A mother-son routine

A mother-son routine

A mother-son routine. In business it is always prudent to have three persons in any negotiation (and politics has long become a thriving business).

In business it is always prudent to have three persons in any negotiation (and politics has long become a thriving business). Two persons to transact the business; in any unlikely situation, the third party to neutralize the deal. More often than not he will be absent during the main parleys, but always have the final say in the matter. What is the idea? Any uncomfortable and afterthought can be accommodated or the deal can be thrown out altogether. The third party, by default, becomes the de facto leader carrying all the aces of the deal.

The ruling dispensation has a very valuable third party to reckon with; Rahul Gandhi. He normally does not react. In fact, he does not act, be it Coalgate scam, Adarsh scam, Helicopter scam, disappearance of files, culpability of coal minister, 2G scam, ISRO-S band scam, Commonwealth Games scam- you name it. But he is a useful customer because he is ‘the’ mother’s son. When will this third party come into operation? When all the cards in hand are played and when the government is in a Catch 22 situation, and when Sonia has to give in to a difficult maneuver. Even then, he will not go to press.
He gate crashes into somebody’s conference and make all hell let loose. This is a convenient mother-son routine to which by now the people are used to. We don’t know how the chairperson of the ruling alliance reacts to any political situation. We rarely hear her voice. We only hear the hearsay. We know her reactions through proxy. But when she wants to play her final card, it will always be through her son, another major player in the system, who will usually talk anything except what is happening around him. The Hans India in its editorial has rightly epitomized his behavior as “puerile petulance”.
And this 43-year-old crown prince has not practiced the diplomatic jargon yet. When the entire Cabinet, in consultation with and with the concurrence of all parties deliberated the ordinance, set to dilute the judgment of the Supreme Court, sending it to the President of India, he walked into a press room and categorically condemned the ordinance saying “it is nonsense. It has to be torn and thrown away’’. A startling belated exercise. What is more, he immediately sent a message to the Prime Minister who was meeting the President of the largest democracy of the world Barack Obama, almost apologetically and assuring his utmost loyalty to the senior leader. This obviously reflects the guilt of being brash and categorical in his comments made earlier at the press conference.
Are there any lines between the lines? Is it an exercise stage-managed, carefully orchestrated to catapult the popularity graph of the future candidate to the highest office of the land? Surely, intermittent spells of awakening cannot vouchsafe the maturity of the leader, but speaks of his flippancy, if at all. One can see a tutored and carefully stage-managed theatre in all this sordid drama. A sudden overture of righteous posturing will not metamorphose the image of a leader who is known for long stupors. At best, it indicates the outside prodding that doesn’t gel with the usual complacency of the man.
But why this ordinance at all? In a parliament where regular disruptions than transactions have become the order of the day, it is surprising that almost all parties concurred with the ordinance, in diluting the Supreme Court’s verdict. Of course, this is not uncommon with the Congress party like the Women’s Reservation Bill, Salaries and Emoluments of the members of Parliament, eliminating criminals from contesting elections.
There is almost a near unanimity. Obviously, every party has its own share of skeletons in their cupboards. One cannot forget the candid warning given by Lalu Prasad Yadav, when the parliament was deliberating on the Lokpal Bill at the behest of Anna Hazare. He said if the Bill was passed, almost the entire House would go to jail. The now-withdrawn ordinance would have saved criminals from jails and rehabilitated them in Parliament, of course without voting rights, but with all the protection they hitherto enjoyed. Why is the UPA-II yielding to the pressure of the various parties? Who are on its mind? Lalu Prasad Yadav whose Fodder scam case has since been decided and he convicted? Or Karunanidhi’s coterie? Is it Pawan Kumar Bansal? Leaders involved in Adarsh scam? Obviously political compulsions forced the UPA-II to fall in line with all the parties in compromising the judgment. It is now time for the third party to enter the stage with all the dramatics at his command.
On one side the highest court of the land is fortifying the confidence of the masses by insulating the laws and making sure that people with a shady past are kept away from public life, while the leadership is trying to puncture the insulation with possible escape routes. 49-O (empowering the voter to reject a candidate in a secret ballot which is also the fundamental right of the citizen) was a rule envisaged long time back (it was the then Election Commissioner T.S. Krishna Murthy who proposed the idea of incorporating the negative vote as early as 2001), but there were no takers till now. Officially negating the contestants through the ballot box reflects the utter disgust and anger of the electorate which will hopefully go a long way to throw out the scum of Indian politics or make them wary of the voter.
The sudden burst of righteous indignation of the ruling party leadership, courtesy Rahul Gandhi, does not indicate a change in mindset, but best reflects the bankruptcy of the face-saving mechanism at hand. It indicates the anxiety and nervousness of grabbing the lost ground which focuses more on the helplessness than the integrity of the government.

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