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The Buzz

While flying to New Delhi on a low-cost airline last week, the down-to-earth attitude of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee left the cabin crew flummoxed.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2012 21:25 IST

Mamata the Insistent
While flying to New Delhi on a low-cost airline last week, the down-to-earth attitude of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee left the cabin crew flummoxed. After refreshments were served to Banerjee's entourage, she wanted to foot the bill. The cabin crew pointed out that her team's tickets included refreshment charges. Banerjee, who always pays her own bills, insisted they take the money as the staff had served more cups of tea and food than ordered. The stewardess had a difficult time convincing her that she couldn't adjust this unaccounted payment.

Very good relations
RJD chief Lalu Prasad might be critical of the Congress on a host of issues but he has also been trying to win over its leadership, at times triggering speculation that the former railway minister in the UPA's first term could be inducted in UPA 2. His recent praise of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is seen in that context. Campaigning for his relative Jitendra Yadav, who is a Congress candidate from Sikandrabad, Lalu said that the Congress was in a strong position in UP elections only because of Rahul's "hard work". Jitendra Yadav's son, Rahul, is married to Lalu's fourth daughter Ragini. Interestingly, when the marriage proposal was finalised, Jitendra Yadav was a Samajwadi Party MLA from Ghaziabad. By the time the wedding took place, he had switched to the Congress and was given the party ticket. This is also said to have prompted Lalu to abandon his plan of fielding RJD candidates in the UP polls.

Unnatural interest
There was much controversy in the media last week when the Union home ministry's stand on homosexuality was different from the government's own counsel in the Supreme Court ('homosexuality is unnatural'). DMK supremo M Karunanidhi could not help contacting a former DMK minister who was then in Delhi to find out what had happened. Karunanidhi was apparently following the news on the additional solicitor general's stand against gay sex. The home ministry later clarified that it had not taken any position. The former DMK minister contacted his friends in the Supreme Court and later informed his party boss about the row. But the former chief minister's keen interest in the case left tongues wagging in the party circles as to why he was following this case so closely. Does someone close to him want to come out of the closet?