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Thursday, July 10, 2008


With the official withdrawal of support by the Left to the UPA Govt. at the Center the over all political topography of our national politics seems to have altered for the time being. I say 'time being' because of the "No Rupture is permanent" comment by the CPI's A.B Bardhan within a day of the Left pulling the plug on the Govt. To the average onlooker it might seem to be a daft remark betraying political opportunism for the future but to the seasoned follower of the The Great Indian Circus which goes by the name of 'national politics' in these parts this comment is a gem of a political profundity.

Not only does the comment hint at future alliances with the 'secular' Congress to thwart the coronation of 'communal' powers ( a stated Left policy) but it also is a sort of mischievous wink to the Congress High Command, hinting at the possibilities that might pose themselves post the 2009 General Elections. Moreover, my take (albeit at the risk of being dubbed a 'conspiracy theorist' of the vilest order) on the matter is that its another Left stratagem.

Let me explain first by enumerating the predicaments facing the Left before they decided to pull-out from the Govt.

1. Surging inflation, an impending oil crisis and increasing interest rates makes for a bad report-card after 4 years even if you are not in charge of the Govt. The Govt. runs on your borrowed support, dammit! Do something to show the people you are their 'Messiah in Reds'. Oppose every move. Stonewall every decision by the Govt. which poses short-term difficulties for the people but has long-term benefits. Public memory is short, remember ? In India its shortest.

2. Nuke Deal ? Yes, that sounds like the ideal issue for pulling the rug from beneath the Congress. Moreover, our GS doesn't like the Yankees much. Why couldn't they have penned something with the Chinese and called it the '一 - 二 - 三 Deal' rather than the 1-2-3 rubbish. It would have been much easier on our rigid ideological stance, you see.

3. Hello! Ain't we supposed to fight the Congress tooth and nail in every state where we have a foothold in the coming General Elections. 4 Years of sharing the bed is enough. Now is the time to abort the unwanted child. Its bad for business, you see, this getting seen honey-mooning for too long with your stated rivals. Its parting-time now!

4. But this won't be so simple. Pulling down the Govt would mean elections within 6 months and the party isn't even ready. The cadres aren't ready. Had a heavy drubbing in the last Panchayats in Bengal and now this. If this is any sign of things we will not fare too well in the next Lok Sabha. 59 might well come down to 30. Forget about the fanciful 'Third Alternative' we won't even be asked for outside-support. Gosh! No issue-based oppositions! No arm-twisting! No Co-ordination Committees! Nightmare! Nightmare!

Then there was LIGHT!

The Left decides to withdraw support and seek immediate trust-vote to prove the majority of the Govt on the floor of the House. I reckon this is why:

1. Withdrawing support makes us look like the only party left with any ideology. We will call ourselves 'pro-poor, pro-people, pro-farmer, pro-worker' again, the BPO segment notwithstanding of course. They are the 'New Bourgeoisie'. Gives us the moral upper-hand in a country where UP politicians are soon to rule the roost. Everyone knows what that means. The Congress will soon ( again) know what being SP-ied mean! They will come scurrying back to us in a post-election scenario. Even they know the expediency of choosing the 'Lesser Evil' out of two. Sounds fascinating!

2. Karat seems a tad too staunch for hard bargaining. Surjeet was more of a man-for-all-seasons. Doesn't understand the compulsions of electoral politics. No wonder Vir Sanghvi calls him 'the man who never won a Municipal Election'. Still, we will have to do with him. He's better than that Biman Bose.

3. Safe distance from the Congress now that we have withdrawn support. We can easily campaign against their 'anti-people' policies now. We were never a part of the decision-making apparatus. Were we ? However with the amount of time left for the present US Congress before the Presidential Elections ,the Nuke Deal will meet a dead-end soon. The UPA-Left Co-ordination Committee has served its purpose. What a great move was that! Was it Yechury's or Pranab's idea? This Committee? God! We should leave Jangipur to him again. He's a great man.

4. This is our common favourite. The Stratagem! Even Bimal Gurung's Gorkhaland number plates idea can't beat it. We are after all talking 'national' here. Here goes:

We ask for an immediate trust-vote motion. We vote against the Govt, against the 1-2-3 deal, but remember, not with the BJP. They just happen to be on our side, incidentally. We don't try too hard to rally too many parties, independents or splinter-groups in voting against the Govt. They remain blissfully absent or abstain on the day of the vote. The UPA Govt. proves its majority, continues at the Centre for the coming 6 months. No 'No-Confidence Motion' can be sought within that time-frame. So, we get time to dissociate from the Congress, protest in Delhi, stage dharnas and hartaals all in the interest of the common people while the Govt. continues. What's the use of crying 'anti-incumbency' when they are not at the helm. We will catch them in power these last 6 months. Sounds great!

Moreover, these 6 months our cadres can use to pile up whatever is necessary to win seats in the coming elections. Congress or no Congress, clout in the House is numbers at the end of the day. The rise and fall of Deve Gowda, I.K Gujral and the Third Front taught us that lesson all right.

Now, say all of you, isn't it a real good move ? This bringing down...errrr.........pretending to bring down the house....? eh ?

cartoon: courtesy:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Not the End of an Era

The Fed-Express has finally come to a halt in the Centre Court of London.

In what was arguably the best and clearly the longest battle between the two masters of the game we were all feted to a sparkling display of the most glorious tennis.

Rafael Nadal is the latest name to be etched on that golden Wimbledon Trophy and isn't he a deserving winner! Not that Roger Federer didn't fight back after two sets down. He came within a width of a whisker to winning it for the sixth straight time. But the nerveless perseverance of Rafael 'The Gladiator' Nadal stretched over close to 5 hours ultimately yielded fruit. Even the staunchest of fans from both sides would agree that both should have shared the trophy at the podium. So flawless was the script, so breathtaking every single moment of play, so terrific the duel, so awesome the effect of it all.

Many would speculate this to mark 'The End of an Era'. I believe Roger has more to give. Much more to give. Yes, there was an air of hurt and disappointment at the presentation speech. But it also came with an air of unexpressed grit and determination. If the man says, " I will be back next year" I reckon he really means 'it'. I will be mighty surprised if he doesn't finish his career a few notches above Pete Sampras's tally of 14 Grand Slams.

But then, let's not forget to celebrate the raw class, the seamless play, the lightness of foot of another great. That of Rafael Nadal. It takes a lot to get the majority to root for you in the Centre Court. Three back to back Wimbledon finals and one crowning victory. Nadal has now cemented his place in the pantheon of all time greats of the game. That the entire tennis following fraternity will from now on wait for a 'Clash of the Titans' between him and Federer on the grass-court ( or hard-court) speaks volumes of the powers of the Spaniard. It is born out of the assumption that the French Open is his for the taking for the foreseeable future. And that's exactly how Nadal is claiming Roger's territory. Fast and Relentless.

Let we be teated to more such duel. And let the better of the 'Two Bests' win. Amen.