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   Some the prime minister is offering cabinet posts... (October 17, 1990)

Some the prime minister is offering cabinet posts to all and sundry, I am thinking, if ever I was offered, what portfolio would I select.

External affairs would be ideal. I would get a chance to travel around at government expense, see the world, meet world leaders, stay at expensive hotels, do nothing, since India has absolutely no role to play in world affairs. I would also get a chance to dress like Mr. I. K. Gujral, who, performance apart, is the bestdressed man in the cabinet.

Then again, I may choose the home portfolio, which they say is the most important ministry in the government. I would stop the rath yatra, arrest Advani before Mylayam Singh Yadav does so, drive the terrorists out of Punjab and Kashmir in one big paramilitary sweep. People would say, this is what we expect from a home minister, not that Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

I could ask for the finance minister's job, but I do not wish to upset Mr. Madhu Dandavate. Besides, it seems so pretentious, being finance minister of a poor country.

Defence minister may be a better portfolio, though there is not much status attached to it. But considering Bofors and those German submarines and Westland helicopters, I understand there is a lot of money in the job. And since nobody ever gets caught in these deals, there should be no harm in making a little money.

Civil aviation, I would refuse that ministry if offered. It is a headache, first the Indian Airline pilots hold you at ransom, then the Air India pilots, and it goes on like that.

And being a railway minister is a bit of a joke. I mean, how can anybody be a minister for trains. Even Mr. George Fernandes realised that and tried to become a minister for Kashmir affairs.

And an even begger joke is being minister for the development of human resources. There is no such thing as that in the world. Imagine going to an international conference and the finance minister of Germany asking you what is your job and you say, minister for development of human resources.

Commerce, industry are all right, but we all know that in India Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani is the minister for commerce and industry and not the ministers sitting in New Delhi.

So that does not leave much choice. So, if Mr. V.P. Singh were to offer me a cabinet post, I would, like Mr. Chandra Shekhar, say that I want to be prime minister and nothing less.

 
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