GN Bureau | December 17, 2010
An apt summation of yesterday's events: Two Harvards, one Oxford, outplayed by a backward. Oh, so awkward! -- August 17
Milind Deora is the second young minister with Communications portfolio. Does MMS think his youth brigade is good enough only for IT? -- July 14
Congress' Manish Tewari has said that "democracy faces peril from the tyranny of the unelected and the unelectible". Was it directed against Anna Hazare or Manmohan Singh? -- June 14
Jayalalithaa has kept the Prevention of Corruption portfolio with herself. Makes sense and makes it easy. She has only herself to control. -- May 16
Rajiv Gandhi on the riots that killed 3000 Sikhs: When a big tree falls, the ground shakes. Rahul Gandhi on the death of three agitating farmers in Greater Noida: I am ashamed to call myself a Hindustani. GENERATION GAP? -- May 12
Indian Express edit called the Anna's fast "illiberal" and advised Govt not to yield to his demands. Today it's lead headline says: "Govt eats its words, Hazare to break fast today".....I think it should have been "Govt spits out our advice...."? April 9
Pawar says he's willing to sit out of the GoM on corruption and all other GoMs. He has other important matters to attend to. IPL, for example! April 6
I don't know about LKA, but Manmohan sure seems to think the job of PM is his birthright, in spite of all muck he is into. -- March 25
So what's the Major General in trouble for? Calling Modi efficient or calling the Army efficient? Which one doesn't fit the description?-- March 15
I'm no budget expert, but i have analysed it very simply: Since the industry is going ga-ga over it, it must me bad for me! -- Feb 28
The best thing about the Prime Minister's press meet with Editors of TV news channels was that India TV was not invited. Thank God the PM knows at least this much: India TV is not a news channel! -- Feb 17
What the Prime Minister will tell editors today: I don't know, I didn't see, I didn't do! -- Feb 16
Sharad Pawar denies links with Shahid Balwa. Good. But what about his money, sir? -- Feb 10
PJ Thomas to Supreme Court: No less than 153 MPs face charges, but continue to be members. So why can't I be CVC? All criminals to courts: 153 MPs and a CVC are facing charges, so why prosecute only us? -- Feb 8
Just 120 hours after Your Channel lands in Cairo, Mubarak quits party post! -- Feb 6
Prime Minister to chief secretaries: "Inflation is something that needs to be tackled immediately." Er..um...What's holding you up, sir? -- Feb 5
What's the prime minister worried about? Licence permit raj or Jairam Raj? -- Feb 4
In the P J Thomas case, the most believable government lie is that nobody told the prime minister about the pending chargesheet. -- Jan 28
You know we are a robust democracy when the parents of a murdered teenager, themselves not above suspicion, say this country is not worth living anymore because the CBI can't fix the killers! -- Dec 30
After Chidambaram said "close your eyes and listen to Rahul, you will hear Rajiv", requests are piling up for cancellation of Rahul's public meetings. Congressmen say Rajiv Gandhi's tapes will do! -- Dec22
I thought the Manmohan Singh government has nothing to show. Now he says he has "nothing to hide" as well! -- Dece 21
Ethics undermined, hiding behind privacy, wailing in supreme court, catfight with Chandrashekhar. Is Ratan Tata going bananas even before the republic? -- Dec 20
Supreme Court has asked the State of Orissa to give reasons why it should not order a CBI probe into the NREGA bungling there. One good reason: The CBI can't see anything that its political masters don't want it to see. -- Dec 17
Breaking News: Vir Sanghvi's column to make a comeback in HT tomorrow. To be renamed "Dictaphone". -- Dec 4
Vir Sanghvi on HeadlinesToday: "Of course it's not business as usual....Here I am standing precariously on the terrace of a hotel in Bangkok". Isn't that business as usual Vir? -- Dec 2
Barkha Dutt allows herself to be grilled by four ediors on her own channel at 10 tonight. Friendly Fire? -- Nov 30
Sonia Gandhi said the Congress will have to start from scratch in Bihar. Wasn't that the same place they started in this election? -- Sanjay Kaul, Nov 24
"If the prime minister appoints a charge-sheeted officer as the head of the nation's highest anti-corruption agency, who's tainted? PM or the officer? -- Nove 23
"What kind of question do you want?"
Is that what Vir Sanghvi is asking Ranbir Kapoor at the HT Leadership Summit? -- Nov 22
The Buck Stops Here. The Barkha Stops At Nothing! -- Nov 19
Yeddyurappa says he only copied the scams of his Congress predecessors. What a come down! No original scams for a party that promised a "difference"? -- Nov 18
Journalism has turned on its head or what? Times of India, even Hindustan Times and most papers have screaming banner headlines on the Supreme Court's comments against Manmohan's silence on 2G scam. Except The Indian Express which has buried it on page 5! -- Nov 17
Why did Yedyurappa's children get land allotted illegally? Baap Ka Raaj Hai, that's why!-- Nov 16
The pawn is gone. Will we ever get to know the real 'Rajas' behind the telecom scam? -- Nov 15
Thank heavens, Obama named Pakistan. Arnab Goswami won't have to bomb America now! -- Nov 8
Why is it that the few times the prime minister talks about important national affairs he is invariably on foreign shores? -- Nov 1
On the way back from work I'll at least throw a stone today...at nothing in particular. Hate to disappoint Mr Chidambaram, you see!
All this Ayodhya hype and hysteria makes one wonder: Are politicians worried there will be riots or there will not be riots? -- Sept 30
PMO says Manmohan did not crack whip on Gill and Jaipal. So, the only thing he is credited with doing for the Games, never actually happened!-- Sept 27
Games are back on track within one day of prime minister's intervention. ManMohan or SuperManMohan? -- Sept 24
Let's call Pakistan cricket team to handle the CWG mess. They will fix it! -- Dhaval Desai, Sept 23
Why is Karat upset? He says Rahul should read the history of Marxism. Rahul says Marxism is history! Where's the dispute? -- Sept 18
PM says "Kashmiris' aspirations need to be addressed". Hmm...Birth of Pranab Mukherjee's GOM no 151?! -- Sept 14
Manmohan Singh to Supreme Court: Do not interfere in policy formulations...we can mess things up on our own! -- Sept 6
Chidambaram says government will not encourage anyone to support Maoists. He means to say it won't "discourage" anyone either. Carry on Mamata! -- August 12
Manmohan to reveal his mind on the corruption and confusion surrounding the Games. Calls for an urgent press conference on May 24, 2014!
March 2015: A page from Manmohan Singh's diary published in a controversial book, 'Gentlemanly Scandals'.
"Tuesday, August 03, 2010 - Another difficult day. Opposition raised hell in Parliament over Commonwealth Games. Kashmir seems to be boiling over.
Shall I deal first with Kashmir that's slipping out of control or the skeletons tumbling out of Commonwealth Games, Omar Abdullah twiddling his thumbs or Suresh Kalmadi forging emails, Hurriyat seizing the centre-stage or Sheila Dikshit caught telling the lie that SC funds were never diverted to Commonwealth Games.
What shall I deal with first....."
-- August 3, Kapil Bajaj
Stadiums are incomplete. Roofs are collapsing. Roads are dug up. Babus, politicians and contractors are up to their gills in slush money (says CVC) but the "Games will be successful," insists Manmohan. Is Race Course Road really in Delhi?! -- July 30
If indeed the Games are a matter of national prestige, how did we end up putting it in Suresh Kalmadi's hands? -- July 28
Times Now headline just now: "Modi breaks his silence". Times Now headline five minutes from now: "Why is Modi breaking his silence now?" -- July 24
Lalu Prasad can't understand why Nitish Kumar is afraid of a CBI inquiry into the missing Rs 11000 crore. Lalu always thought the CBI was full of nice people eager to give a "clean chit" for the asking. -- July 20
The ironies of life....Karnataka governor HR Bharadwaj is lecturing Yedyurappa on ethics and morals. HR BHARADWAJ?! Whose only contribution to the law ministry was to engineer the escape of Mr Q?! -- July 17
Reliance Industries is complaining of unfair trade practice by PSU oil companies. It has moved the Competition Commission saying they've formed a cartel to keep RIL out of the aviation fuel business. But there's a slight delay in taking up the case: The members can't stop rolling on the floor with laughter. July 16
Right time for Karnataka government to bring some Bills up for debate. It won't have so many MLAs in the House ever again! -- July 15
That when Omar Abdullah says he is "open to all ideas to end the violence", he's actually saying he has no idea whatsoever to end the violence. -- July 12
A survey says India has the highest number of NGOs in the world: 1 NGO for every 400 persons. Not surprised, we already knew there's more non-government in India than government. -- B V Rao, July 7
Prime Minister says fuel hike is a "burden on the common man but is manageable". It does seem so...when you fly free and ride the taxpayer's BMWs! -- B V Rao, June 30
Did the papers get the headlines wrong? Did the government just "hike fuel prices" or did it "fuel price hikes"? -- B V Rao, June 26
Apparently, there's no record with the government of Anderson's visit and exit in 1984. So now we are officially chasing Anderson's ghost. -- B V Rao, June 25
Twentyfive years after the catastrophe, Centre to give Rs 250 crore for cleaning up Carbide's toxic waste. Rs 10 crore for every wasted year, I suppose. -- B V Rao, June 21
That in all the lies and half truths about Bhopal, I can believe only Ranga Rao when he says father PV Narasimha Rao couldn't have taken the decision to grant free passage to Warren Anderson and free him from house arrest. That would have made two decisions back to back. Impossible for Narasimha Rao. -- Prasanna Mohanty, June 19
Manmohan Singh is surprised by the continuing noise around Bhopal Tragedy II. He thinks it should have died the day he took decisive action in the matter by setting up the EGoM! -- B V Rao, June 18
If it was the duty of the state to protect Anderson, then whose duty was it to protect the people of Bhopal?
-- Samir Sachdeva, June 17
To find the truth about how Warren Anderson escaped, Jayanti Natarajan says, we will have to explore "all avenues". So, hit the road Jayanti. North Avenue, South Avenue, Rouse Avenue. Rajpath, Janpath, Shantipath. Or Nyaya Marg, Neeti Marg...! -- B V Rao, Jun 12
Chidambaram to Digvijay Singh: Isn't it better you suffer my intellectual arrogance than your own foot-in-mouth disease? -- B V Rao, June 11
In Law minister Moily's mythical court, the "case against Warren Anderson is not yet closed". Next he'll tell us Ravan is still facing charges for Sita's kidnap and illegal detention! -- B V Rao, June 9
When we say Bhopal tragedy verdict was delivered after 26 years, I'm confused which tragedy we are referring to! -- B V Rao, June 7
?Comment (anonymous): Twenty six years of the nation's time, more so of people who died in matter of minutes and people who have struggled for these two decades to walk or even breathe, is considered to be worth just as much as two years of an 85-year old profiteer who wanted money at the cost of safety of thousands?!
There are 1700 morons in Delhi who will blow up Rs 20 lakh to grab Commonwealth Games tickets on day one of sales?! -- B V Rao, June 5
Why did Pawar take only a minority stake in an IPL bidder? Because he is committed to the minority cause!-- B V Rao, June 4
Told you...Mamata Banerjee can smile! -- BV Rao, Jun 3
Manmohan to the nation: "Here's my report card. 100 on 100. I wrote it myself." -- B V Rao, June 2
Nita Ambani tries to keep her kids well-grounded, have middle-class values. Like she doesn't "send the plane to fetch them". I want to be THAT middle-class! -- B V Rao, June 1
What was that wretched soul trying to do? Teach Sri Sri Ravishankar the Art Of Leaving? -- B V Rao, May 31
In a motivational talk to his team, Argentina coach Diego Maradona said he would run naked on the streets of Buenos Aires if they win the World Cup. Me thinks he has given them the best excuse not to win! -- B V Rao, May 28
What's the country's best performing mutual fund? Maya Mutual. 22.3% annualised growth for the last three consecutive years! -- B V Rao, May 27
We must believe the prime minister when he says he did not cut a deal with Mayawati to save his government. He just explained to her how badly the country needed his leadership, Maya understood and acquiesced in national interest! -- B V Rao, May 26
Why is only a Nehru-Gandhi prime minister worthy of the nation's tributes at government expense? -- B V Rao, May 21
Telecom minister A Raja has said 2G is like PDS rice and 3G like basmati. Considering how effectively he distributed Rs 60,000 crore worth of 'PDS rice' licences in minutes, Manmohan should transfer him to Food ministry to set the rotten PDS system right! -- B V Rao, May 20
Times of India: 3G auctions ring up rs 67,719 cr for govt. Hindustan Times: 3G auction rings in rs 33000 cr windfall for govt. Between 'ringing up' and 'ringing in' did the govt lose rs 34,719 crore? -- B V Rao, May 20
That if The Times of India's Hope for Peace (aman ki asha) succeeds, Times Now will not have dope for debate. -- B V Rao, May 19
That it's not just Mamta Banerjee who has forgotten she is the union railway minister. By linking every rail mishap to her absence from Delhi, the news channels too seem to think she is a signals operator or a train driver. -- B V Rao, May 18
Pranab Mukherjee has said he is hopeful he can "beat inflation in the next few months". Guess he finally found his stick. -- B V Rao, May 14
Looks like it's ram ram for Jairam from the ministry! -- B V Rao, May 13
Outgoing CJI KG Balakrishnan is not happy with the "halfway" measures to punish errant judges. Is that why his collegium fully backed Justice Dinakaran for elevation to the supreme court! -- B V Rao, May 12
Why is everybody piling on to Navin Jindal? Has he asked for Khap murders to be legalised? He must be the only MP being damned for listening to his constituents! -- B V Rao, May 11
Supreme Court's judgement on Ambani dispute made easy: Natural gas belongs to the people. And all the cash belongs to Mukesh Ambani. -- B V Rao, May 8
@yogeshgk: If Arnab Goswami were in jail with Kasab, Kasab
will never get an opportunity to complete his sentence. My variation: If Arnab and Kasab are in the same cell, Kasab will die before Arnab completes HIS sentence! -- B V Rao, May 7
Suresh Kalmadi got heavy-duty international support in his fight against sports minister MS Gill's tenure-guillotine. From Austin Sealy, treasurer of the Commonwealth Games Federation, since 1986! -- B V Rao, May 6
If every kid in this country knew that Kasab's conviction was a given, why is Ujjwal Nikam prancing around like a filmy hero? Like he has pulled off the impossible? -- B V Rao, May 4
That If the BJP has forgotten today what Shibu Soren did to them yesterday, why are they saying Soren is suffering from Alzheimer's? -- B V Rao, April 30
The way Praful Patel's daughters are ordering Air India bosses around, seems like they have not been asked a simple question: Baap ka airline samjha hai kya? -- B V Rao
Jagdish Tytler had no role in the Sikh riots of 1984. Now I can believe that Narendra Modi had no role in Gujarat riots of 2002 either. Or that all the 3000 Sikhs who died in Delhi were crushed under the big tree that fell. -- B V Rao, April 28
When the Prime Minister said emphatically that "no quarter will be given" to the Naxalites what did he really mean? With one-third of the country under their boot, don't they already have more than a quarter? And, anyway, they are not going to apply (in triplicate and through proper channel) for the Central Government's dingy Type 3 quarter in Moti Bagh, are they? So what are we denying them? -- B V Rao, April 26
Welcome back to Twitter Mr Tharoor. Here's how you can keep your tweets short: "Now that I have been cleaned up, let's clean up IPL!" -- B V Rao, April 24
Sharad Pawar saying that he has nothing to do with either the IPL or the BCCI is just like Sonia Gandhi saying Manmohan Singh runs the country! -- B V Rao, April 23
Shashi Tharoor was mentoring Kochi, Praful Patel was mentoring Tharoor. Pray, who was mentoring Praful? And why does it suddenly seem like there were more "mentors" than bidders for the IPL auctions? -- B V Rao, April 22
That it's strange that Shashi Tharoor should insist that he has done nothing "improper, unethical or illegal" and implore the Prime Minister to investigate the charges against him. Now, how will the Prime Minister go about this? Will Manmohan start the investigation by summoning himself for questioning? Or will he call the entire core group? -- B V Rao, April 20
That Shashi Tharoor's ministerial stint can be summed up in four words: Twitter. Glitter. Stutter. Quitter. -- B V Rao, April 19
That if GenTwit is the "new India" because of its "support" to Shashi Tharoor, I am happy to be "ancient India". -- B V Rao, April 17
That Shashi Tharoor is right when he says that it is "insulting" to his friend Sunanda Pushkar "to say an attractive woman can't be a successful businesswoman". Rs 70 crore of sweat equity in the Kochi IPL team without a bead of sweat expended is the mark of a business genius. -- B V Rao, April 16
?Tharoor is right a second time over when he protests that Sunanda Pushkar is not fronting for him. "That means I'm really dumb. If I wanted to be corrupt then would I do it like this?" Just one question: How would you have done it, sir? -- B V Rao, April 16
Digvijay Singh has publicly said that he has been a victim of Home Minister P Chidambaram's "intellectual arrogance". Chidambaram is pleased he has been called an intellectual! -- B V Rao, April 15
That when people start taking bets on which will relent first - the rising prices or the rising mercury - it's time for the government to sweat over both the state of the economy and the environment.
-- Sarthak Ray, April 14
That life must have been very tough for Shashi Tharoor in the UN. Twenty-nine years and not one controversy!
-- BV Rao, April 13
That the dwindling availability of water supplied by public utilities and its deteriorating quality are resulting in ever-increasing household expenditure on water and a booming private 'water industry', both organised and unorganised.
Households in Delhi, for example, are spending more and more on electric motors and energy consumption to pull water from supply pipes and fill their overhead tanks. In most cities, private expenditure on water purifiers and mineral water to tackle the problem of bad water quality is on the rise. Water must now be one of the most profitable businesses in India.
While de jure privatisation of water supply is still being resisted vehemently in Indian cities, it has already become a reality for most people. We pay taxes to the government for running water treatment plants and supplying us water, we pay tariffs that are currently modest but will only go up with time, and we also pay through the nose to buy water and water purifiers and foot larger energy bills.
Therefore, de facto privatisation of water supply has already happened to a large extent.
-- Kapil Bajaj, April 12
That if Justice Dinakaran is not fit to be the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, why is he fit to be the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court? What is it with Sikkim that every judge who needs to be disciplined is packed off to the High Court there? -- B V Rao, April 9
?Like someone said on another thread, may be its because in the NE states, you need to be a native to own land. -- Rajesh Ramaswamy.
?Overheard on twitter: "I think somebody said 'sack him' but somebody else heard it as Sikkim. Hence." Karthik Hulikal
?In this country, if you are a government babu and you commit a murder, the best punishment government can think of is transfer. Transfer is institutionalised as punishment. Even media screams IMPACT if their targets are transferred.
Where is Arundhati Roy? After her 32-page essay on the selfless Maoists, don't we deserve to hear at least 32 words from her on the Dantewada massacre? -- B V Rao, April 8
Is it just me or is this NRI hotelier, Sant Singh Chatwal, mocking at the Indian media as if to say "swear at me all you want but I will still take the Padma Bhushan because I've got the government to swear by me"? B V Rao, April 7
That West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is justly upset with Home Minister P Chidambaram for using uncouth, non-political language. Chidambaram used four words that are not generally part of any decent politician's lexicon: "Buck stops with you." -- Prasanna Mohanty, April 6
?They are both right. Chidambaram said the buck must stop with Buddha, Buddha said the bak-bak must stop with Chidambaram! -- Ashish Mehta
That I was way off mark about Manmohan Singh all this while. Exhorting children across the nation to go to school, he told them yesterday that he "is what he is today because of his education". Stupid me, I was thinking he is what he is today (Prime Minister) because Sonia Gandhi is an Italian by birth. -- B V Rao, April 2
That, thankfully, not many of us have the misfortune of having to appoint our own boss, but poor Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had to not just appoint Sonia Gandhi as the head of the National Advisory Council, a sort of super-PMO, but had to actually pat himself on the back for a good job well done! Sonia's appointment, he said, "will bring to bear a new dimension to the working of the government." Yes, Prime Minister! -- B V Rao, April 1
In deference to the sensitivities of the people of Quatar regarding bare feet, M F Husain has started wearing socks instead of going bare foot like in India. What a hypocrite! -- Easwaran, March 31
?It must have been the scorching desert sun under his bare feet rather than the sensitivity of the desert people... - B V Rao
The marriage of Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik underscores two delightful sports cliches. For her, game, set and match and for him, bowling a maiden over. -- Bikram Vohra, Khaleej Times
That the Congress is treating Amitabh Bachchan like the plague because he has endorsed brand Gujarat. Which is all very well, but you might be tempted to ask, like Amitabh has, as to why the Congress does not feel similar moral outrage when it receives donations from industrialists who have also embraced brand Gujarat. Don't ask, because the Congress has a scientific explanation for that one: plague is not known to be spread by currency notes! -- B V Rao, March 30
Why doesn't Amar Singh understand? It's not like Jaya Bachchan does not miss him but perhaps she can't decide if she will miss him as much as she will miss the perks of the Rajya Sabha if she angers Mulayam Singh.
B V Rao, March 29
Now that Law Minister Veerappa Moily is planning to frame a law to bar criminals from politics, should he not frame a law to bar politicians from crime too?
Ashish Mehta, March 26
That the government should create a "politics" category for nomination to the Rajya Sabha. That way it can rightfully nominate pet politicians who lose the Lok Sabha elections without having to turn them into "litterateurs" as has been done with Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Ashish Mehta, March 24
That governments and policy wonks are great at inventing new names for old problems. Take for example, "financial literacy", "financial inclusion" and "financial services" and read what Pranab Mukherjee said at a conference in Bangalore: "Financial literacy is a prerequisite for effective financial inclusion, which will ensure that financial services reach the unreached and the under-reached." Minister, minister... don't you think that what the deprived millions need more than financial inclusion, financial literacy and financial services, is simple, plain finance? You know, some hard cash?!
B V Rao, March 23
Now that the IPL cricket teams have been sold for bigger millions than the European football league teams, we can all pretend there never was any recession, really. We have Lalit Modi's word for it, don't we?
B V Rao, March 22
That the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India, and their subsequent decimation, adds a whole new dimension to the old adage: killing two birds with one stone!
B V Rao, March 19.
That if you are looking to hire the most honest person in India today, look no farther than Mayawati's garland-maker!
-- B V Rao, Tuesday, March 16
It occurred to me this morning...
For a colony that is coming up on the Yamuna river bed without regard for its future, why are the five blocks in the posh Commonwealth Games Village being named after five rivers? Yamuna itself is missing from the nomenclature; Sindhu, Ganga, Narmada, Brahmaputra and Kaveri are the five residential blocks. Is it because the Yamuna is now a goner, that the last nail has been driven into its coffin? Or does it suggest an unfinished agenda, that there are five more major rivers to be taken over?
-- B V Rao, Monday, March 15.
It occurred to me this morning...
Considering how frenetically former president APJ Kalam is criss-crossing the world on the lecture circuit he should soon write a sequel to Wings Of Fire, his chart buster book, and call it Wings On Fire. -- B V Rao (March 13, 2010)
It occurred to me this morning...
How come the government has been pushing for privatisation when we are paying more and more taxes?
It's that time of the year when we worry about taxes more than any other ills plaguing our little worlds. So I started wondering. Time was when the government was into everything -- from building roads and bridges to making breads. That was when paying taxes was a status symbol. Post-1992, economy grew, more and more people came into the tax net, even modest pen-pushers like me end up paying so much tax that it seems like gifting a TV, a refrigerators and an AC to the government every year. I look around and realise I am among millions whose parents possibly never went beyond an humble savings account (preferably in a post-office) and the next generation is splurging money even on tax consultants. So, I wonder, how come the government says only now that it does not have money for everything that it was doing all these years? So, we pay taxes AND toll for the roads, high fees for private education for children and so on. I am sure an economist can tell me where my money is going, but then I will not be able to understand the jargon. -- Ashish Mehta (March 10, 2010)
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