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Contrary to expectations, 10 Janpath is believed to have found Mani Shankar Aiyar’s facetious remarks about “24, Akbar Road being a circus for the hopeless while those wanting to get serious work done flock to 10, Janpath” very witty, insightful and delightfully flattering. Mani has been rewarded for his acerbic sense of humour by getting promoted to the most prestigious post in the Congress polity, that of mentor in chief to Rahul Gandhi by a highly impressed high command (read Sonia Gandhi).
Pundits described this as a tectonic political realignment that makes Mani the 3rd most powerful figure in the Congress party, after Rahul and Sonia of course. An ecstatic Mani Shankar Aiyar cannot still believe his good fortune. “F*** man, I was hoping to merely get some media attention with my joke but getting summoned to 10, Janpath and being appointed as Rahul’s mentor is too good to be true. Now I will be going regularly to 10, Janpath since I am also well connected and powerful,” exulted Mani, flashing the V sign to reporters after coming out of 10, Janpath.
The elevation marks an all time career high for the retired IFS officer who cut his teeth in politics as one of Rajiv Gandhi’s blue eyed boys. Much to his misfortune, he couldn’t curry the same level of influence with Sonia and had to be content as a mere Minister in the UPA1 Government. Ideological differences with Dr.Manmohan Singh led to his marginalization in the UPA2 Government and Mani of late had to be content appearing on TV shows to mouth entertaining and provocative sound bytes.
According to insiders, Mani was summoned to 10, Janpath to clarify his remarks to an initially bemused Congress President. Mani made the most of this valuable opportunity by flattering madam with the following explanation: “By summoning me to 10, Janpath you have made my day. Otherwise like another hopeless duffer I was planning to do time pass in the circus at 24,Akbar Road.” This did the trick for the former high commissioner to Pakistan. “With this appointment, Sonia may be signaling that having a good sense of humour without crossing certain red lines can fast track your career in the Congress,” says Dr. Shashank Agashe, Professor of Political Science at JNU. Mani, many pundits feel, is a far more lethal and cerebral version of Digvijay Singh. “He will make Digvijay’s RSS bashing seem like a walk in the park in comparison,” said a Congress insider.
Mani will now jostle with Digvijay in mentoring the heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi. Digvijay Singh said he has absolutely no problems sharing space with Mani. “Duryodhana Kuru Princes had 2 Gurus, Dronacharya and Kripacharya to train them. So it’s perfectly normal. Together we will train Rahul to take on the communal right wing forces,” said Digvijay, who seemed genuinely pleased with Mani’s elevation.