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   I was talking to a colleague from Delhi... (April 16, 1991)

I was talking to a colleague from Delhi, on one of his brief visits to Bombay. (It must be noted that, unlike us journalists in Bombay, Delhi journalists in Bombay, Delhi journalists are very well informed on political matters.)

"Kya Bambai ki Kya hawa hai ji?" he asked me.

"Well, the weather is turning very warm, but that is to be expected," I said. "We are going to have a very hot May, and possibly June also, but the monsoon will be early."

"Yaah, I am talking about the political hawa," he said. Dilli mei to feeling hai ke the Congress will improve on its last show – 203 seats, do sau aur teen…pura."

"You people are not giving BJP a chance?" I asked.

"Dekh lenge ji, dekh lenge," he said. "Advaniji has bee telling everybody at Ashoka Road that the BJP will romp home with 264 seats, do sau aur chausath…pura. But it all depends on how he fares with Seshanji first. I tell you Seshanji is a tough nut, I have experience. None of your usual haanji bureaucrafts."

"You Delhi journalists know everythng, you are seeing the politicians and having tea with them everyday," I said, "What about Mr. V.P. Singh?"

"Vishwanathji ki to abhi baat hi badal gay hai ji," he said. "As they are saying in Central Hall, he made four basic mistakes, after that what chance he has to return to power! It is a pipe dream. Samaj rahen hein na – pipe dream."

"Yes," I said, "I think so. But Mr. Gandhi made so many mistakes and he is coming back to power."

"Wrong advisers, ji. His fault was he selected wrong advisers," he said. "Why don't you understand! The fault is not in R.G., it is in his selection of advisers. Bachcha, bachcha, Dilli ke sadkon pe yeh baat aapko batayega ji."

"What about Bofors?" I asked.

"Dead horse. Who Angrezi mein kahevat hai mare ghode ke chabuk se flog karte hein ji."

"I know that saying," I said, glad I knew at least something. "Then you people in Delhi are sure the Congress would win this time and return to power?"

"Arre muhko kyon yeh puchte ho, aap ke Sharadji ko puchiye," he said. "Haan, haan, jaaiye, Sharadji ko puchiye. Aakhir mein to pardesi hoon, aap ke shahar ki lizzar lene aaya hoon ji."

So, when I went home, the wife asked me: "What did your friend from Delhi have to say about the elections?"

I said: "I can only tell you those parts that he spoke in English. The rest, I did not follow."

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