Anniversary waltz

Delhi Confidential

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal came to visit BJP patriarch L K Advani on Monday, sparking off much interest in political circles. However, it later emerged that the day happened to be 48th wedding anniversary of Advani, and Badal, who is just a month younger than Advani, had come to offer his greetings. But political discussions could certainly not be avoided from the menu. So the two were later joined by BJP president Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley to discuss NDA politics as well.

Cooking up a Storm

AS shows go, few have as high a viewership in Italy as the nation's own edition of Masterchef. There is an interesting Indian angle to the winner of this year's edition that has been especially vicious as contestants faced several controversies and audience polls. The winner of this year is Tiziana Stefanelli, who till a few months back was in New Delhi and very active in high end social circles. However, she and her husband left New Delhi in a huff in the wake of the VVIP chopper scandal. Her husband is no other than Paolo Girasole, the former India head of Finmeccancia, the parent firm of AgustaWestland that is at the centre of bribery allegations. Girasole has been named in the Italian probe as having been on a monthly retainer of Euro 10,000 by the alleged middlemen in the deal. As the report of Stefanelli's relation came to public light in Italy last week, high fireworks ensued, with the channel airing Masterchef being deluded by hate mail.

Mission Improbable

BUREAUCRATS in the Health Ministry are clueless about the reasons for deferring a Cabinet approval to the ambitious National Urban Health Mission plan. The proposal was put before the Cabinet last week and was put on hold, apparently without any specific reasons. With Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad not offering much insight, officials are now wondering whether the lack of enough funds was the reason for not giving the go-ahead for the programme. The other plausible explanation doing the rounds is that the government might be wanting to unveil the programme closer to the general election in order to gain maximum political capital out of it.

... contd.


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