(This year-end compilation is a continuation from last week)
In a confident message to set at rest the rumours that claimed the PMO and the Congress high command were moving in opposite directions, Sonia Gandhi tells the nation: ‘the Congress will not undermine the high office of the Prime Minister, especially when Manmohan Singh himself is doing a fine job of it’.
Manmohan Singh, in a new show of firmness, meets top five Editors in the country, and asserts that he is his own man as the Prime Minister and has an intercom extension for his exclusive use.
With the 2G scandal hogging all the headlines, Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister for Explaining Scams, points out that only the then Telecom Minister A Raja suffered a loss of 1.76 lakhs of crores in his personal capacity. ‘Such amounts of money are notional for the government. But it’s anyway chickenfeed for DMK Ministers’, he added.
Inflation level in the country is worrisome, but Indians need not worry, says the country’s Finance Minister.
Constitutional experts opine that Manmohan Singh should be kept beyond the ambit of the new anti-corruption Bill. ‘It’s Lok Pal. He can be brought within its purview only if it’s Rajya Pal, as he is a member of Rajya Sabha alone,’ they explained with clarity.
Taking cognizance of the sustained failures of the Indian team in the first Test of an away series, the BCCI mulls the possibility of playing the second Tests first and then tucking the first Test somewhere in between.
Staying with cricket, Lord’s cricket ground fails yet again as Sachin Tendulkar doesn’t let it enjoy the privilege of his century there. ‘It will forever remain a blot in the CV of the Lord’s,’ is the verdict of the cricket historians.
The health of Rajni jokes on the internet becomes extremely serious and is still in the ICU.
Veteran parliamentarians, using the long experience they have had with handling Constitutional matters, point out the Jan Lok Pal proposed by Anna Hazare was overarching. As far as we know, both ‘Jan’ and ‘Lok’ mean the same: ‘People’. This clearly underlines the fact that Jan Lok Pal is overzealous and redundant, they explained.
Rahul Gandhi, in a plucky show of grassroots democracy, starts playing Farmville with UP farmers. ‘There are two Indias,’ he later tells Parliament. ‘One with Facebook account. And the other without that’.
The Planning Commission, after a through study of families living under poverty line, finds out that it is possible for a normal person in the country to lead life with 32 —- teeth, that is.
Another cricketing controversy. The BCCI, it seems, has paid several crores of rupees to Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri to be its unofficial spokespersons during their commentary stints. Till then, cricket fans were thinking that they should all pay up to shut up Shastri. But the BCCI had actually doled out a fortune to him to be its mouthpiece. Apparently, all the tracer bullets that Ravi releases have landed on the BCCI’s brain.
Crisis in Kingfisher Airlines with a couple of pilots claiming that they are not sure where their next glass of champagne is going to come from.
Kamal Haasan announces his new film, Viswaroopam, the highlight of which is that it is expected to be the first Tamil film in which the dialogues will be completely in Afghani. ‘Language, in itself, has no language,’ Kamal said on the sidelines of a FICCI summit.
Kochi Tuskers players are caught watching an IPL match on TV in their hotel rooms. ‘Players can only play, and not watch. It amounts to a serious of conflict of interest,’ said the IPL Governing Council as it expelled the Tuskers out of the league. Elsewhere, Chennai Super Kings owner N Srinivasan congratulates BCCI president N Srinivasan for being firm and coming down strongly on the issue of conflict of interest.
The government arrests Anna Hazare for refusing to come out of arrest. The Delhi police takes into custody the already in custody septuagenarian, saying that ‘defying authorities to come out of jail is a serious, cognisable offence for which there is only one punishment in the books, which is jailing’.
Credit agents come and take over the White House, seize Air Force One (last heard 25 months EMI on it are still pending) and Obama and his team start to operate from a four-room office in Pennsylvania, as Standard and Poor’s downgrade America’s credit rating.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says at an international seminar that high inflation means screwing your own brethren. It is unnatural and is a disease. This disease, found more in the developed world, has now unfortunately come to our country. ‘We never tabulated inflation in this country several centuries ago. Inflation doesn’t belong here. It has been transported to India from foreign shores,’ he added.
Actor Ajith’s film Mankatha reportedly grosses Rs 130 cr four weeks before its release. ‘Having made their profit, I hope, they don’t release the film and we don’t have to see it. They are happy. We are happy. ThalaRockzzz’, a fan said.
In a major strategic economic decision to bolster the Indian rupee that floundered against the US dollar, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ordered the banks across the country to increase by at least four basic points the font size of the rupee symbol.
In a major plan to strengthen parliamentary democracy, the government announces the all-important decision of beaming Lok Sabha TV in HD format. ‘Our Lokpal Bill will have clarity due to this,’ seasoned Parliamentarians said.
Elsewhere, Team Hazare is caught napping as a major scandal involving Arvind Kejriwal is unearthed. He is said to have, on a train journey, travelled in lower-berth when he had a reserved ticket only for the upper-berth. Digvijay Singh said that the train had passed through Nagpur. ‘It establishes their RSS links’,’ he says astutely.
In a far-reaching move that is expected to help energise cricket, ICC bans bowling of ‘dot-balls’ in international matches. ‘It will be deemed a no-ball,’ the ICC ruled and added: ‘Any bowler who is found to be consistently flouting this rule will be severely dealt with, which may include a total ban — on appearing in advertisements, that is’.
A study undertaken by book publishers find that book-buying in the country is now at its highest rate and book-reading at its lowest rate. The publishers pointed to Chetan Bhagat as the reason for both.
As part of the promotion for the film Ra.One, the film’s hero Sharukh Khan is appointed the Vice-President of the country. Nobody notices the change.
Koodankulam protests shake the country. The government is caught on a sticky wicket as the protesters take the irrefutable scientific logic: ‘Even Nuclear power plants are built using thermal or hydro power’.
Mullaiperiyar dam issue snowballs. Kerala wants a dam. But not this dam. Tamil Nadu is for the dam. But not that dam. The UPA takes the principle stand of focussing on UP elections.
The efficacy of the DRS is underlined on the manic 2nd day of the Newlands Test (Aus vs South Africa). With many close decisions referred to the third umpire, a lot of time is eaten, and a match that would otherwise have ended well under two days, goes into the morning of the third one, thereby allowing the authorities to enjoy the satisfaction of collecting the gate-fee for one full day.
A traffic jam, dating back to MGR administration, clears in the Guindy area of Chennai.
Markhandya Katju, who is now the chief of the Press Council, says that newspapers should dispense with carrying their names on the masthead. ‘Why take so much space for the name, which anyway people will be already knowing,’ the eminent jurist said.
Historical denouement on the Lokpal with the Lok Sabha passing the Bill that Parliamentarians incurred while discussing Lokpal. Laloo Prasad strikes a welcome note by asking for a reservation for minorities in all corruption scandals. BJP, being a party of difference, speaks against the Bill and, not surprisingly, votes for it.
The National Anthem of the country is hundred-years old. Fittingly, Manmohan Singh invites Dhanush for a celebratory function in New Delhi. Simbu, for his part, announces a function for Manmohan to invite him.
The year ends with the hope that Indians will continue to watch test cricket as Tendulkar fails to score his century of centuries in international cricket.
With Pranab Mukherjee remaining silent, inflation finally commits suicide.
A year of tumult and tension. A year of death and other denouement. A year of people power and powerful people. A year of gadgets and gags. A year of WC win and CWG whine.
As such an extreme and interesting year ends, as we happily convey our New Year greetings to you all, we cannot but also ask that one important question that begs an immediate answer at this important cusp of history. And that is: What is the name of Aishwarya Rai’s daughter?
For, in 2012, we would have moved on to Lara Dutta.