Nora Chopra

Richard Verma, US ambassador to India, is a real charmer. He like a shrewd diplomat connected with the Indian audiences who had come to hear him talk on the India-US relations recently. A Punjabi born in Jalandar, he endeared himself to the audiences by playing on his Indian roots. He narrated an anecdote where his father had the habit of introducing himself to every visiting Indian about his Indian origins. He said when in 2009 after his appointment, the Indian prime minister came to Washington the whole night preceding it his father kept saying that when he meets the Indian PM, he must tell him that he belongs to Jalandhar in Punjab but Verma kept telling him that he would not do it as it was against the etiquettes. But when the next day ,the Indian prime minister was being introduced to everyone and when his chance of being introduced  came, the prime minister stopped and asked him whether he had anything to do with India. And on knowing that Verma’s parents had Indian roots, the PM asked him where from he hailed, Verma told him that he belonged to Jalandhar. The PM was extremely happy to know about the envoy’s Indian roots. He said he too belonged to Jalandhar and asked him about his parents. The prime minister then narrated  his family history.


Poor Raj Babbar. He was made the UPCC chief but, of late, he has been left alone to fend for himself and his party that he is leading. The upper caste leadership of the Uttar Pradesh Congress recently boycotted the dalit yatra flagged off by Babbar. Sheila Dixit,  chief ministerial face of the Congress as well as  campaign committee chief Sanjay Singh both were conspicuous by their absence. Even Pramod Tiwari who is always present at all UPCC functions, was also absent and so was Nirmal Khatri, chairman of the screening committee.. Eyebrows were also raised at the absence of Ghulam Nabi Azad who is the real adviser of Rahul Gandhi. Even PK who had advised Rahul to project a Brahmin as the Congress face for the CM post, was not present.. The only two persons who were present with Babbar were PL Punia and the AICC secretary K Raju. Both Punia and Raju are dalit leaders of the Congress but have no mass base. As for  Babbar his popularity is by virtue of being a film star who is a secular person but if he leads the dalit yatra by virtue of being a sunhar or an MBC he is unlikely to get recognition or support from the dalits or OBCs or MBCs.


The annual Cricket match between parliamentarians and journalists has always been the cynosure of all eyes. Kirti Azad, cricketer turned BJP MP was one of the pioneers who started this match, may not be there this time. If one believes the buzz in parliament, Azad, it may be recalled, fell out with his party after he took on finance minister of today Arun Jaitley  levelling corruption charges relating to Delhi Cricket Association. In all likelihood, Azad  will not be part of the team of parliamentarians in the match against journos. (IPA)

Sunday, 11 December, 2016