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What Pawar reallywants is a lollipop.

The Congress needs to deploy the trick that schoolmasters have been using to placate students who throw tantrums

SOMETIMES being treated as the teacher's pet isn't enough, because your rival still has that 100 per cent, A+, scholarship- winning score at the bottom of her report card to throw in your face.

And that's why teachers collectively, the world over, decided to invent the gold star -- to placate those kids who need placating, even if there might be nothing tangible to show for it.

This week's tantrum from NCP supremo Sharad Pawar suggests the cabinet needs to come up with its own version, although it would have to be a star- token made of real gold before Pawar is happy with it. Oh, and it has to be a Pawar- customised star that can't be given to anyone else in the cabinet, except maybe the PM, or it's no good.

" There is no senior and junior cabinet minister," defence minister A. K. Antony said, through gritted teeth, after hearing about his coalition partner's attempt at a numerical powerplay. " All are equal." Pawar's sidekick Praful Patel -- the Robin to Sharad's Dark Knight -- chimed in to add that his party chief is not being petty by demanding the no. 2 position in the cabinet. If everyone in that august circle is equal, Patel would surely insist that Pawar is more equal than others.

The last time the folks in power refused to give in to a Pawar tantrum, he ended up splitting the Congress and changing the political history of Maharashtra. This time around, he has, so far, skipped a dinner and waffled about taking his nine MPs elsewhere -- although it's unclear where that might be.

Despite the shaky threats, the Congress is taking no chances, with the Prime Minister already cooing in his ears for him to calm down and the party giving Pawar a promise that they will pay better attention to his ideas. Now all that remains is that custom gold star.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 23, 2012
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