Keeping tab on the political grapevine.india Updated: May 21, 2012 21:37 IST
Let us say like it is
Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa's decision to pitch in for NCP leader PA Sangma's candidature for the president's post came after her newfound supporter, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, suggested his name. Patnaik's idea was that support for a tribal candidate suits him politically because Odisha has a substantial tribal population that forms the Naxalites' support base. Sangma went to Chennai to seek Jaya's blessings, which impressed the AIADMK supremo. Even as the AIADMK functionaries wonder what's on her mind, Jaya's move is seen as part of her game to win more friends at the national level ahead of the 2014 poll. A new gameplan maybe?
A name-changer if there was one
Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam wants Mumbai Central railway station to be renamed Rajiv Gandhi Terminus as a mark of respect to the late prime minister on his 21st death anniversary on May 21. Nirupam also roped in 50 Congress MPs and submitted a memorandum to railway minister Mukul Roy, reminding him that Rajiv Gandhi had a sentimental attachment to the city since he was born in an area situated in Mumbai Central. Incidentally, it was Nirupam's former party Shiv Sena which changed the name of the iconic Victoria Terminus in Mumbai to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus when it was in power in Maharashtra in 1996. This is the name of the game.
Let's get used to his style
Apart from his stack of music CDs and bunches of official papers, a new book has found its way on to rural development minister Jairam Ramesh's table in his office: Sansad's English to Hindi dictionary. Just like many other South Indian leaders, Ramesh too, has realised the importance of Hindi-speaking abilities. He is spending half an hour daily to brush up his Hindi skills. And his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Recently, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar called up Ramesh, praised his Hindi speeches and asked him to speak more in Hindi. We'll have to get the meaning of his statements.
Compliments are complementary
Senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad is liberal when it comes to lavishing praise on anyone. The other day, he declared in the Rajya Sabha that he had been a "big fan" of film actress Jaya Bachchan, who is now a Samajwadi Party member. At the start of his speech on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, Prasad said he has seen many films of Bachchan during his college days. He referred to a few of her films like Guddi and Abhiman and showered lavish praise on Jaya Bachchan. She was present in the House and acknowledged his compliments. A nice thank you was in order.
The leader and the led
Travelling to Chhattisgarh on a visit to get the Congress workers pull up their socks, the party general secretary Rahul Gandhi probably realised it wasn't just enough to ask the activists to work for the poor for the sake of the party or the poor. It hadn't worked in the previous elections that gave chief minister Raman Singh a second term. So Gandhi asked party workers how they could graduate to be leaders. And then he answered: "You don't become a leader because you have money. If you take up the cause of the common man, then you can become a leader. If you are not ready to take up that fight, then forget the party organisation, even God can't make you a leader."
A lot of noise about….
Ex-telecom minister A Raja's boisterous way of celebrating his release on bail from Tihar jail has not gone down well with other DMK MPs and leaders. "After all, he is yet to be acquitted in the case. He has got only bail but his supporters are making out as if he has won an election," lamented a party functionary, who, along with other leaders were invited for a grand dinner at Raja's Motilal Nehru Marg residence. What irked many of them was that Raja's men raised slogans only in support of Raja and did not even mention party chief M Karunanidhi. They had also let off expensive crackers on the occasion. Coming out with a band it would seem.