Mind your own business
Workaholics that they are, they seldom return home before midnight. All work and no play could turn even ministers into dull dour creatures, so they occasionally take a break from work, hop into their official cars and dash across town to keep some good company.
But their security officers are a worried lot. They began to keep a logbook of their protectee’s departure and arrival timings, updated the diaries for a month, then showed it to the immediate superior, who passed the files on to seniors until these finally found their way into the hands of a top security official who then sought an appointment with one of the ministers.
But the meeting was anything but cordial. Instead of appreciating the police efforts to secure the well- being of ministers, the official got a stern lecture from the minister on the laws of privacy.There is no more thankless job than being a security man in Delhi.
EVERY five years, as elections come, we hear the same tired old slogans being repeated. But once in a while someone comes up with something new that may not turn out to be effective but still manages to catch attention. L. K. Advani’s promise that, if elected to power, the BJP will bring back the money that wealthy Indians have stashed away in Swiss banks and other safe havens in Europe is one such. The money he is talking of humungous: Over a Trillion dollars. That is One Thousand Billion dollars or One Million Million Dollars. I will make it simpler: that’s just a shade under India’s annual GDP. The idea to add this attention grabber was mooted by some of his advisors, none of whom are politicians, and some exbureaucrats whose sympathies lie with the BJP. They believe that in these days of pink slips and salary ‘ decrements’, “ Bring Back The Money” would make a good electoral slogan, specially among the BJP’s traditional vote bank, the urban middle classes. The idea first came up as early as February and after the matter was discussed within the party, it was decided that this would be one of the main slogans during the Advani campaign.
But there were some Cassandras in the party with close links with the corporate world and MNCs. Not only were they less than enthusiastic about the proposal, they painted terrifying scenarios about Corporate India pinning a pariah tag on the BJP and of election funds drying up. The consensus man that he is, Advani once again discussed the matter with all top honchos in the party and those for and against seemed evenly matched. The matter was finally settled and the announcement was made last week only after he discussed the issue with Narendra Modi. He is Corporate India’s best friend, but it was the Gujarat chief minister who insisted that the BJP commit itself to “ Bring Back The Money”. No matter how many wealthy friends the party may lose.
In this case, she invited her peers to dinner not to talk politics but to flaunt her new address at Gurdwara Rakabganj Road, a stone’s throw from Parliament House. Twenty- five years ago, when the prime minister’s residence was shifted from Safdarjang Road to Race Course Road, they merged bungalows numbered 1,3,5,7 and 9 RCR where 1 and 9 were occupied by security and the rest formed the prime minister’s sprawling residence cum office complex.
Mayaywati’s new estate isn’t quite that opulent, but she too merged three independent bungalows — 12, 14 and 16 Rakabganj Road — to construct a huge complex that forms her residence, a Kanshi Ram Memorial and the party office. Which just goes to show that Mayawati does not have to be prime minister to enjoy all the trappings that go with the office.