|CURRENT ISSUE FEBRUARY 24, 2003|
|Reaping an Electoral Harvest|
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed clearly believes in striking while the iron is hot. To consolidate the Government's electoral gains, he plans to hold elections to civic bodies in April. For the first time in two decades, elections will be held to municipal corporations, municipalities and civic bodies.
The Mufti Government, specially his Housing and Urban Development Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, is well aware that continuing insurgency and past misgovernance have wrecked the civic bodies. "The new Government wants to restore the sanctity of these bodies," says Mir. His ministry has already started delimiting wards for the election. While the Farooq Abdullah government held elections to the panchayats in the state two years back after a gap of 20 years, there were no polls for the urban civic bodies amidst threat from militants.
Now the stage is set for another democratic showdown and Mufti and his pdp have a clear edge. His Government has generated considerable goodwill in cities by bringing down power cuts and demolishing encroachments. Mufti may reap a good harvest this spring.
Where to watch the cricket World Cup
Tendulkar's, Mumbai: Two big plasma screens showing the World Cup matches are only the starters. On the menu is a World Cup Cheering Kit for Rs 450, a Tendulkar's World Cup T-shirt at Rs 999, plus numerous contests. A meal for two costs Rs 800-1,200.
Taj West End Hotel, Bangalore: The star attractions are ex-cricketers Syed Kirmani and Sunil Joshi who will frequent the hotel to cheer for India and the participants of Predict Games. As for food, there's Aussie Punter (chicken burger), Waqar's Yorker, Master Blaster, Canada's Debut (apple pie). Prices range from Rs 195 to Rs 395.
PVR, Delhi: Watch the India-Pakistan tie live on March 1 on the biggest screens in town. The larger than life show comes at Rs 500 a seat.
Taj Hotels, Chennai: Coromandel, Connemara and Fisherman's Cove offer a host of contests and ex-cricketers T.A. Shekar, Sadagopan Ramesh and W.V. Raman to set the right pitch.
|THE GOLDEN PUMPKIN|
The ground beneath his feet is starting to resemble quicksand. Celebrity author and Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie was spotted last week at London's Barbican Centre, minus his minders, holding question-and-answer sessions. But it's his own life and times in the recent past that have raised the most questions. First, theatre critics have universally panned the stage production of Midnight's Children. And now comes the highly publicised break-up with his model-actress girlfriend Padma Lakshmi. The fact that his love life was going awry was reinforced at the world preview of the play where Lakshmi was notable by her absence.
Rushdie claims he dumped Lakshmi because he no longer found her "intellectually challenging". However, Lakshmi, 32, told her friends that she grew bored of the 55-year-old author. Rushdie had met her in 1999 and moved from London to New York to live with her. But Lakshmi has now moved to Los Angeles, where she has a film company and Rushdie lives in Manhattan. Daily Mail claimed that the couple parted company shortly before Christmas. A friend of the thrice-divorced Rushdie, said, "Salman is very gutted. Everything is over." Not every story has a happy ending.