Al Gores style and substance

Updated: Jan 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
The recently concluded India Today Conclave brought to New Delhi a diverse bunch of people leaders of government and business, analysts and reps of think tanks from India and abroad. Thus, Stan Fischer (deputy managing director and senior advisor to the IMF MD), Fareed Zakaria (Editor, Newsweek International) and former Pak PM Benazir Bhutto all got to say their bit, alongwith our oft heard desi politicians, former diplomats and industrialists.

But for the organisers, the biggest catch of em all seemed to be Al Gore, the guy who came so heart-breakingly close to becoming the most important chap in the world. Mr Gore topped the list of speakers, and was generally touted as the star speaker. So, how come the US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, didnt think it worth his while to hear Mr Gore speak Were domestic party politics responsible for the ambassadors conspicuous absence Blackwill got assigned to India thanks to Republican President George W Bush, while Gore was the second-in-command during the Democrat Bill Clintons presidential years.

To add insult to injury, Mr Gore didnt even travel in style that matched his stature instead of a Merc or a BMW, he rode in a lowly Sonata, presumably one of the many provided by Conclave co-sponsor Hyundai Motors to the organisers for ferrying their guests to and fro!

Broker raj

So much for transparency in governance. A candidate shortlisted for a top PSU post told eavesdropper the other day that no sooner had the Public Enterprises Selection Board made known the names of the short-listed candidates comprising 28 individuals to be interviewed for four top jobs in the oil sector than a broker approached him offering his (the brokers) help for a mere Rs two crore! Lesson If youre aspiring to head a public sector oil or power giant, and have the right credentials, try and get into the list of potential interviewees. Then, all you have to do is rustle up a few crores and wait to be contacted by enterprising middlemen.