Some enlightening moments
The foundation-laying ceremony of a R300-crore Buddhist and Indic Studies university at Sanchi in the presence of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley had its own interesting moments. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, who was instrumental in inviting Rajapaksa, was absent on account of health reasons. In the wake of strong protests by Tamil Nadu’s parties like the MDMK, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had to ensure tight security arrangements. But he also saw to it that his “old friend” Vaiko was received with a bouquet at the MP-Maharashtra border and politely told that he could not proceed to Sanchi. Rajapaksa planted the sapling of a Bodhi tree brought from his country. Some bouquets, some brickbats.
True to tradition perhaps?
Out of courtesy, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee decided not to field any candidate in the Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency from where President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee is contesting the October 10 by-elections even after quitting the ruling Congress-led coalition.
The Congress does not want to burn its bridges with the maverick leader and has restrained itself from attacking her for pulling the plug out of the UPA government. Senior Congress leaders are confident that she will return to the UPA fold. Their confidence stems from the fact that Banerjee after joining the NDA in 1999 had walked out of the Vajpayee government as railway minister in 2001 over the Tehelka expose. She rejoined the BJP-led alliance in January 2004. Minor courtesies could yield major gains.
One step closer for him
On his birthday on September 17, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi found that his mobile phone did not stop ringing. Considering that everyone in the BJP expects an enlarged role for him at the national level after the assembly polls this year, the 62-year-old Modi found not just top BJP leaders like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj, but also leaders of other parties, including an MP from the AIADMK, calling to wish him. Making a wish on a rising star.
Going by the book
Last week, a senior Trinamool MP bumped into a top UPA minister during a flight. The MP asked, “Where are you going?” The minister replied that he was going to visit some Naxal-affected areas. Pat came the second question from the witty MP, “You mean Writers’ Buildings?” Soon the minister spotted the Trinamool member reading a book on Vivekananda and asked, “Why are you reading this book?” The Bengal MP sounded philosophical, “To deal with Mamata, one needs peace of mind and the teachings of Vivekananda!” Ma, mati, minefield.