Jayalalithaa, like the late N.T. Rama Rao, prefers early hours for important political discussions. The other day, MDMK leader Vaiko got a call to reach her residence around 3 am for seat-sharing talks, which finally concluded by 7.30 am. Jayalalithaa’s aides insisted that Vaiko follow the deadline set by her if he wanted the seats. Jayalalithaa wanted the seat talks to be completed before her close associate, Sashikala, returned from Delhi after doing vaastu puja for her new eight-room bungalow in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, which is likely to be the venue for confabulations for the new government formation after the Lok Sabha results on May 16.
LK didn’t get it quite write
Could it have been another barb aimed at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh created a flutter in political circles with his observation on memoirs during his interaction with the editors last week. When asked if he would write a memoir, he responded: “I think if you write an honest account then you will tread on too many shoes. But if you do not write truth, it is not worth writing.” Many believe Singh was taking a potshot at his competitor Advani. Remember, how Advani got into a couple of controversies when his book My Life My Country was published. One, on the Kandahar controversy, refuses to go away. Advani claimed that he was not part of the cabinet decision to depute Jaswant Singh to Kandahar to deliver three terrorists in exchange for hostages abroad flight IC 814. Selective memoirs?
Subjective view on subjects
Ramdas Aggarwal, BJP’s treasurer, who has been in the dog house since Rs 2.5 crore went missing from the BJP headquarters, has hired a PR firm to issue statements on his behalf — on subjects ranging from internal security to the Gehlot ministry’s acts of omission and commission in his home state of Rajasthan. Why is he not relying on the BJP’s media cell to do publicity for him? Aggarwal, who has been sidelined in Rajasthan since Vasundhara Raje took over, is biding his time for eventually getting a top slot in the party in his state.
Same queries, new day
The war of words between the Congress and BJP has now changed into a war of questions. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad triggered this war by posing seven questions to the Congress. His Congress counterpart Abhishek Manu Singhvi responded by putting 14 questions to the BJP and its leader L.K. Advani. Not to be left behind, another Congress spokesperson Ashwani Kumar sought answers from the BJP to five questions. When his attention was drawn to Singhvi’s questions, Kumar responded that they don’t have anything new to tell the media every day. “So, we raise the same issues,” he said. Perhaps, the effects of daily briefings are telling on Congress spokespersons.
When political space shrinks
Congress workers from Gautam Buddha Nagar are a harassed lot. Their complaint — the Congress office in Noida has been taken over by the RSS. The party has fielded Ramesh Chand Tomar from the seat and his supporters, who they claim are RSS activists, have been virtually occupying the entire office space since the four-time BJP MP joined the Congress. And the poor Congress workers have to wait for Tomar’s supporters to leave to enter. A game of musical chairs here.
In through the out door
Uma Bharti, the rebel BJP leader, is in great spirits. After much vacillation, her parent party has agreed to her addressing election meetings in UP to counter another rebel Kalyan Singh, who walked in to the Samajwadi Party-fold. Being a fellow Lodh, Uma found her USP rise following the exit of Singh. Though it is too early to say when her home-coming is likely, Uma is telling everyone that she’s not keen to return to the party as much as seeing L.K. Advani as Prime Minister. Insiders say Uma is expecting the BJP to accommodate her as a Rajya Sabha MP. These days, Uma loves to watch the dusk from the lawns in the diplomatic Chanakyapuri running on either side of Shanti Path. “I love to walk there than in a park,” she says.