But come Sunday, Agnihotri, who’s incidentally Vajpayee’s personal friend, will preen if he can collect enough NRIs to fill the 4,000 seats at the Jacob Javits Center for the PM’s public speech. He has sent blanket invitations to sundry NRI organisations. Taxpayers will also fund the travel of poets and literati for a kavi sammelan that Vajpayee will inaugurate so his other BJP friends—who too can’t stand Agnihotri—abroad can shine.
Vajpayee created a special post for Agnihotri over the heads of MEA diplomats who sniff loudly at this tacky Sangh parivar gate-crasher. Eager-beaver Agnihotri muscled an ambassador rank for himself from the UN—he’s special advisor to India’s permanent mission there—last year after the state department declined to "recognise" him. Agnihotri is so thrilled with his new job that even the elevators in his Manhattan high-rise office bombastically announce the presence of "Ambassador" Agnihotri in the building. As they say, if you can’t be called ambassador, what is the point?