THE NETWORK

“Aapka toh sab kaam ho gaya”

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“He says, sir, thheek hai, main bola ki, ‘Mukesh, once in a while show some bloody emotion,” —RANJAN BHATTACHARYA

“He says, sir, thheek hai, main bola ki, ‘Mukesh, once in a while show some bloody emotion,” —RANJAN BHATTACHARYA

During the standoff between the Congress and the DMK during the formation of the UPA-II Cabinet, Radia also approached Ranjan Bhattacharya, foster son-in-law of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who says that he has ‘a great line’ to senior Congressman Ghulam Nabi Azad

DATE 22 May 2009 TIME 17:00:40

RANJAN: Oh okay, so let me understand what you are saying, the family guys are okay to get MoS, more or less.

RADIA: Both the…

RANJAN: Provided, provided this Maran boy does not get cabinet, right?

RADIA: Correct, correct.

RANJAN: And they are best, there are people outside the family and outside the Congress who are pushing for Maran, right?

RADIA: And Sunil Mittal’s name is one of them.

RANJAN: Listen I, I mean talking to Sunil is no point because obviously he has got this thing. Between you and me, I have a great line to Ghulam Nabi, for whatever he counts.

RADIA: I have been sending him a message since morning, I told Mukesh also to speak to him and tell him to speak to Kani [Kanimozhi], because Kani will take him directly to her father. They really spoiled it for themselves because they could have got away with two cabinet berths.

RANJAN: Ab unke teen dene padenge [Now they will have to give three].

RADIA: Ab teen dene padenge [Now they will have to give three]. Yeh Baalu ko bhi drop karwa sakte thhe kyunki unhe keh sakte thhe theek hai [They could even have got Baalu dropped], now they have to go through the whole process of three. They will have to be… again this whole argument that will happen, ke teen mein kaun include ho [that who will be included among the three]. Raja include hoga, Alagiri include hoga, Maran ko include karenge, toh baki tumhare Tamil leaders jo iss baari elections jeet ke aayenge woh kahenge hamara kya hoga [Raju will be included, Alagiri will be included, if Maran is included, then other Tamil leaders who have been elected will ask what about us].

RANJAN: I mean exactly aur yeh toh beech mein bhag gaya thha [and he had run away in the middle].

RADIA: Maran was the big challenge, and not because I do not like the guy, but genuinely that was a big problem. Maran kept on saying that both Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel have said to him that he, they want him to be in the Cabinet and that he is the only who is an acceptable face.

RANJAN: I do not think. How can a Congress guy, I mean if somebody had told me PM has said it or Sonia said it... How can a Ghulam Nabi or Ahmed Patel insist on [it]? It is like saying aapke ghar mein main tai karun [in your house, I will decide].

RADIA: Unhone insist nahin kiya hai, unhone kaha hai humko Congress ko kya acceptable hai woh hai [They did not insist, they said what is acceptable to the Congress is acceptable] Dayanidhi Maran, so Karunanidhi got awfully confused. The second thing that came up with Congress… said well but Karunanidhi took Maran with him to the UPA meeting, that is because Kani had disappeared, visited somewhere else, and he does not consider woh toh Chennai mein kissi ko bhi apne saath le jaata hai [in Chennai he takes anyone along with him].

RANJAN: Exactly, aisa kya hai, usse koi angrezi, ungrezi samajhne waala bhi chahiye [it is no big deal, he needs someone to understand English].

RADIA: Toh usko isliye le ke gaya thha kyunki Baalu nahin thha [He took him because Baalu was not available]. Kani was not available. Well, he had not, and no one person has been appointed to negotiate, Maran is not the point person to negotiate.

RANJAN: Achcha aisa hai, yeh toh abhi jaa raha hai apni swearing-in pe, meri abhi kisi se baat hui toh Ghulam, GNA, is being sworn in, naa [It is like this, he is going for his swearing-in, I just spoke to someone, Ghulam, GNA is being sworn in, no].

RADIA: What is he getting?

RANJAN: Bhai, they are not admitting it, mil toh raha hai aur usko liya bhi iss liye jaa raha hai [he is getting something, and is being taken for this reason], he is getting Parliamentary Affairs basically. Being a senior guy, he will be basically Parliamentary Affairs Minister… only has job for three months, nau mahine kya karega [what will he do for nine months?]. So he is lobbying for something, but abhi tak inhone tai toh nahin kiya [they have not decided yet].

RADIA: Tell them to give him aviation, Praful ko bahar rakho [keep Praful out].

RANJAN: Nahin, Praful ne toh raat ko itna drama kiya; apparently, they toh at midnight jaa ke Praful ko aviation bola hai, par Praful ki aaj swearing-in nahin hai [No, Praful created so much drama that at midnight they agreed on aviation for him but he is not being sworn in today].

RADIA: Yeah, I know that.

RANJAN: Inki sabki Tuesday ki hai.

RADIA: MoS hai.

RANJAN: MoS hai, independent.

RANJAN: Aur mujhko Ramesh Sharma called up bahut achcha hai hamare Anand Sharma ho rahein hain, my information is Anand Sharma nahin hain [and Romesh Sharma called me up to say it is good our Anand Sharma is being sworn in but my information is he is not].

RADIA: Anand Sharma hai isme [is in it].

RANJAN: Nahin hai, yeh sab media ne… [No, no this is all the media].

RADIA: Mujhe Mukesh ne bola [I was told by Mukesh].

RANJAN: Chalo dekhte hain, mereko nahin lagta hai [We’ll see, it doesn’t seem so to me].

RADIA: Elevated to Cabinet.

RANJAN: Nahin, Cabinet, par abhi aaj uska abhi media chala raha hai at least teen ghante pehle tak na usko chithhi aai thhi, naa Mukul Wasnik ko chithhi aai thhi [No, Cabinet, now the media is running it, but till three hours ago neither he nor Mukul Wasnik had got a letter].

RADIA: Achcha [okay].

RANJAN: But I don’t know.

RADIA: … [inaudible].

RANJAN: So is Mukesh happy?

RADIA: Very happy.

RANJAN: (Laughs) You know what he told me.

RADIA: What?

RANJAN: He tells me, he says, you know, he is in his usual style, kya kyo, I told him ‘Mera chhodo, kya kyo, aapko kya hai [Forget me and all this, this and that, what about you]?

RADIA: Hmm

RANJAN: He says ‘Sir thheek hai’, main bola ki [okay, and I said], ‘Mukesh, once in a while show some bloody emotion,’ I said, ‘Aapka toh sab kaam ho gaya [all your work has been done].’

RADIA: Hmm.

RANJAN: Motu nahin aaya, yeh nahin hua, toh kehta [Fatso did not make it, it didn’t happen, so he replied] ‘Haan yaar, you know Ranjan, you are right, ab toh Congress apni dukaan hai’ [Yes, you are right, now the Congress is our shop].

RADIA: (Laughs) Why has Bhardwaj not come in?

RANJAN: Who?

RADIA: Bhardwaj?

RANJAN: Who is not coming, sorry?

RADIA: Bhardwaj, Bhardwaj

RANJAN: I cannot understand, sorry.

RADIA: Bhardwaj, law minister.

RANJAN: Bharadwaj. Oh yeah, he has done such a lot of kabada [junk], and especially in those two cases now where CBI then botched it up in both the DA ke assets. These are all under law ministries instructions, so they are pretty pissed off with him. I think they are also now getting in the core guys and then the youngsters, but now I wonder who will get law; will Kapil get it?

RADIA: I wonder, I wonder, maybe Kapil only.

RANJAN: Um, hmm?

RADIA: Maybe.

RANJAN: But lawyer toh wohi hai par [he himself is].

RADIA: Oh yes. No, Ranjan, when you speak to Ghulam, you should tell him that they really messed it up, haan?

RANJAN: No, so now basically you want me to convey ki aap Kanimozhi ke through jaa ke buddhe ko seedha milo, yai hai na. [So basically you want me to convey that you go through Kanimozhi directly to meet the old man].

RADIA: Agar tum log jo list tumhe bheji thhi uspe agar Baalu or Maran ko mana kar dete toh tumhara problem solve ho jata [If you guys had refused Baalu and Maran on the list you had been sent, your problem would have been solved].

RANJAN: Bhai, ab toh woh nahin hua toh ab kya karna hai [That didn’t happen so what do we do now]?

RADIA: Abhi unko Kanimozhi ke paas they have to call her and go directly and meet Karunanidhi. They have to relay two things, they do not want to give infrastructure to Baalu or Maran.

RADIA: They have no issue where Raja is concerned, kyunki unhe pata hi hai [because they know] even if they have an issue, the old man is going to bring Raja; he is very clear about that. So don’t antagonise him, because he has got Dalit as now they will have to give Alagiri one, Raja one and one maybe they will give to another leader from Tamil Nadu, or they will, just so that they keep this whole controversy out, they will give it to Baalu only, and then drop Maran altogether and give Kani an independent charge.

RANJAN: So Alagiri independent charge or Cabinet, they are okay with it.

RADIA: Alagiri in Cabinet because teen ho gaya toh Alagiri ko dena hi padega

RANJAN: Okay, but this will happen only late, it will only happen late night.

RADIA: Yeah, but if they keep Maran out, maybe they will be able to still get away with two.

RANJAN: Oh, okay.

RADIA: Which will then make this guy come out quite well by Karunanidhi, by saying, ‘Forget about what the channels are saying about me, or Jayalalitha is saying, both my children are taking MoS independent and I am bringing Baalu and Raja to be the cabinet ministers, they are not my family.’

RANJAN: Okay, now listen, I mean GNA channel is there, if I send word straight to SG, is that better?

RADIA: SG is kaun?

RANJAN: (Laughs) SG is SG boss.

RADIA: Oh, beg your pardon, sorry I didn’t get, haan ya, ya, bhejwa doh [yes, have it sent].

RANJAN: Because that then I can achieve in the morning. I am meeting somebody.

RADIA: Par tum isko GNA ko bhi bol doh [you tell this to GNA as well], he is handling Tamil Nadu.

RANJAN: I know, theek hai [Okay].

RADIA: Tell him they are being misled by this guy Maran.

RANJAN: Okay.