WITH the fate of the UPA Government no more in the hands of the Left, those dramatic to’s and fro’s, captured daily by a hundred TV crews outside AKG Bhavan and the frenetic meetings inside to discuss more ways to arm- twist the government are a thing of the past. Even the Politburo (PB) seems to have gone on long leave, so they make do with something called the “Available Politburo” (APB). The APB consists of three wise men and one woman, who as the name suggests, are mostly “available” in the Capital. They meet every morning, read the newspapers to update themselves on what they and everyone else did the previous day and then decide what is to be done for the day. The problem is, TV and the internet keeps updating news through the day, so the Comrades end up taking a“firm” decision in the morning, reverse it by afternoon before changing it again in the night. They don’t deserve sympathy. The agony and the confusion is self- inflicted.
IN these times when everyone from the Prime Minister downward is talking about liberalisation and unshackling, there is apowerful trade union that is calling the shots and virtually holding the government to ransom. It is called the Indian Administrative Service. Apower and status hungry lot, the members of this TU are known to compromise on everything but their instinct to survive and their superior pay scales. Their “I- me- mine” attitude is now bringing the government machinery to the brink of afratricidal war. Last week, about 150 officers of the IPS officers( Central) association met in New Delhi, among them several DGPs and IGs. Their grouse –Pay Commission, promotion norms, pensions, empanelment etc. The policemen are showing anew belligerence. They are particularly galled that ashowcause notice has been served on Abhinav Kumar, abright young SSP from the Uttarakhand cadre. His crime was that he wrote two incisive articles in anewspaper about the stepmotherly treatment to the IPS. Each time abomb blast takes scores of lives in Hyderabad, Jaipur or wherever, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister appear on TV to wax eloquent about the need to strengthen the internal security apparatus. No dispute on that. But instead of heading for the green room to comb his hair before facing the TV cameras, Shivraj Patil, perhaps the most ineffective Home Minister this country has ever had, should put his money where his mouth is and give these brave officers their due.
No spent force
VGEORGE. Not many people these days would remember a man who went by this name. As Rajiv Gandhi’s secretary, he was among the most powerful men in the Capital earning him the sobriquet King George V. But after Rajiv’s death, it was widely believed that he had fallen on bad times, out of favour with 10 Janpath and shunned by the very Congressmen who once prostrated before him. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Last Sunday, union ministers, PCC chiefs, Congressmen turned governors, et al headed for God’s Own Country for the wedding of George’s son. Congressmen are not known to do anything that could earn them the wrath of 10 Janpath. If George indeed was out of favour, the Congress bigwigs would not have taken that long flight to Kochi. George may have chosen to stay out, he certainly is not down. Not bad for someone whose first job as Sanjay Gandhi’s secretary owed solely to the amazing speed he displayed on the old Remington Rand typewriter.
SUNNY DUBAI has been both the financial and business capital for Indian and Pak industrialists. Now it is becoming avenue for political rendezvous. Top politicians and ministers from both countries find Dubai airport, the perfect backdrop to exchange news and views. Pranab Mukherjee and Sharad Pawar exchanged updates on the N- deal in Dubai. Last week, junior Foreign Minister Anand Sharma met Asif Zardari there. No TV crew following, no "breaking news". While in Dubai last week, Iwas told that more than adozen Indian ministers drop by every month. For what, Idon’t know. Can’t be just the sun, sand and surf.