Business Standard

Sunanda K Datta-Ray: When Didi met Madam

As reported by a fly on the wall at 10 Janpath, New Delhi, on Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Related News

Sonia Gandhi: What beautiful flowers you have brought Mamataji!
Mamata Banerjee: They are not more beautiful than you. After turning into London, Digha into Sentosa and Darjeeling into Switzerland, I will turn Bengalis into Italians.

SG: I am Indian.
MB: Yes, yes, of course. I was thinking of Ottavio Quattrocchi sahib. If only Bengalis could be businessmen like him we wouldn’t have had Nandigram and Singur. You are true Bharat Mata, Soniaji. That’s why I want an Indian which means as president of India that is Bengal, I mean Bharat. At least, I want today. Tomorrow I may want someone else.

SG: Then we can agree for today only on that great son of Bengal, Pranab Mukherjeeji?
MB: I respect you Soniaji and will do whatever you say. But what about Hamid Ansariji?

SG: W-e-ll, Ansariji is minority community and, mercifully, not the NDA’s minority choice! Unfortunately, he’s not Bengali. And Bengal has been unhappy ever since 1996 because of the historic mistake over Jyoti Basu. We thought a Bengali president the next best thing to PM. But who?
MB: Gopal Gandhi is almost Bengali.

SG: They would say I’m pushing another Gandhi.
MB: can talk of Netaji.

SG: People would accuse me of doing another Pratibha Patilji. You are too busy with Bengal, and Mukul Royji won’t give up wagons, I mean Railways. So, Pranabji came up. People say Pranab Mukherjee stands for permanent “PM”. He constantly reminds us Indiraji authorised him. In fact, that’s why Rajivji couldn’t stand him. Manmohanji stands everything and everybody. Even so, things might be easier if Pranabji were in Rashtrapati Bhavan. As a politician you will understand better than me the advantage of killing two birds with one stone.
MB: I am a novice Soniaji. I can learn politics at your feet. But as I said to that Bengali girl on CNN-IBN, Pranabda is not son of Bengal. He is son of the world.

SG: Who else?
MB: Mulayamji says until I am ready for Rashtrapati Bhavan, we should have a true Bengali. knows what it is to be defeated. He is now in London where all good Bengalis go when it gets too hot here. He also speaks well.

SG: That’s why we made him Speaker. But the Left may disagree.
MB: Yes, Bengalis are disagreeable. The Left only listens to Pranabda.

SG: Still, you threw them out! I admire you so much for that. You run a one-man party.
MB: I learnt from you. But you must assert yourself more, Soniaji. I have always said so.

SG: Yes, I remember you saying that about 15 years ago.
MB: On December 12, 1997. I put it in my book of unforgettable memories. Pages 111 and 112 in case you are forgetting. You should take over.

SG: As president? Or PM? What about my inner voice?
MB: No no, I mean really take over. Even Azim Premji says India has no leader.

SG: I have taken over the party, the government, the country. Is anything left Mamataji?
MB: You must take over the future Soniaji. You cannot control the present unless you control the future.

SG: How can I do that?
MB: Mulayamji says he is always thinking of the future like Jawaharlal Nehruji and Indiraji did. You must do the same. Children are the future. Mulayamji says that’s why Akhileshji is Uttar Pradesh chief minister today.

SG: But the prime ministership isn’t vacant!
MB: The Railways ministry wasn’t vacant either.

SG: You are full of ideas Mamataji.
MB: Only a brilliant economist can guide India in these difficult times.

SG: It depends on where the economist is.
MB: The higher the better.

SG: You said that Mamataji.
MB: One other thing, Soniaji. You know the media. They will pester me with questions. Can I reveal our discussion? At least some names?

SG: As you know, Congress doesn’t believe in censorship. But tomorrow is another day.
MB: Yes, today’s players are for today. There may be others tomorrow. Even Kalam sahib!

SG: He’s NDA!
MB: Like me yesterday. Today, I am UPA . They are saying tomorrow I should head my own coalition.

SG: Please remember Congress is always with you.
MB: It’s like a natak, a play.

SG: Thank you again for the beautiful flowers.
MB: Please accept my respectful namaskar, Soniaji. Talking to you is always inspiring. Until tomorrow.


 

sunandadr@yahoo.co.in  

Read more on:   
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|

Read More

Kishore Singh: Venice the menace

The Brazilian honeymooner was my age by any reckoning, his glamorous bride a little younger, and like us they’d reserved berths in the overnighter ...

Most Popular Columns

Mihir S Sharma

Mihir S Sharma: Why Congress must sack Rahul Gandhi
Mihir S Sharma

Government's reforms are too half-hearted - but Rahul Gandhi's Congress is too amateurish and inept to hold it to account

Claude Smadja

Claude Smadja: The great oil price game
Claude Smadja

Will oil prices continue to decrease, and will Saudi Arabia then step in to arrest their decline?

Praveen Chakravarty

Praveen Chakravarty: The mathematics of Maharashtra
Praveen Chakravarty

A summary of Amit Shah's master strategy that helped the BJP emerge victorious in the recent Assembly elections

Advertisement

Columnists

Arvind Panagariya

Arvind Panagariya: MSMEs - separating wheat from chaff
Arvind Panagariya

Do not look for easy interventions to help small-scale enterprises - carry out the reforms that will let them grow big

Shyamal Majumdar

Shyamal Majumdar: Can Modi sweep out inspectors?
Shyamal Majumdar

Factories need freedom from absurdities like seeking permission for working on Sundays and keeping detailed records of when the premises were ...

Joe Sharkey

Joe Sharkey: For travel pros, Ebola fears create teaching moments
Joe Sharkey

The business travel industry is warily monitoring the situation, aware of the panic created during the SARS epidemic in 2003

Back to Top