SPORTS INTEREST: Queen’s Baton lost and found – the Chinese get a drooling peek at it ?!!
From The Times of India
By Amalendu Kundu
GANGTOK, TNN, Jul 18, 2010, 02.47am IST: The Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi for the Commonwealth Games went missing for nearly two hours at Kupup in Sikkim, near the India-China border, on Saturday afternoon, leaving senior officials red-faced.
It later came to light that the Queen’s Baton Relay team from Delhi had violated security protocol, taking the baton along for lunch at the local Army camp. The baton was finally recovered by the Sikkim Police.
The baton arrived here on Friday. On Saturday, it was carried to Nathu La by 17 Mountain Division personnel. At Nathu La — at 14,400 feet on the India-China border — soldiers and locals flocked to catch a glimpse of the baton, which is on a 100-day India tour.
There was great pomp and show all along the route up to Nathu La. Near the Changu Lake, the baton even took a yak ride. It was received at Nathu La by the local brigade commander as an Army band played in the background.
Chinese soldiers, on the other side of the fence, watched with interest. But Army officials said the reaction from the Chinese side was rather muted.
Unlike on other occasions, the Chinese soldiers refrained from waving back at Indians who had gathered at the border outpost.
The confusion — and anxious moments — came while the baton was being carried back to Gangtok. Its first stop was at Kupup, nearly 5 km downhill from Nathu La.
It was afternoon when the QBR team reached this small town, located 13,054 feet above sea level.
Incidentally, this is the site of the world’s highest golf course.
CWG Queen’s Baton reaches Darjeeling after Sikkim – authenticity validated & no switch made ?!!
From Hindustan Times
& Press Trust Of India
Gangtok, July 18, 2010, 17:33 IST: The Queen’s Baton, on the country-wide relay in the run-up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, on Sunday was handed over to the Darjeeling administration after remaining ‘untraced’ for about two hours during the Sikkim leg the day before.
A Sikkim Police official on Sunday said the baton was ceremonially handed over to the West Bengal counterpart at the Rangpo check-post at around 10:30 am, after the Sikkim leg.
This was preceded by high drama for over two hours on Saturday when the baton was on way from Gangtok to Nathula border after being handed over to the army at the circuit house.
Shortly after the baton reached Kupup Golf Course at 12:30 pm, QBR Director from New Delhi Colonel Kuldeep Singh went to Sunshine Point near ‘Baba Mandir’, three km away from Singh’s vehicle, with the baton along with six QBR members apparently keeping other accompanying civil and security officials in dark, the official said.
Finally Singh, who was spotted with the baton at Sunshine point, was asked to come down and the wand was brought back to Thegu near Sherathang trade mart at around 2:45 pm for being handed over to Sikkim Olympic Association.
“What happened was not in the itinerary,” an official of the Sikkim QBR Nodal Officer H K Karki told referring to Singh’s trip to Baba Mandir with the baton.
An unfazed Singh, however, maintained he had gone to display the baton to local villagers since it belongs to the people and had the right to ‘feel the object’, but instead they were being kept at bay during official function.
Sikkim Olympic Association President P K Pradhan said the baton was the responsibility of the Delhi QBR, Commonwealth Games team.
FROM THE TELEGRAPH DIARY
Rahul baba reportedly kept his date with the FIFA finals. No surprise there. During his recent visit to India, the South African president, Jacob Zuma, had invited Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to attend the finals and the closing ceremony.
So Rahul was present in Johannesburg on July 11 to witness his favourite, Spain, take on the Netherlands. Accompanying him were his brother-in-law, Robert Vadra, and nephew, Raihan (Priyanka’s son).
For some reason, the Indian embassy in Johannesburg was asked to keep this visit a secret. In Delhi, too, Rahul’s office declined to comment on his South African sojourn while refusing to deny it.
Apparently, a section of his think-tank felt that with the Bihar assembly polls and other political exigencies around, the young politician’s love for sports, particularly for football, was not something worth flaunting.
The Union civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, was at the finals as well. Having replaced the ailing Priya Ranjan Das Munshi as president of the All India Football Federation and being a member of the FIFA executive committee, Patel had better reasons to be around. He even insisted that he has attended the last five World Cup finals.
No harm in a little laugh
Nitin Gadkari may have been using harsh language now and then, but some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party have not lost their sense of humour as yet.
At a breakfast meeting between the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) in Patna, a senior BJP leader asked his party colleagues, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Ravi Shankar Prasad, where they live in the city. As luck would have it, both live on Boring Road.
Everyone had a good laugh. The senior leader quickly added that the name of the street had little to do with the men in question as both are reputed to be lively and witty.
By god’s grace
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s nephew, Anup Mishra, has turned highly religious. He is temple-hopping and seeking blessings from saints and seers. Until recently, he was a powerful minister in the Madhya Pradesh cabinet. But a violent incident involving some of his relatives forced him to step down. So this Vajpayee kin, with a reputation of being a fabulous host and holding court every evening, gets up early nowadays to go to the temple. Then he gets busy with long puja sessions. Even the afternoon siesta has been replaced by intense audiences with holy men. Mishra, keen to get back his job, is indeed desperately seeking the hand of god.
Hard times ahead
Another kin of a former prime minister is facing upheavals as well. Anil Shastri, son of the late Lal Bahadur Shastri, is in a defiant mood. Shastri junior, who heads the editorial board of the Congress Sandesh, the mouthpiece of the grand old party, is busy finding faults with Manmohan Singh’s government on several counts. His complaints are wide-ranging: from issues such as the hike in fuel prices to the Planning Commission’s ‘interference’ in the infrastructure ministries. In his heart of hearts, Shastri is believed to be nursing an ambition to become the lieutenant governor of Delhi, but the current United Progressive Alliance regime is not even considering him for gubernatorial positions in any of the union territories, let alone the states. Insiders claims that Sonia Gandhi is unhappy with the way the Sandesh is being produced and is considering a complete overhaul, including the editor’s exit. No wonder Shastri is so restless.
Devoted and dutiful
Not everyone, it seems, is behaving in a wayward fashion. Take, for instance, Mayavati’s health minister, Anant Kumar Mishra. Now, it is generally acknowledged that Behenji happens to be the last word in the Bahujan Samaj Party. However, the extent of her hypnotic influence was scarcely known until recently. At a meeting between state chief ministers and the Union finance minister, Mayavati had, as usual, not turned up. She sent along Mishra as her emissary, with a letter issued under her name to be read out to the assembly verbatim. Poor Mishra had no option but to follow his leader’s instructions to the last detail. Accordingly, he read out every bit of the letter, including the full stops and the commas. The drama is supposed to have reached ridiculous heights when he started aping Behenji’s accent, pronouncing every word in a falsetto, as though they were spoken by a feisty female.
All worked up over Paul
With a 100 per cent strike rate, Paul the Octopus is the new hero that the world is looking up to. India is no exception. Paul is supposed to be in high demand with Indian politicians, who want to bring him to this country and treasure him as the resident soothsayer.
Too many questions need to be answered: Will Rahul Gandhi be the next prime minister? Or perhaps Manmohan Singh will continue? Or will Congress at all retain power at the Centre after the next general elections? Political leaders have already started taking Paul’s name to attack Opposition parties.
At a recent rally, when Jayalalithaa predicted the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s ruin in the next assembly polls, the DMK was quick to respond that Jaya is not Paul the Octopus, so she cannot read the future correctly.