Keeping tabs on the political grapevine. HT whispers.india Updated: Sep 19, 2011 21:56 IST
Alarm bells started ringing at the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) last week when two teams — Leicestershire Foxes and Somerset — playing in the 2011 Champions League T20 reported delays in getting their visas to India.
With the tournament starting on September 23, the high and mighty of the BCCI started cranking phones to bigwigs in South Block. But the problem got complicated as external affairs minister SM Krishna was in Vietnam for the joint commission meeting and foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai was on a visit to Kabul.
There has also been no high commissioner to London since Nalin Suri retired on July 31. It was up to the deputy high commissioner in London Rajesh Prasad to get into the act.
Prasad told the BCCI that visas to the English teams would be issued in the coming two days — except for those players who were either Pakistani citizens or of Pakistani origin. Since the arrest of accused Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Coleman Headley aka Daood Gilani in 2009, it’s the home ministry that provides clearance for visas to persons of Pakistani origin.
Last heard, the BCCI was approaching home minister P Chidambaram. We’re sure the home ministry will be a good sport.
Fixing what’s broke
With many of his associates in prison or facing corruption charges, DMK chief M Karunanidhi has told lawyers affiliated to his party “not to expect money” for their services.
He told a DMK lawyers’ cell recently that “ours is a poor party now [after the Tamil Nadu polls] and we’re not in power. So please don’t expect to be paid now”.
He also lamented: “Not a day passes without papers carrying news of a DMK leader being hauled up on false charges. I hear you whispering how the DMK can get them out of jail on bail. But we have no money. Others around you have. Take their help.”
Who would have thought that money matters for the DMK.
A quick one on the fasters
Trust Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh to put his own spin on things. The political rivalry between Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela dates back to the time when both of them were in the BJP.
Many in the Congress feel that Vaghela’s fast was to take the sheen off Modi’s bid to politically re-position himself. Diggy Raja didn’t mince his words in his not-so-cryptic analysis: “Mr Shankarsinh Vaghela is an old friend of Narendra Modi… both know each other very well.” Hmm.
Backseat rath driver
While the RSS is not at all happy with BJP patriarch LK Advani’s rath yatra plans, Nagpur decided to hold its reins as the 83-year-old leader is the seniormost leader in the Sangh parivar.
But Narendra Modi, not the one to hold back, gave broad hints to Advani, apparently telling the rath yatri that since he was setting off on October 11, the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, it would be in the fitness of things that the yatra started from Patna and not Surat in Gujarat.
Modi may have sent out a message to his political mentor that the least Advani could have done was to tell him about the yatra before announcing it.
For he’s a jolly good fellow
After serving the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for over seven years, principal secretary TKA Nair will be handing over charge to Pulok Chatterjee, the 1974 batch UP cadre IAS officer who served UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi earlier.
PMO officials are hosting a farewell dinner for Nair on October 3.
Once Chatterjee takes charge in October, Nair is due to become adviser to the PM with minister of state rank. The buzz is that Nair may become Rajasthan governor soon, taking over from Punjab governor Shivraj Patil who is also holding charge of Rajasthan till then.
Bon voyage in advance.