Monday, September 17, 2007

That time of the less-than-five-year term

It’s a certainty now. India will have mid-term elections, at a time convenient to either the Congress or the Left parties or both. The rhetorical warfare over Indo-US nuclear deal is downscaled for the moment because the partners can’t decide when to end the marriage. Newspaper columnists and TV analysts have started speculating about the possible dates and started attributing every event to the impending election. So here’s our two-bit contribution to the attribution game.

1. Rahul Dravid Quits

Why didn’t he quit after the pathetic show in the Caribbean as India couldn’t make it to the semis of World Cup cricket? Why did he quit after an honourable campaign in England. Because the central government is unstable and elections are around the corner. Sharad Pawar, the Boss for Control of Cricket in India, stands to gain if Sachin Tendulkar becomes the captain. The Union minister for agriculture hasn’t done much for agriculture in his home state where farmer suicides are as regular as death on Delhi roads. He can however claim success, in his capacity as the BCCI president. Giving the state the captaincy of the Indian team. If the poor ain’t got bread, let them have cake.

2. PM’s Prostate Operation

By the time you read this, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would have come out of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences after a weekend trip. He got his prostate operated upon. He’s doing fine. He was doing fine even before the operation. Election campaigns can take a toll on even the healthiest of individuals. A bad prostate can only worsen that. AIIMS doctors have ensured he has a healthy prostrate and opinion polls say the party’s prospects are healthier than ever in a decade. Besides, you never know how much care the resident doctors give you, if you are just a former Prime Minister. The Prime Minister obviously gets the A-category care.

Ma’am lets us play Bridge
Congress leaders, even the most senior ones, are so eager to please their leader that they often forget to ask her whether what they are doing would please her. Hans Raj Bhardwaj presumes not pursuing Q may please ma’am and ends up embarrassing her. Mrs Gandhi, however, has tried to show that sycophancy may not take the lickers far. Loyalty is rewarded and encouraged, which is not such a bad thing, so H.R. Bhardwaj and the like survive. Now, the ministries of Bhardwaj and Soni put the government in an embarrassing situation by going where no Indian politician had gone before: rubbishing Ram as myth. Mrs G was quick in damage control. She is especially vulnerable in matters of religion because she was born a Christian and the Prime Minister is Sikh. The affidavit issue, if she had let it linger, had the potential to revive the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Mandir issue is dead, because there’s a mandir now, even if is a makeshift one. The BJP has no unique economic agenda, as economic liberalisation continues on its path.