Keeping tabs on the political grapevine.india Updated: Aug 29, 2011 21:40 IST
Too much shock and law
Political parties and their leaders debated last week on the provisions of Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill. The issue was also used by some senior party leaders for plainspeaking and by others for taking digs at their adversaries. Hazaribagh BJP MP Yashwant Sinha in a party meeting said there were too many lawyers in the BJP, referring to the leadership being involved in legalese rather than going with the Anna tide. The target of the "too many lawyers" remark was clearly directed at Arun Jaitley during a debate after Anna Hazare's arrest. The same sentiment was echoed in the Congress too when a senior Cabinet minister said, "Kya hum vakalat karne nikle hai yaa rajniti?" This veteran MP was peeved when a couple of ministers focused only on Anna and the Constitution instead of figuring out how to defuse the crisis politically. Not quite the letter of the law.
Precious memories for some
The Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley got a pleasant surprise on his return to his room in Parliament after last Saturday's debate when the BJP leader reminded the Parliament that it was eminent jurist LM Singhvi who had coined the word 'lokpal' and moved the first Bill on the Indian version of an 'ombudsman' in the 1960s. He not only praised Singhvi for his sagacity but also pointed out the 'generational link' with his son Abhishek Manu Singhvi now heading the parliamentary standing committee considering the latest Lokpal Bill. Back in his room, Jaitley was called by Abhishek's mother Kamla who thanked the BJP leader for remembering her husband.
On the same page here
It was a rare treat to see last Saturday the parliamentary resolution on Anna Hazare's three contentious points being drafted by a cluster of leaders (and future leaders) of the country. When the negotiations between Team Anna and Parliament broke down with Prashant Bhushan stating that the BJP was not on board on the resolution, Pranab Mukherjee, LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Salman Khurshid, Arun Jaitley with young ministers walked into the PM's room in Parliament. After the two sides buried the hatchet over Bhushan's comment, the resolution was drafted by Mukherjee and Jaitley on two sheets of paper torn from a pad - with Manmohan Singh watching the entire proceedings. The draft was then keyed into the computer by the PM's private secretary Indu Shekher Chaturvedi and then approved by the PM and Opposition leaders. Kapil Sibal tried to introduce a new draft at the last moment. But the PM ruled that enough was enough.
Nothing too fishy on the menu
Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi may be Gujarati at heart but he loves Bengali food. On discovering that many items like luchi, alur dum, chholar dal and kanchagolla are not available on a regular basis in Parlia-ment's canteen, he ordered "immediate action." The railway ministry runs the canteen. The minister is keen that his party boss and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appreciates his efforts at making Bengali dishes available to MPs and the media personnel alike for less than R15.
The world's not a stage
Actor Om Puri and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi have little in common but on one issue - bashing politicians - they were on same page. Before Puri came on the stage, Bedi had apparently briefed him about how the government wanted Anna Hazare to die and was not listening to him. Puri was quick to assure Bedi that he would use his theatrical skills to swing the mood against the politicians. He did but not quite the way that Bedi would have wanted. This is real life, Mr Puri.
Not quite a hoot yet
During a debate on corruption in the Lok Sabha, BJP leader MM Joshi's remarks about the magic wand brought a smile on the face of PM Manmohan Singh. Seeing this, Joshi said, "Mei is muskarahat ko dekhne liye taras raha tha (I was desperately eager to see that smile)... Today is a great day. The Lok Sabha has witnessed a smile on the face of the Prime Minister." Joshi then went on to say that "the PM would think of giving up the chair only after eradicating the menace of corruption" from the country. "Before that, how can he think about it." Smiles to go really.