>> We have been fans of diplomat, journalist and political and social worker Mani Shankar Aiyar’s wit and erudition for long. Few in Delhi’s rarified political circles have his gift of the gab, but then few can boast of his gilt-lined education. With stints at Doon, St Stephen’s College and Trinity College Cambridge, Mani is a cut above the rest and what’s more, knows it.
Which is why when we read about his scathing attack on Azim Premji recently we couldn’t help contacting our old Delhi friend to ask what was going on. “It is not 8 per cent GDP growth but 0.8 per cent poverty alleviation that is the real problem in India,” said Mani. “I would have taken Azim Premji much more seriously if he had thrown a tantrum last October when the Planning Commission presented its Approach Paper to the Twelfth Five Year Plan when the National Development Council met confessing that an annual average growth rate of GDP of over 8 per cent per annum had been associated with a poverty alleviation rate of under 0.8 per cent,” fumed Mani.
“Why do the rich express little or no concern about the poor and lather themselves into a frenzy of excitement when they lose a few rupees of their market cap? I find it absurd that they should be complaining about the performance of a government, which has given India — even today — the second highest growth of any large, non-oil economy in the world,” adding, “The capitalist and industrial classes of India are the biggest beneficiaries of economic reforms, and the IT sector is the biggest of the big beneficiaries. And they start howling like whipped curs when they lose a few million of their many billions.” Fighting words those!
>> As power alliances in Maharashtra go it doesn’t get much bigger than this. Word has come in that the Harvard trained educationist and Youth Congress leader Vishwajeet Kadam son of four time Maharashtra MLA and current Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam will be marrying Swapnali Bhosale, the daughter of the flamboyant Pune-based hotelier and real estate magnate Avinash Bhosale of the well-known ABIL group.
Vishwajeet, a Rahul Gandhi loyalist and Secretary, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, which conducts 180 educational institutions across the country is known as the man to watch in state affairs and his bride to be runs a large part of her father’s expanding construction empire.
So far, the couple has only announced the plans to their close friends but the official engagement will be held in August this year followed by wedding soon. Expect a big fat Indian wedding!
Chavan’s Delhi dash
>> As we write this late on Thursday evening, a little bird tells us that Maharashtra CM has been summoned to Delhi along with all CMs of Congress ruled states to discuss the impending crisis that the Presidential elections has wrought.
“Prithviraj Chavan was already expected to be in Delhi to discuss budget matters later this week, but suddenly he’s had to air dash as matters have got very serious and the High Command wants to know if it has the numbers to carry through their Presidential candidate,” our source said adding, “If it doesn’t it might well be that we are looking for national elections way before 2014!”
Sugar Daddy Exemplar!
>> The motor mouth starlet who sees herself as Bollywood’s unofficial ambassador to Hollywood and Europe has got herself a generous patron we hear. Not only does he fly her all over the world in his private plane (so that she can have photo-ops on various red carpets) but he also threw caution to the wind and escorted her to the India Pavilion at Cannes we’re told. The gentleman in question well know for his flashy style and penchant for the good life has no interests in the film industry that we know of. So why the benevolence? Because there’s no fool like an old fool, his concerned friends say.
>> Yesterday, we received the following SMS from the alleged relationship manager that the bank we’ve been using for over three decades had assigned to us a couple of years ago. We say alleged because we have never met the person. Not even once. Not in two years. Not even after we called. Or wrote. Or complained. We say alleged because like a bad rumour we suspect our relationship manager could have been hearsay. And so as a bit of black humour and because we suspect we aren’t the only ones who have been subjected to this cruel joke of so-called personalised service by financial institutions, we’re publishing the SMS with our own dark mutterings in italics and brackets:
(For some one who has made us tear our hair out in frustration, and whose name makes our blood pressure rise it’s a bit presumptuous to greet us so cheerily don’t you think?) This is to inform you that for better prospects in life I have decided to move on and yesterday was my last day at XXX bank as your relationship manager. (Good for you, but it would have been nicer for us if in these last two years you had bothered to meet us, if not for any thing else but that we could ascertain you were not a bad joke) XXX will be your new relationship manager. (Does that mean we’ll never see him either?) I will pass my new number soon. (Please don’t pass on your new number as like your old number it has no use for us). Till then thank you very much for all your support. (If support means not complaining to your seniors at the bank because we had in the past and it hadn’t made any difference-then you’re most welcome!) Good-day and with sincerity (Harrumph!)