News hungry scribes make do with pakoras, ice creamPolitical Prattle II)

July 3rd, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Like the beleagured United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government running from pillar to post over the India-US civil nuclear deal, men and women in the media too are sweating it out, chasing the political brass from one party office to another. And they are feeding themselves pakoras and ice cream to beat the heat and the boredom of endless waits.

On a muggy Thursday afternoon, more than 100 news hungry journalists cursed the weather and the slippery political parties as they waited outside Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh’s residence.

For several hours, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh had been huddled with the Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, hammering out the fate of the nebulous United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) and its stand on the nuclear deal.

Driven by hunger and heat as they waited for the verdict, the journalists tucked into pakoras and ice cream to soothe the pangs of hunger.

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Om Parkash Chautala, the charmer

Mulayam Singh Yadav, chairperson, UNPA, is not known to have a glib tongue. After an over four-hour brain-wracking session with his colleagues in the alliance, he looked and sounded dreary as he spoke to mediapersons.

His lieutenant, Amar Singh, paid his usual homage to former Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet. He too looked drained.

But Om Prakash Chautala, former Haryana chief minister, with his trademark green turban stood out among the weary lot. He looked as fresh as a daisy. Even his wit, despite the enervating heat, was intact.

Taking potshots at waiting journalists, Chautala asked: “You are the most intelligent people in the country? How many of you can explain what the nuclear deal is about?”

Spicing up his repartees, Chautala said with a straight face: “The UNPA will form the next government. It stands as immovable as a rock.”

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Heat gets to D. Raja

The political crisis over the nuclear deal has finally got to the normally affable D. Raja, senior leader and MP of the Communist Party of India (CPI). Or maybe it is the unusually high level of humidity that made everybody miserable Thursday afternoon.

For a change, Raja sported a scowl and not his usual half-smile as he spoke to the media. “Ask (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh, why are you asking me?” Raja flung the question back, his decibel level higher than normal, when a television anchor asked him when the Left planned to withdraw support from the government.

“I am not responsible. Ask Manmohan Singh. He has threatened national security,” the CPI leader kept repeating and looked more and more irritable with each passing moment.

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