The BJP is mulling a major reshuffle of its movie star MPs in the Lok Sabha in time for 2019. Dissident Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha may get the axe, and Hema Malini, on shaky ground in Mathura, might be moved. The late Vinod Khanna’s seat in Gurdaspur, now held by the Congress, may go to his wife Kavita Khanna or superstar Akshay Kumar. The party plans to move Kirron Kher out of Chandigarh to fight for the prestigious Amritsar seat. Sunny Deol, now at the fag end of his film career, could be another ticket hopeful in Punjab. And Bhojpuri superstar Manoj Tiwari may be asked to vacate his Delhi Northeast Lok Sabha seat to prepare for the 2020 assembly polls. The only stars sitting pretty in this churn are Asansol MP Babul Supriyo and Ahmedabad East MP Paresh Rawal.
The entire Shiromani Akali Dal leadership turned up to do seva at the Golden Temple on patriarch Parkash Singh Badal’s birthday (December 8). But more than a celebration, they were there to ‘atone for unwitting mistakes’ during the 10 years (2007-17) SAD was in power in Punjab. They polished shoes, swept the parikrama and washed utensils at the langar. We don’t know if this is really contrition, but images of former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, with newly flowing beard, intently brushing a sneaker have been going viral on social media.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has turned quite devout of late. The CJI, who has to deliver verdicts on several crucial cases, including infighting in the CBI, has visited Guwahati’s Kamakhya temple three times since taking office on October 3. After the October security fiasco at the temple, the CJI now relies on CRPF instead of Assam police to provide security during his trips to the state. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal has failed to get an audience with the CJI despite several requests. Maybe he too should head to the temple.
YES, CHIEF MINISTER
Old habits die hard and when they are shaped by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, they’re hard to shake. Last week, when state chief secretary Malay De was asked to present himself at the court of the Chief Justice of India, De addressed CJI Ranjan Gogoi as “Yes, Madam”. Taking it sportingly, Gogoi asked the bureaucrat to correct himself. It seems De’s 18 months as Mamata’s top bureaucrat have taken their toll.
INDEX | A WEDDING TO REMEMBER
No one can accuse the Ambanis of lacking a sense of proportion. After all, if you’re the richest man in India (actually Asia, according to the people who track this sort of thing, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth having eclipsed that of Alibaba founder Jack Ma in July), your daughter’s wedding is hardly going to be a modest affair. What would be the point? How would the Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal nuptials add to the gaiety of the nation if we didn’t learn how many private planes the airport in Udaipur can accommodate, and how many crores it costs to persuade Beyonce to perform at the sangeet. Much newsprint and airtime have been devoted to covering the cream of Indian society (rich and thick, as the joke goes) descending on Udaipur for the festivities. If it weren’t for the small matter of assembly elections in five states, the wedding might have got even more media attention. So here’s some more of that spotlight