Headlines: 29th January, 2009

The Election Commission has announced the dates of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Entirely coincidentally, the Congress announced a cut in petrol and gas prices the same day.

More coincidences. Sonia laid the foundation stone for her dream project – the Rae Bareli rail coach factory, yesterday. The aim is to boost job prospects in the UP. Job prospects for her MP candidates, to be more specific. (The Congress had a vote share of 8% in the 2007 UP assembly elections).

On the other hand, it’s a pleasant change to see Sonia leaning in to lay the foundation stone. You know, after 5 long years of bending over backwards to accommodate all her allies.

Mayawati laughed it off as a political stunt pointing out that the foundation had already been laid near Baiswara way back in Feb 2007. Maybe. Thankfully, the Congress has made absolutely no progress with the project since then. At least we don’t need to do any of the development work again – it’s just the stone part.

Despite the seat-sharing agreement for UP, Amar Singh made it clear that he will not accommodate all demands of the Congress. No such luxury for the Congress. Amar Singh wants a Padma Shri for Kalyan Singh and an Ashok Chakra for Sanjay Dutt.

Sickeningly, the Ram Sena and Bajrang Dal are fighting over who gets ‘credit’ for the Mangalore incident. Capitalizing on the situation, Sanjay Dutt is opening bids for anyone wanting to take credit for planting all those AK-47s in his basement in 1993.

Believe it or not, the Ram Sena also claims to have a suicide squad of its own ready. In all probability, it has already claimed its first victim – the BJP.

Pranab Mukherjee rushed to Sri Lanka yesterday to address the situation there. Is it just me or is anyone in charge of the Finance Ministry either getting hospitalized or running away to other countries?

Pranab said the purpose of his visit is to ensure that Tamil civilians are protected and do not become hapless victims of the two fighting factions. I can see the people of Mumbai throwing their arms up in the air already….

Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani has reiterated his government’s commitment to resolve all outstanding issues with India to usher in an era of peace. Once he resolves all outstanding issues with President Zardari, that is. Kashmir can wait.

Gilani also has deal with the fact that Islamabad has seceded from Pakistan and is now an independent state. How else do you explain the “findings” of Pakistan’s dossier on the 26/11 attacks?

The residents of Mumbai’s slums are not happy at being branded ‘slumdogs’. Its just one insult after the other. First, they were called Pakistanis. Now slumdogs. All that’s left is for AK Antulay to somehow connect them to the Malegaon blasts.

A woman in California gave birth to octuplets yesterday. Great. We now have 8 more Americans who wont be buying GM cars. In response, a resigned Obama hiked the bail-out bill further up to 900 billion.

Nandan Nilekani has authored a new book titled ‘Imagining India’. Really? Do we need more imagination in this country? We’ve had CEOs running companies with 13,000 ghost employees, 400 benami accounts and non-existent cash reserves of 7,000 crores. We’re doing O.K. with the imagination part, methinks.

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