Archive for the ‘Just One Question’ Category

Just one question I’m dying to ask A.K. Antony

28 March 2012

Without a shadow of doubt, the relationship between the armed forces and the civilian administration is going through its most testing time in the history of post-independent India.

What started off as a simple issue over Army chief General V.K. Singh‘s date of birth has spiralled out of control into a disgraceful bushfire of scams and scandals—all being played through the media without consummate ease, and neither side emerges smelling of roses.

In the middle of all this is Arackaparambil Kurien Antony, India’s defence minister for the last seven-and-a-half years.

Like the other “Mr Clean”, prime minister Manmohan Singh, the taciturn and incomprehensible Kerala politician chose silence while the Sukna land scam was raging and while the Adarsh housing scam was unravelling. Little wonder, when General Singh says he brought the issue of a Rs 14 crore bribe offer to his notice, Antony’s reaction, on available evidence, was neither here nor there.

Now, after Gen Singh’s letter to the PM on the state of India’s defences has become public (and enemy) knowledge, after Parliament has been stalled two days in a row, the focus on Antony is getting even more intense. And questions are being asked if personal integrity is a much-overvalued commodity in our polity.

So, what is the one question you would like to ask A.K. Antony?

Like, has he ever considered resigning from his job?

Like, does he understand the situation in Pakistan better?

Keep your queries short, civil and simble.

Photograph: courtesy India Today

One question I’m dying to ask M.S. Dhoni

4 January 2012

There is little good news wafting in from Down Under for cricket fanatics switching on TV before brushing their teeth. Sachin Tendulkar seems to have taken a vow not to score his 100th hundred till the Lok Pal bill is passed. The gap between Rahul Dravid‘s bat and pad seems to getting wider than the creases on his forehead. V.V.S. Laxman has a priceless tour average of 1.6 from the three innings in the first two Tests.

Gautam Gambhir still thinks he is on his honeymoon. Virat Kohli can barely believe his luck that he got a look-in ahead of Rohit Sharma once again. If Ravichandran Ashwin bowls so many balls that go the other way, he might be a legspinner before he returns home. Etcetera.

It could all change, of course, cricket being a game of glorious uncertainties and all that. But this was not the way the Agneepath tour was supposed to be and it would seem that the Star Cricket commentary team has more players with  more fire in the belly than the ones on the ground. The World Cup victory is now firmly history as the tennis scoreline of 0-4 in England now looks like being repeated before the Australian Open.

On top of Team India’s travails is Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s captaincy. The midas touch seems to desert him as soon as he gets a visa stamp on his passport. And as if the waning of the three greats wasn’t enough, the experts are asking questions of his captaincy. Ian Chappell called him conservative recently, and Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri are mocking his bowling changes and field placings.

So, what is the one question you are dying to ask Mahi?

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: Dear God, save us from Sunny & Dada, Shaz and Waz

One question I’m dying to ask Janardhana Swamy

12 October 2011

The well-earned reputation of the average Indian politician—of a lying, looting, hypocritical, bogus, backstabbing rogue, with his eyes forever focussed on wheeling and dealing, and using his position to make a quick pile to last the next three generations of his extended family—is cynical, of course, but rarely inaccurate.

Which is why “the educated middle-class” is beside itself with joy when one of its ilk makes the cut. The presumption is that their education qualifications and professional experience will somehow make a difference to our polity.

Bangalore Mirror reports today on Janardhana Swamy, a masters from IISc who swiped his greencard at Cisco, Dell, Sun Microsystems and other giant American firms before throwing his hat in the hurly-burly of Indian politics and being elected as a BJP MP from Chitradurga.

According to the report, Swamy secured a 50×80 plot in posh Raj Mahal Vilas (RMV) extension in Bangalore for Rs 7.56 lakh (market rate: Rs 4 crore) after furnishing an affidavit that he owned no other property in Bangalore, although he had told the election commission (EC) that he owned three sites, two in his name and one in his wife’s, worth over Rs 1.5 crore.

“If I had stated that I own three sites, the BDA would never have allotted me the plot. The other sites I have are total waste,” the MP tells the paper nonchalantly.

Swamy’s hunger for land will surprise only a few, but what the 43-year-old MP shows is that the more things change in Indian politics, the more they remain the same; only the protagonists change. So, what is the one question you are dying to ask this “educated, middle class” BJP MP?

Like, how many sites, waste or otherwise, does a three-member family really require? Like, would his “mentor”, N.R. Naryana Murthy, approve such subterfuge? Like, should L.K. Advani‘s anti-corruption yatra pass through Chitradurga? Like, what would he caption a cartoon on his scam, if he were to draw one?

Please keep your queries short, civil and self-righteous. And ‘cc’ your comment to jswamy@jswamy.com

Image: courtesy Bangalore Mirror

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Kanimozhi: How many poems fetch a poet rs 8.5 crore?

Priya Krishna: One question anyone should ask Rahul Gandhi

H.D. Deve Gowda: A snapshot of a poor, debt-ridden farming family

R.V. Deshpande: A 1,611% jump in assets in five years? Hello!

Should editors and journalists declare their assets?

Just one question I’m dying to ask S.M. Krishna

11 August 2011

Although former Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna is in charge of what his handlers like to think is the weighty external affairs ministry, the consensus is that the “Son of Somanahalli” got the portfolio because he was considered a malleable lightweight who would just be glad he got the high-profile job and not come in the way of a prime minister who had made “foreign policy” his legacy issue.

(That, and the fact that the Congress high command had to repay him for his “contributions”.)

Nevertheless, Krishna’s MEA tenure has not been short of theatre. For starters, there was the well-advertised five-star stay in a hotel. Over the last few months, he has been bouncing into the public eye with one faux pas after another. In February, he read the speech of the Portugese foreign minister at the United Nations for a full three minutes; in June, got into a flap for extending an official trip to Britain to watch Wimbledon.

A fortnight ago ago, news of his threatening to sue The Times of India for mentioning his name as among those who would be indicted by the Lok Ayukta in the illegal mining scam, made it to TV news bulletins. Six days ago, the litigious advisors guarding his carefully coiffured image, advised him to threaten to sue the news agency PTI for calling him “absent-minded” in a news story which showed him, well, absent-minded in the Lok Sabha.

Now, as if to prove PTI right, Krishna has urged Pakistan to release an octagenarian doctor on humanitarian grounds, although the wheel-chair bound Dr Mohammed Khalil Chisti is lodged in a jail this of the border in Ajmer, Rajasthan. “We will, certainly pursue this at the level of the high commissioner,” he added.

Admittedly, one must take into account Krishna’s age. After all, at 79, he is the oldest member of the Manmohan Singh team. The fact that he still has the energy to fly off to distant countries speaks enormously of his stamina. Still, there is such a thing as calling a spade a bloody shovel, and it is clear that Krishna, used as he was to the kid-glove treatment at the hands of the Bangalore media, is being thoroughly exposed on the national stage.

What is the one question you are dying to ask the patron saint of IT-BT after his latest gaffe?

Like, is he the first human being who nods in agreement with what he is about to say? Like, does he demand frappe from his son-in-law’s Cafe Coffee Day whereever his work takes him?  Like, is it true that he turned down the Oscar award this year for the best performance in a foreign language?

Please keep your queries short, civil and “G category”.

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S.M. Krishna on the kidnapping and release of Dr Raj Kumar

One question I’m dying to ask B.S. Yediyurappa

27 July 2011

After a minor leak and much drama baazi, the Lok Ayukta report on illegal mining in Karnataka is officially out, and the facts provide the full and final proof of the manner in which China’s vociferous appetite for steel changed the political paradigm in the State, earning it the sobriquet of “India’s Most Corrupt State“.

The loss to the exchequer between 2006 and 2010 is estimated at over Rs 16,000 crore; the loss between March 2009 and April 2010 itself at Rs 1,827 crore. The chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has been named, as indeed as his predecessor H.D. Kumaraswamy despite their “tearful” performance every now and then.

More to the point, the report indicates that the CM of god’s own party who spouts “development” like a stuck record, was a direct beneficiary, his family having been paid by cheque by the mining companies. Yet, while the BJP attacks the Congress in Delhi on corruption, its “gateway to the south” seems to be rotting to the point of decay.

What is the one question you are dying to ask Yediyurappa and the BJP?

Like, could Yediyurappa’s defiance cost the BJP on the national stage, just like Narendra Damodardas Modi‘s? Like, could Shobha Karandlaje as a potential successor to Yediyurappa mean it’s “all in the family”? Like, is it true that the silence of key members of the BJP and RSS, in Delhi and Bangalore, was purchased for a price?

Or, were all those visits to temples and mutts eventually of no use? Or was it a licence?

File photographKarnataka Photo News

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Yedi and Reddy

One question I’m dying to ask H.R. Bharadwaj

Has the BJP lost all sense of shame in Karnataka?

One question I’m dying to ask Manmohan Singh—III

28 June 2011

The irony is stark. The tenure of an acclaimed economist has seen galloping inflation running over the aam admi on whose shoulders his government came to power. Even while the mandatory references are made to his honesty and integrity, corruption has reached stratospheric levels while his party and government bury their heads in the hand and shortcircuit the Lokpal bill by seeking to keep the prime minister’s office out of it.

Now, while Congressmen with an ear to 10, Janpath light a fuse under his chair by announcing the readiness of Rahul Gandhi to take over, and others are bugging the offices of other pretenders to the throne, the battered and beleaguered PM is set to met the media scrum tomorrow, his third such interaction in 13 months since May 2010, after a national press conference and a meeting with print editors, followed by a pow-wow with the TV types.

What Manmohan seeks to achieve is clear—to convey to the nation that he is in charge, that he is doing his damnedest to put an end to all the troubles, and to show that reports of his prime ministerial death in the 20th year of reforms are grossly exaggerated. Underlying all this is the notion that the solution to the problems ailing him and his government magically lies not in meeting the aspirations of the people, but in meeting the media.

But as with all such gatherings, the PM will only be addressing “select” editors, each of whom will only be allowed to ask one question (no supplementaries, please), which means any attempt to pin him down will be impossible. Result: the prime minister who has a face for the radio, will reel out his answers in his trademark deadpan, monotonous manner that is unlikely to set the Yamuna on fire.

What is the one question the gentlemen of the media should ask Manmohan Singh because “the nation wants to know”?

Illustration: courtesy Xavi/ Toon Pool

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Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Manmohan Singh-I

One question I’m dying to ask Manmohan Singh—II

Have the middle-classes deserted Manmohan Singh?

CHURUMURI POLL: Is Manmohan Singh still “Mr Clean”?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will Manmohan Singh be PM till 2014?

One question I’m dying to ask Manmohan—II

15 February 2011

Never the most articulate of speakers, a battered and beleaguered Manmohan Singh has reportedly decided to subject himself to a grand inquisition at the hands of the tigers of television. Tomorrow morning, if all goes as planned, a set of TV journalists will fling their questions at the prime minister.

And, hopefully, he will answer them. Live.

Unlike his previous interaction with the media, which came in the backdrop of naxalism, price rise, 2G and “trust deficit”, this time’s pow-wow comes in the midst of soaring inflation, “governance deficit”—and the S-band scam which has brought questions about his “conspiracy of silence, culpable inaction and gross indifference” to his doorstep.

Plus, there is the “Shankaracharya of Lavasa”, Arun Shourie‘s claim that he told the PM that the loot (in the 2G scam) was happening in his name, etc.

Hopefully, the ladies and gentlemen of the idiot box will not hurl soft-ball questions at the PM and will not stop with vague answers. Still, why give them a chance? What is the one question that the Arnabs, Barkhas and Rajdeeps should ask sadda Manmohan (provided they are invited, that is)?

Like, Mr Prime Minister, “the nation wants to know”, do you think it is all over for you? Like, Mr PM, why was Montek Singh Ahluwalia picked for the Padma Vibhushan?

Please refrain from keeping your queries longwinded and self-congratulatory, thank you.

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Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Manmohan Singh-I

Have the middle-classes deserted Manmohan Singh?

CHURUMURI POLL: Is Manmohan Singh still “Mr Clean”?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will Manmohan Singh be PM till 2014?

Just vonne one question I’m dying to ask Ranjitha

1 January 2011

The single biggest contribution to civilisation of Jaya Jaitley, the socialite companion of the socialist turned saffronist leader George Fernandes, is to not just distrust what we read or hear, but also to distrust what we see with our own naked eyes.

Caught with her hand in the hundi in the Tehelka sting operation that also saw BJP president Bangaru Laxman smoothly slipping rupees into his drawer, Jaitley worked her South Delhi connections to convince an illiterate nation that every piece of video is fake until proven genuine.

A delusion quite close to that seems to have struck Ranjitha, the actress who was videographed providing daily bliss to Swami Nithyananda in the early part of 2010.

The godman has not disputed that it is he who is the recipient of godsent pleasures in the tapes but the actress who athletically straddles him, smothers him and massages him claims she is not the pleasure-giver we saw.

It is fabricated. I am not the person in it. In fact, at that time, I was in a room that I was sharing with another female devotee in the Dhyanapeetham ashram.”

She alleges that she was the victim of an extortion attempt, and that a Christian missionary was behind it.

What is the one question devotees of the scandal, who were not in the room, would like to ask the actress who starred a film called Jai Hind?

Like, is this is what is called the ‘missionary position‘?

Like, does she believe we are all suckers?

Please keep your queries short, dark and hirsute, “as demanded by the script”?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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More truth, according to little Nithyananda

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‘Male & female ecstasy, including sexual energy’

One question I’m dying to ask Barkha Dutt

30 November 2010

Barkha Dutt, the “massively influential but ethically embattled TV news anchor” of  NDTV 24×7, is subjecting herself to a massively advertised, pre-recorded public inquisition with four carefully chosen peers to extricate her credibility out of the sludge that the Niira Radia tapes have thrown her and her channel in.

Cruel wags are calling it “We, the Peepli [Live]“, “The Buckwas Stops Here”, “The Buck Stops There”.

What is the one question that you are dying to ask Ms Dutt that the Delhi journalists are likely to have missed. Please keep your queries short, civil and journalistic.

Photograph: courtesy Eric Miller/ WEF via The Daily Beast

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Also read: BARKHA DUTT on the allegations against her

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NDTV response on Barkha Dutt

Vir Sanghvi‘s response to the Radia tapes

One question I’m dying to ask Sonia Gandhi—III

3 November 2010

Hundreds of crores of rupees siphoned off in the Commonwealth Games…. Hundreds of crores gobbled up in the allocation of 2G spectrum space…. Hundreds of crores played around at will in the allotment of flats in a building meant for the martyrs of the Kargil war.

And all that the gigantic scams evoke from the president of the Congress is thundering, deafening, ear-splitting silence, with not a single member of the all India Congress committee (AICC) referring to the allegations of financial irregularities that have occurred under the watch of the Congress-led UPA government.

Congress leaders are taking cover under the fact that probes have been launched and are ongoing in the scams that have grabbed public attention. But surely, a call for probity can’t be that difficult to muster especially when you can be sure that keeping silent is not going to produce the opposite result?

Qual è l’unica domanda che vorrei porre Sonia Gandhi per il suo silenzio che circonda le truffe?

Tenete le vostre domande a breve, civile e pieno di crore.

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Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Sonia Gandhi—I

One question I’m dying to ask Sonia Gandhi—II

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—I

The only question anyone should ask Rahul Gandhi

One question I’m dying to ask Suresh Kalmadi

One question I’m dying to ask H.R. Bharadwaj

12 October 2010

Barely a day after B.S. Yediyurappa “won” a vote of confidence in a severely depleted House by a voice-vote—and barely 18 hours after he himself recommended President’s rule in Karnataka—governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj has given “another chance” to the BJP government to prove that it has the trust of the majority of MLAs.

The Governor’s move overshadows a planned parade of the 105 MLAs that the BJP was planning before the President and the ruling of the Karnataka high court on the disqualification of the BJP MLAs and independents that was so crucial in Yediyurappa’s victory. But what if the CM, who has won the vote, declines to take a fresh one, or if the HC rules that the disqualification of MLAs was by the book?

What is the one question you’re dying to ask H.R. Bharadwaj?

Keep your queries short, civil and gubernatorial.

Cartoon: courtesy Keshav/ The Hindu

Just one question I’m dying to ask Suresh Kalmadi

24 September 2010

The Commonwealth Games 2010 have been a stupendous PR disaster for a country that likes to think that it is racing alongside China. What was to have been New Delhi’s response to Beijing’s Olympics, has become a 21st century epitaph of ancient Indian specialities such as corruption, nepotism, inefficiency, unaccounability and worse.

Now that the shit has really hit the false ceiling, metaphorically speaking, what is the one question you would like to ask namma Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the organising committee who was known as Suresh “Calamity” in the Indian Air Force because of his ability to run into calmaities calamities with his car every so often?

Like, would Rahul baba have handled this better like his papa did the Asian Games in 1982? Like, is his sense of hygiene the same as his Man Friday, Lalit Bhanot‘s?

Please keep your queries short, civil and direct—and deduct 10% at source.

Cartoon: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

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External reading: A ringmaster’s reckoning

Just one question I’m dying to ask sadda M.S. Gill

15 September 2010

When Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold, he stood up and said: “I congratulate myself and every Indian.” When Saina Nehwal called on him, he looked at her coach and said, “Who’s are you?” (It was the badminton ace, Pullela Gopichand.)

When parliamentarians probed him on the CWG scam, he asked them to obtain details by filing an RTI application. Now, when world wrestling champ Sushil Kumar wanted to pose with his guru Satpal Singh, he shoos him away (“stay away,” he said) because he wanted no one else in the frame, messing up the picture.

What is the one question you would ask “Padma Vibhushan” sports minister Manohar Singh Gill?

Like, “Did you ask Tenzing Norgay, ‘tussi kauno‘ when you first met him?” Like, “Are you ashamed for myself and every Indian?”

Please ensure your queries conform to the election commission’s model code of misconduct.

Photograph: courtesy Commonwealth Youth Games

Also read: With sports ministers like these, God tussi great ho!

Where there’s a Gill, there’s no way for sport

Aal iz not well. Sport needs a jhadoo ki thappad

One question I’m dying to ask Yedi & Reddy

19 July 2010

After weeping and prevaricating for a fortnight, Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has issued a “101 per cent” clean chit to the Reddy brothers in the mining issue from a lofty perch of New Delhi, saying there was no evidence against them. G. Janardhana Reddy, in turn, has issued himself a “pure as 24-carat gold” certificate to him, saying all the illegal stuff was being done by his Congress brethren.

This turn of events should surprise nobody, but everybody who has followed news reports over the last three years, Lok Ayukta N. Santosh Hegde‘s resignation, the Opposition’s dharna in the Vidhana Soudha  demanding a CBI probe, and the “former future prime minister” L.K. Advani‘s clarion call to the party to save the government if the Reddys have to go, should be scratching their heads as to what the heck the hungama was all about.

So, what is the one question you are dying to ask Yediyurappa and the Reddys? Like, is it true you have registered a domain name called dabbudabbudabbu.reddybrothers.com?

Also read6+1 questions after the return of Justice Santosh Hegde

‘In Ram Rajya, hamaam mein sab nange hain

Getaway of the Louts in the Gateway to the South

CHURUMURI POLL: Dismiss BJP govt in Karnataka?

GOOD NEWS: Karnataka beats AP, TN, Kerala

How China changed the politics of Karnataka

How the BJP completely lost the plot in Karnataka

One question I’m dying to ask Paul the octopus

12 July 2010

Now that World Cup is over and Paul the England-born German octopus has beaten Singapore parakeet of Malaysian origin, Mani, with his awesome “100% guaranteed” predictions, he is taking any work that can come his way to prevent his masters from boiling him alive. He is, in fact, welcoming questions from around the world.

So what is the one prediction you would like Paul to make?

Like, between Mandira Bedi and Mayanti Langer, which “box” would he open? Like, between Shane Warne and Anil Kumble, who is the greatest bowler ever? Like, between Narendra Modi and Lalit Modi, which Modi is the long arm of the law likely to catch up with first?

Keep your querie, well, let’s say it in German so that Paul can also understand it: “Halten sie ihre fragen kurz, einfach und augenzwinkern.”

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

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The glorious strides being made by India in sport

CHURUMURI POLL: Mandira Bedi or Mayanti Langer?

QUIZTIME: The cricketer in the football team?

‘The presence of the other team messes it all up’

One question I’m dying to ask R.V. Deshpande

9 June 2010

Indian politicians and public servants are masters at making money off the living—and the dead.

George Fernandes played over the dead bodies of the martyrs of Kargil in the coffin scam. Money raised for the victims of the devastating tsunami were diverted in Tamil Nadu without batting an eyelid. Time magazine’s Asian Hero one month for flood relief, IAS officer Gautam Goswami was soon in the doghouse.

And so it is with Karnataka Congress president R.V. Deshpande who lists “service to mankind, especially poor” among his interests, and has just been exposed for misuse of funds collected for last year’s flood in Karnataka. The state Congress is alleged to to have used flood relief funds for buying air tickets, t-shirts and advertisemens.

What is the one question you are dying to ask Deshpande? Like, since the IPL-tained Praful Patel is his son’s father-in-law, does hera-pheri run in the family? Like, is this why he stalled the attempts to secure information about his assets and liabilities because they are “personal and confidential“?

Please contribute generously.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Must read: A 1,611 per cent jump in assets in five years. Hello!

By George, it’s pati, patni aur woh and some crores

One question I’m dying to ask Sri Sri Ravishankar

5 June 2010

India’s Future Nobel Laureate, Sri Sri Ravishankar‘s protestations of a dastardly bid on his life have come to nought with the Karnataka police asserting that the stray bullet that grazed past “Mr Shankar” five minutes after he had left the assassination spot was aimed not at the godman but wild dogs on a neighbour’s farm.

Disappointing “Internet Hindus” who saw this “incident” as another assault on Hinduism, the DGP Ajai Kumar Singh has said the neighbour had fired at the wild dogs which were blocking his way, one of which sailed across into the Art of Living campus and lovingly caressed a disciple’s trousers.

What is the one question you are dying to ask Sri Sri? Like, is there a Swami Nithyananda angle behind the exaggerated efforts to paint this as an assassination attempt?

Please keep your queries short short, sharp sharp, and CoD-friendly.

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Target Sri Sri?

The the great great Sri Sri NGO NGO scam scam

When a newspaper recites the Gita to a godman

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One question I’m dying to ask Manmohan Singh

24 May 2010

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met the ladies and gentlemen of the Indian media for the second time in six years on the completion of the first year of his second term today—and parroted the usual cliches about corruption, Naxalism, “trust-deficit“, inflation, 2G, Rahul G and Sonia G.

The only time Singh paused to ponder in his monotonous 75-minute powwow was when he was asked whose advice he valued more: his wife Gursharan Kaur or Sonia Gandhi.  Otherwise, the whole thing went as his media meisters would have hoped, with longhops being deflected to fineleg.

What is the one question you would have asked Manmohan Singh?

Keep your queries sharp and pointed. And, as per Press Information Bureau norms, “no supplementaries please”.

One question I’m dying to ask P. Chidambaram

7 April 2010

Operation Greenhunt, the UPA government’s branded effort to quell the challenge posed by “the gravest internal security threat”, i.e. the Maoists, has suffered its biggest humiliation, yet, with the dastardly slaying of 74 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a lone head constable of the Chhatisgarh police.

The attack came just days after the Harvard-educated lawyer-home minister P. Chidamabaram called the Naxals “cowards” and reminded the West Bengal government about where the “buck” stops. And it comes a couple of months after he and the naxals had publicly exchanged phone and fax numbers.

The attack takes the sheen off Chidambaram’s aggressive, “hot-pursuit” approach that has come in for much praise from the urban media (and the BJP), as opposed to a slow, measured, all-things-considered approach, and it poses a big question mark on the man many believe is positioning himself to replace Manmohan Singh if push comes to shove.

The high price paid by the jawans implementing Chidambaram’s act-first-think-later approach, which also triggered off  the Telegana mess, also raises questions about the “CEO of the war”, as author Arundhati Roy has dubbed him, because he is alleged to be fighting a proxy war for his former corporate clients.

What is the one question you’re dying to ask Thiru Palaniappan Chidambaram?

Please keep your enquiries smooth, well oiled and civil.

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: ‘What Muslims were to BJP, Naxals are to Congress’

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When Priyanka meets Nalini, she’s a messiah. When…?

Just one question I’m dying to ask Nithyananda

7 March 2010

Nearly a week after a crystal clear video of his achievement of “life bliss” with the one-time actress Ranjitha took him to the apex of Twitter, YouTube and Google, the self-proclaimed “Piddling Paramahamsa”, Nithyananda, has surfaced, Osama bin Laden style, to read out a grainy, boilerplate, “official” response.

“Dear one and all

“There have been many allegations against me and my organisations in recent days. But at the same time, I have also received a flood of supporting emails and testimonials, from devotees all over the world. They are all shocked to hear these allegations.

“I want to assure you all, all of you, that nothing illegal has been done by me or by any of my organisations.

“We are collecting in the process of collecting evidence to establish the falsity and motive of this smear campaign that has been going against me. I will address all the allegations and issue a detailed explanation. Meanhile, I urge everyone not to rush to judgement before all the facts have been put on the table and carefully examined.

“Please wait for a few days till we collect all the facts, all the informations, and clearly present it to you all. I thank all the devotees for their overwhelming support and for standing with me at this challenging time.

“Thank you, thank you all.”

Clearly, the “Piddling Paramahamsa” places no store by what people have seen, and is only concerned about what people have heard, namely the allegations of gobbling up land, who is behind the video, etc.

What is the one question you are dying to ask the “Piddling Paramahamsa”. Please keep your queries short, yogic, and full of ananda.

Link via Vidhi Likhitha

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Also read: Another good swami in the service of mankind

When the mountains spoke silently down below

Wanted: a uniform civil code for man and godman

One question I’m dying to ask… N.D. Tiwari

26 December 2009

The most surprising part about this grainy video of a young woman smooching an almost-comatose body is not that it belongs to a greasy Congressman, but that he is four score and six—86 years—old.

For long, the Andhra Pradesh governor—a name once mentioned as a potential prime minister—has had to live under the shadow of a telling stanza: ‘Na nar na naari, main hoon Narain Dut Tiwari.”

And now this, a voiceover which grandly makes public his daily maniacal menu: a massage from a young girl in the morning; a post-lunch session; and then a threesome every night.

What is the one question you would like to ask “His Excellency”, the congress man?

Keep your queries young, sharp and gubernatorial.

Only question anyone should ask Rahul Gandhi

30 July 2009

Anand-1

Whoever said only losers take up the arts? At 26 years of age, Priya Krishna, MA, LLB, s/o “Layout” Krishnappa, has Rs 770 crore of movable and immovable assets; and Rs 734 crore of loans from banks and financial institutions.

If Rahul Gandhi is really all he is made out to be—the great white hope of the Congress; the prime mover towards a new, improved Congress; the man who chose bright, clean, young candidates in the 2009 general elections—how on earth does he allow someone like this to be the Congress candidate from Govindarajapura, and how does he expect the world to ignore it?

Image: courtesy The New Indian Express

Link via Anand V.

Also read: When I grow up all I want to do is be a sub-inspector

Carper’s Index: Can crorepatis relate to crores?

C.H. Vijayashankar: That’s why they asked us to shut up and vote

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi

Mayawati: For doyen of dalits, assets is all maya

Kanimozhi: How many poems can fetch a poet Rs 8.5 crore?

H.D. Deve Gowda: A snapshot of a poor, debt-ridden farming family

R.V. Deshpande: A 1,611% jump in assets in five years? Hello!

H. Anjaneya: How to grow your assets by 81,465%? Ask him.

R. Ashok: Everyone is stark naked in the public bathroom

One question you are dying to ask a real celebrity

27 July 2009

The Star Plus “reality show” Sach ka saamna has been just what “Dr Murdoch would have ordered.

The show has created a big buzz in the media. The format, lie detector and all, has gripped audiences. Court cases have been filed. And parliamentarians known for taking cash for questions have been riled by the sight of celebrities taking cash for questions like “Have you aborted a child?” etc.

Result: it’s going to rain rupees in Rupertland.

At one level, the show throws light on the murky area ratings-hungry television is getting into. At another level, the show is an indication of the growing voyeurism of a consuming class that doesn’t know where public ends and private begins. In other words, anything goes.

So far, only B-grade if not C-grade celebrities—Vinod Kambli, Raja Chaudhury, Urvashi Dholakia, et al—are letting it all hang out.

Question 1: Which A-list name would you like to see on the show?

Question 2: What is the one question you would like him/her answer?

Also read: Rupert Murdoch on India, China and democracy

‘I don’t envy those who have to follow Murdoch’

One question I’m dying to ask… M.S. Dhoni

15 June 2009

India’s ouster from the Twenty20 World Cup in England shows that 20 winks is all it takes for a defending champion to be validating return tickets. Since there is no place for logic, form, strategy, etc, in this version of the game, any post-mortem is not only illogical but pointless.

Nevertheless, all the world loves a champion and all the attention (and anger) will now be focussed on Mahendra Singh Dhoni whose face is used by advertising geniuses to sell bikes, cars, ceiling fans, chyawanprash, hair oil, phones, shoes, soft drinks, newspapers and nuclear plants built under the Indo-US deal. (OK, not the last one.)

What is the one question you are dying to ask Kaptaan Kool?

Keep your queries short of length, aim them at the head, neck and chest, and hurl them at over 140 kmph.

Also read: Prem Panicker on the defeat and after

Mysore Scandal Soap: Why Dhoni doesn’t wash

If Aishwarya Rai loves the state of her origin…

One question I’m dying to ask… Sonia Gandhi

29 April 2009

The disclosure by Indian Express yesterday that the UPA government urged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last year to withdraw the red corner notice against Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi has once again swung the limelight on the scandal that brought down Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, and rears its head every election.

Not surprisingly, the BJP sees a Sonia Gandhi link behind the clean chit to the Italian businessman and views the development as another instance of the misuse of CBI by the Congerss-led government. Not surprisingly either, the Congress denies the imputation. If Mr Q is guilty, why didn’t the BJP-led NDA government or other non-Congress governments succeed in bringing Mr Q to justice, it asks?

Nevertheless, the suspicion persists, especially against the backdrop of allegations that the Congress-led UPA is not too eger to back the BJP’s demand to bring back Indian money stashed away in Swiss banks because you know why. What is the one question you are dying to ask Sonia Gandhi about the Rs 64 crore kickbacks?

Keep your queries short, civil and all in the family.

Only comments from valid, verifiable email IDs will pass muster.

Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Sonia Gandhi—Part I


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