Untitled Document

Untitled Document

L. K. ADVANI Leader of the Opposition versus MANMOHAN SINGH Prime Minister

"Don't push India into self-enslavement. India cannot become a client state of the United States."

"Don't worry about India losing its nuclear swaraj. We'll seek full nuclear cooperation on terms acceptable to us."

EPILOGUE: Only time can tell who will stand vindicated. A war of words now is futile.


"We cannot continue to live in a world of 'butter mountains' and 'rivers of milk' funded by government subsidies when the poor starve in Third World villages."

Manmohan Singh, prime minister

"I've lost the habit of speaking. Earlier I used to give long speeches. After becoming the Speaker, I use only two sentences, one containing six words and the other, three."

Somnath Chatterjee, Lok Sabha speaker

"I'm not anyone's enemy. If someone conceives me as his or her enemy, it's not my fault."

J. Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu chief minister

"It was the biggest surrender (of Pakistani troops in 1971) since World War II. Had the Indian Government used this advantage, the Kashmir issue could have been resolved once and for all."

L. K. Advani, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha

"They've Bollywood-ised cricket by making stars out of certain players. They give them money, back-up, and when they aren't in form, turn the other way."

Alyque Padamsee, theatre person and ad guru


Women MPs are seething as another Parliament session ended with no sign of the Women's Reservation Bill. Now, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P. R. Dasmunshi's New Year resolution is to introduce this Bill in the next session.

EXPELLED: Jagmohan Dalmiya from the BCCI. He has been removed from all posts on charges of financial irregularities during his tenure as the president of the board.

APPOINTED: Space scientist Dr K. Kasturrangan, as a member of Rome-based Pontifical Academy of Sciences, by Pope Benedict XVI.

DISGRACED: Athlete Santhi Soundarajan, who won the silver medal in the 800 m race in Doha Asian Games, after failing a gender test as she did not have the "sexual characteristics of a woman". She will be stripped of her medal.

DIED: Painter and Padmashree awardee Bikash Bhattacharjee, 66, who could depict the exact quality of drapery or the skin tone of a woman, or the mouldering walls of old buildings.

Uncultured Item
SCANDALISED: Kaur, Manmohan and Abe
DELHI Item number diplomacy was the last thing that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to showcase as part of Indian culture when he visited Japan on December 14. The visit was aimed at giving a giant push to the strategic relationship and to hold talks with his new Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.

At a function in a packed Tokyo convention centre, the evening was meant to kickstart the Festival of India in Japan and India-Japan friendship year 2007. Instead, it turned out to be an embarrassing affair, forcing the prime minister and his entourage to depart in haste.

Insiders say that the India Evening in Tokyo hosted by the India Brand Equity Fund (IBEF) and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in the presence of the two prime ministers and their wives got too hot to handle when skimpily clad dancers took the stage with their hip shaking numbers on choicest Bollywood songs. Later, the choreographer of the show, Shiamak Dawar, asked the audience to participate. "It was worse than a Rakhi Sawant item number and it was embarrassing for us especially when the two prime ministers were present," said an mea official.

It was reportedly Manmohan's wife Gursharan Kaur who expressed her displeasure, which was communicated to Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, who was part of the delegation and whose ministry funds the IBEF. But that was not the only goof-up; Mumbai socialite Gitanjali Kirloskar, the host for the evening, invited Manmohan and ICCR President Karan Singh on stage, forgetting the protocol of inviting Abe. The mistake was rectified later.

A blame game is on. But it's surprising that despite a series of advance trips before Manmohan's visit, a goof-up at this level actually happened.

-By Saurabh Shukla

Rebel Without a Pause
BANDH QUEEN: Banerjee called for another shutdown
KOLKATA West Bengal slowed down for a long Christmas weekend, facilitated by Trinamool Congress' Mamata Banerjee, who called a 48-hour bandh on December 21 and 22. But it was not the bandh but the event leading to it that has given a new turbulent twist to the current state of affairs in West Bengal.

Singur, which has been in the eye of political storm over farmlands being earmarked for the proposed Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car plant, was witness to a ghoulish murder. An 18-year-old girl, Tapasi Mallick, was allegedly raped and later burnt to death in a pit dug in the fenced-off area within the plant site. Mallick, the daughter of an agricultural labourer from a neighbouring village, was an active member of the Singur Krishijami Raksha Committee, formed by disgruntled farmers with the support of the Trinamool. Banerjee claims that CPI(M) workers are behind the killing.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has sought a CBI inquiry into the gruesome murder. "I am asking Banerjee to withdraw the bandh, and also to call off her hungerstrike," he implored through newspersons.

But Bhattacharya has his back to the wall. West Bengal has seen five days of bandhs during this month alone, out of which the December 14 all-India strike, called by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, had left the progressive Left red in the face with its success in West Bengal, when even the it industry was not spared.

However, it's high time that Bhattacharya realises that the pot really can't call the kettle black any longer.

-By Swagata Sen

Pilgrims' Progress
HYDERABAD A billboard pleading devout Muslims going on Haj to pray for the welfare of the people in Andhra Pradesh is proving costly for Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. The Archbishop of Hyderabad, Marampudi Joji, is trying to cash in on it in an ingenious way. He has requested "the government to assist Christians making a pilgrimage by subsidising the cost." Reddy responded, "We'll increase allocations or provide a budget to subsidise travel next year."

But Joji's request to accord Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians for reservations didn't go down too well with Reddy.

-By Amarnath K. Menon

Language Bar

MUMBAI After signboards and shop displays turning bilingual, state Minister for Education Hassan Mushrif has asked schools in Maharashtra to make Marathi mandatory as a subject till class 10. But the proposal has met with opposition. "Imposing Marathi will affect students who have parents with transferable jobs. They change four or five schools," says Madalsa Vyas, headmistress, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bhandup. Language crisis certainly.

-By Aditi Pai


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JANUARY 1, 2007



Ministers At War

Ground Zero

In Democracy We Trust

One Down, Six To Go

The Desert Sun

No Room For Hospitality

Disease of Society

Bytes, Camera, Action

A Position On Sex

Terror and Memory

A Legacy Divided

Romancing The Ruins

The Kerala Express

Do you think the nuclear deal with the United States is good for India?
South Asia's most influential and most read newsweekly presents the fifth Conclave India Tomorrow 2006: Bridging the Divide