Hear it as they spoke it: The Vir Sanghvi- Niira Radia Tapes
Niira Radia: Hi.
Vir Sanghvi: Hi, can you talk?
NR: Yeah, yeah. Okay.
VS: You know, Maran did not meet Sonia.
NR: He did not.
VS: He won’t meet Sonia, he’s been there, they say we’re not treating him as official spokesperson at all. He called just now, I saw your message, he is calling up Ghulam Nabi Azad every half an hour and making new demands. As far as we’re concerned, there are two wives, one brother, one sister, one nephew, it’s all got very complicated for us. We’ve made a basic offer, if Karunanidhi responds to us and tells us he’d like to respond directly, he’d like to talk to Mrs Gandhi, we’d be happy. He spoke only to Manmohan Singh. We’ve told Maran they’ve to come back to us and tell us what they think of our offer. And, apparently the DMK is getting very bad press in Chennai.
VS: So, he said we’re going to wait for two days. Let them come back, we’re of the line that this is not a Congress-DMK problem, this is an internal DMK problem because they can’t get their act together between all his wives and children and nephews. He’s got to get his act together and nominate one person and we’d be very happy to deal with him. We’re not happy with this Maran who keeps calling up Ghulam Nabi and saying ‘talk to me, talk to me’. They are not taking him seriously.
NR: Very interesting. I’m glad you spoke to Ghulam Nabi, did you?
VS: I spoke to Ahmed (Patel). Ghulam Nabi is not a very key figure. Ahmed is the key figure.
VS: Yeah. So, Ahmed says Ghulam has been dealing with Maran. But Ghulam is not our official person and we’re not taking Maran seriously. As far as they are concerned, they’ve asked for five crucial ministries, it’s an idiotic and unreasonable demand. We’ve made them a perfectly reasonable demand. Now, it is for Karunanidhi to get back to us, Kani to come and see us, anyone can come and see us and say I’ll put you on the line with my father et cetera, lines are, doors are, open to her. But we can’t have a situation where Maran keeps calling us and saying I’m the person and telling Ghulam, I want this, I want that, who is Maran?’
VS: Maran has gone back apparently today to Chennai?
NR: Yeah. He has gone back.
VS: Ahmed says, ‘We told him, we told Maran also that we’ll deal with Karunanidhi, so he has gone back. So, they are quite hopeful, they say, we made a very reasonable offer, we have lot of regards for Karunanidhi, we would like to deal with him. We have no regard for Maran.’
NR: Sorry to disturb you. They had a meeting.
NR: M.K. Narayanan had come. And as suggested it was Kani only. But they are still stuck to their four formula and one independent.
NR: But these people will also think about it and let him know tomorrow morning. He (Ahmed Patel) clarified everything.
VS: Okay, very good.
NR: I think that there was no issue and there was lot of relief from the chief minister’s side. And he realised that, you know, this is all being done by...
VS: By Maran.
NR: Yeah. But the thing is that it appears that he is still under a lot of pressure to take Maran, you know.
VS: Where is this coming from, this pressure?
NR: It’s coming from Stalin and his sister Selvi.
NR: I believe Maran has given Rs 600 crores to Dayalu, Stalin’s mother.
VS: It’s hard to argue with that kind of pressure.
NR: Isn’t it? But if they stick to three and want one independent charge, then Kani gets an independent and then Azhagiri, Baalu and Raja come in.
VS: That is not so bad, you know.
NR: Yeah, so I think.
VS: Unless Maran is one of the cabinet.
NR: Yeah. But I don’t think he can give it to three family members. That will send a very wrong signal.
VS: Hi, Niira.
NR: Hi, Vir. Where are you, Delhi or...
VS: I am in Jaipur. Coming back this evening.
NR: Okay. I’ve been talking to my Tamil Nadu friends. I don’t know whether you are in the position to get through to anyone at Congress. I met Kani just now.
VS: I was supposed to meet Sonia today but I’ve been stuck here. So, now it’s becoming tomorrow. I’ve been meeting with Rahul, but tell me...
NR: They are not understanding that they are actually communicating with the wrong guy. Not because I detest Maran but actually the father has not nominated Maran to negotiate. Now, you know, it’s like a banana republic where the cabinet...
VS: Then why has Maran become the face, they all hate Maran.
NR: No, he’s not. I know. But the Congress is under another impression. They have already apparently indicated to Maran that the prime minister will not give infrastructure to DMK. But he is desperately pushing for an infrastructure berth himself.
NR: But the problem is that there is a leader which is Kani’s brother who is Azhagiri who’s won that election and he is a mass leader. He controls half of Tamil Nadu. And the father cannot afford to upset him because...
NR: Simply because of his position.
NR: Right now the Congress doesn’t seem to be understanding this.
VS: So, who should they talk to?
NR: They need to talk directly to Karunanidhi. They need to talk to Kani.
VS: Let me try and get through to Ahmed.
After Outlook’s disclosure of the 2G scam tapes, sources close to the Congress leadership have said journalist Vir Sanghvi’s references to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversation with Niira Radia were a figment of his imagination. He was neither consulted during the cabinet formation post-2009 election nor given the opportunity to speak to the Congress leadership on the allocation of portfolios.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
"Our wills and fates do so contrary run That our devices still are overthrown."Sad indeed the colour of corrpution,and the inclusion of Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi being part of the tangle.
This throws light on the efficacy and code of ethics mapping the lives of these two media moghuls who alas have proved that they are just pawns on the chessboard of men who lust for power.Hamlet's time to say:Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung...
Vir's response to a question on his site one week before tapes surfaced:
You Ask: Mr Sanghvi,
How resignation of Raja will make it right, what about the money of Nation lost because of his corruption. how do we retrieve the money and also punish the corrupt - resignation is not punishment but prevention of future prevention.
Also, PM has to share responsibility of his minister. Do we need more checks and balances to prevent these things from happening - we definitely do not want more bureaucratic apparatus. should not deals so huge should be approved by PMO
Frankly, we need an end to coalition politics which allows crooks from regional parties to rob the country blind.
Read More >> Posted By: ajay
Posted On: 13 Nov 2010
Moderator's note --
To Madhav Ajgaonkar: The clarification you refer to is scheduled to appear in the coming print issue and was posted here in error. It will be posted on Saturday when the coming print issue is posted on line. Please put up with us till Saturday.
Vir of all the people!! I had such a high opinion of him.
Probably he ate a lot of the junk food he keeps writing about ... :D
For a figment of his imagination, he sounds remarkably natural. And Radia certainly wasn't treating his comments as a figment of his imagination.
What I find most significant is his reference to "us" and "we" when talking about the Congress. It's pretty obvious what he considers himself a part of.
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