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Off the record

india Updated: May 10, 2010 23:45 IST
Hindustan Times
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Flat out of luck

With the number of its MPs shrinking in the 15th Lok Sabha, providing accommodation to the party functionaries has become quite a headache for the CPI(M). It is the party that decides the MPs’ accommodation. For instance, an MP is entitled to three flats if his allotted accommodation happens to be in VP House, where most CPI(M) MPs and leaders stay. So, the party takes two for the use of functionaries and hands over the remaining one to the MP. Just when everyone thought the housing blues were over, the party’s trade union wing, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), got a new president, A.K. Padmanabhan, who is also a central committee member of the CPI(M). As he is shifting from his former turf of Tamil Nadu to Delhi, party managers have been running around trying to find him a flat at VP House.

Getting their wires crossed

Confusion always seems to accompany any India-Pakistan engagement. When External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told Parliament last Thursday that he would speak with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi over the phone the following day, his eagerness was matched by Qureshi telling a TV channel that he intended to pick up the phone to talk to Krishna once the budget session was over. But their zeal was not matched by diplomatic channels, which went ahead at their usual pace in arriving at a “mutually convenient time.” Friday and Saturday being holidays in Pakistan, along with Krishna’s prior engagements, delayed the proposed conversation till Tuesday, when the phone call was finally made.

Fortune favours the late

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has studiously cultivated his atheistic image, as a true follower of Periyar, the founder of the self-respect movement that gave birth to the DMK. But, recently, when he failed to turn up in time for the inauguration of a Periyar Study Centre in Delhi, the buzz was that Kalaignar did so to avoid rahu kal (inauspicious period), in line with most Tamil Nadu politicians. He arrived only after it was over. The yellow shawl that he has been sporting for some years now (that has replaced his signature red and black), is also being attributed to astrological reasons.

In through the back door

The grapevine’s abuzz with whether RJD chief Lalu Prasad will facilitate Ram Vilas Paswan’s entry into the Rajya Sabha. With the election of a new set of members to Parliament’s upper house scheduled in the coming months, the question has started to loom large. Going on numerical strength, the RJD can bring one member into Parliament, being left with additional votes for facilitating a possible victory for a second candidate. Prasad wants to allocate the sure-shot seat to former JD(U) member Ejaz Ali, while supporting Paswan for the second seat, if the whispers are to be believed. Let’s see if Paswan is able to mop up the deficit votes required for ensuring an entry into Parliament. Only time will tell.