chief
Entitled Kalaignar 87, a book on DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi has been compiled by the party's Rajya Sabha MP Vasanthy Stanley, who has included quotes from senior BJP leader L K Advani on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

Speaking at the book launch, Karunanidhi was surprised to discover that Advani had praised him despite the ties between the two having been anything but good.

"Setting aside how hard we opposed each other, he has shown a political culture in lauding me," Karunanidhi said.

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