It’s taken a toll on him
But for Rs. 80, he could have been a Union Cabinet minister. Congress MP from Porbandar Vitthal Radadia, who hails from the politically important Leuva Patel community of Saurashtra, was certain of a ministerial berth in the latest Cabinet reshuffle. But the Congress leadership shelved the move after Radadia got involved in an incident at a toll booth in Vadodara district in Gujarat recently. Radadia brandished a gun at the toll booth operators who allegedly refused to accept a copy of his identity card. A Congress leader from the state said the act has cost him dear. Had Radadia controlled his anger and paid R80 at the toll booth, he would have been sitting pretty today. A big price to pay for a small sum.
Not the stanzas he wanted to hear
Leading up to Sunday’s Cabinet reshuffle, telecom minister Kapil Sibal was reasonably confident that he would retain the human resource development (HRD) ministry, though many of his Bills were stuck in Parliament. Education remains his “first love” as he has said several times. Sibal was also appointed HRD minister in 2009 by the prime minister with the specific mandate to implement several schemes. He continues to enjoy the PM’s support. But on Saturday Sibal’s mood changed and he decided to stay at home the rest of the day. He had received the phone call that confirmed that he would no longer hold charge of HRD. Don’t be surprised if Sibal, who loves writing poems, pens a few lines referring to the episode. He’s well versed in this art.
Jumping the gun has not paid off
D Purandeswari, minister of state for HRD till Sunday’s reshuffle, made what political observers say is a cardinal mistake in politics — announcing a promotion before it is officially sealed. On Saturday, Telugu television channels reported that Purandeswari had announced that she had received a call from the prime minister informing her that she would be “promoted.” On Sunday, she was just moved to the commerce ministry again as an MoS. One of the brightest young ministers in the UPA, she did not receive much work either under Arjun Singh in UPA 1 or under Kapil Sibal since 2009, and has been eyeing a Cabinet post for a while. But the daughter of legendary actor NT Rama Rao may have lost out because she couldn’t keep her excitement in check. She certainly spoke too soon here.
Comfort food seems his style
Industry and commerce minister Anand Sharma celebrated his “success” in pushing foreign direct investment policies in his own way. He threw a grand party at a high-end hotel in New Delhi recently for the key officers of his ministry who worked tirelessly to prepare the ground for the Cabinet decisions. It featured a lavish spread and while other guests tasted different dishes, Sharma stuck to his favourite bhindi and chana dal. Despite requests to taste other dishes, Sharma remained focused on the basics. He’s keeping things really simple.
Living life king-size is his way
Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh and his bête noire Rajinder Kaur Bhattal are at it once again. Bhattal, a known detractor of Singh, apparently started a fresh war of words after she asked the state unit chief to change his working style. “The son of a Raja is a Raja only and he was like a Raja when he used to be the part of the Shiromani Akali Dal prior to joining Congress,” Bhattal said in an apparent reference to the opulent lifestyle of the Patiala royal. Singh took strong objection to the remarks and asked her not to make such statements in public or in the media. “If she really has any opinion about the party functioning, she should better give it to the high command, particularly party president Sonia Gandhi,” Singh said. A right royal snub there.
The flavours of Spain in Bollywood
Spain’s King Juan Carlos heard a song from Bollywood film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara at a banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee last week. So excited was the visiting dignitary that he turned to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask him whether he had watched the film shot in Spain by brother-sister duo Zoya Akhtar and Farhan Akhtar. The PM apparently said, “I don’t know...I don’t watch (films).” To which the King said, “You must watch this lovely film.” Interestingly, the King recounted this episode at a coffee meet with some editors later. The film, which was a box-office hit, was full of Spanish flavour with a bull run and a depiction of La Tomatina (tomato festival). The song ‘Señorita’ was shot in Alájar in Huelva province. Plainly in favour of Spain.