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The joke’s on him now

Telecom minister A Raja’s sense of humour did not desert him until he was asked by DMK chief M Karunanidhi to put in his papers.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2010 01:53 IST
Hindustan Times

Telecom minister A Raja’s sense of humour did not desert him until he was asked by DMK chief M Karunanidhi to put in his papers. “People think I have made one lakh crore … even my party leaders, who never bothered to look at me, treat me with deference now,” he said with a chuckle. After his resignation, however, Raja did not speak to anyone, except to a news agency to confirm he had quit.

An instamatic response

Union steel minister Virbhadra Singh’s observation that environment minister Jairam Ramesh should be “pragmatic”, not “dogmatic”, met with a quick response. Ramesh wrote to Singh, saying that the latter wanted him to be “automatic” in giving approvals, which was not possible. Ramesh put in a word of advice as well — ask companies to comply with environment laws. What led to the slugfest was the environment ministry’s proactive role in delaying the setting up of Posco’s steel plant in Orissa.

Taking off from before

Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the minister of state for civil aviation Praful Patel have been friends for decades. Their bonding was there for everyone to see at the recently-concluded Hindustan Times leadership summit. The chief minister held Patel in a tight embrace and regaled some of the guests with tales from their political careers. At this stage, someone jokingly asked Hooda why he had not exploited his connections with Patel to set up an airport at Rohtak (the chief minister’s home district and his son’s parliamentary constituency). Hooda responded by saying he would bounce the idea off Patel and hopefully have his way on the proposal.

Bouquets and brickbats

BJP president Nitin Gadkari is more caught up with the wedding of his son, Nikhil, scheduled in Nagpur on December 3 than the crisis afflicting his party. In the midst of the crisis in Karnataka, the BJP president is not forgetting to ask people whether they have got the invite. “No bouquets and gifts, please”, says the wedding card sent to many leaders and friends.

A few bonus points

United States President Barack Obama’s support for India’s UNSC bid was the unexpected outcome of the visit. Both foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar were keen on making it a priority issue, though many of their colleagues were doubtful. There was a fair amount of secrecy regarding Obama's speech in Parliament, and the US embassy here too was not aware of the exact contents of the president’s speech.

A different power play

The power crisis in Tamil Nadu has become a hot political issue ahead of the assembly polls next year. This was clear when Union minister for chemicals and fertiliser MK Alagiri was stranded in a lift inside a Madurai commercial complex following a power failure. Alagiri exited to safety after someone switched on the generator.

First Published: Nov 23, 2010 00:07 IST