Congress

BACK TO THE 1990s

Mamata Bannerjee

In 1996, when there were still considerable fears about the future of economic reform and western investors were flocking to management gurus to brush up on the basics of India, the Wall Street Journal quoted an Indian marketing expert instructing potential investors with a simple dictum. “Repeat after me,” he would go. “India is different, […..]

THE DIMINISHING OF RAHUL GANDHI

In October 2009, Open magazine ran a cover story with the title ‘Will the Congress rule for the next 20 years?’ The Congress had just won three state elections soon after its Lok Sabha triumph, the Opposition was still in disarray, Manmohan Singh seemed like a man in charge, Sonia Gandhi confident and Rahul Gandhi […..]

THE GAMES OF GLOATING

Back in the 1970s, Willie Whitelow, who later became Margaret Thatcher’s deputy prime minister, famously responded to a crisis in the then Labour government by tut-tutting to reporters: “Mustn’t gloat, wrong to gloat, mustn’t do it, no, no, no. Well, I can tell you, I am gloating like hell.” The parliamentary debate on the Commonwealth […..]

MUM’S THE WORD FOR CONGRESS

Among the litany of mistakes that have littered the Congress’ path around the crisis it finds itself in now, two structural ones stand out for special mention. The first was an inexplicable strategic call early on that it could somehow pretend that the party was in some way separate from the government, that the sins […..]

CALLING RAMDEV’S BLUFF

When the French writer Andre Malraux asked Jawaharlal Nehru in 1958 about his greatest difficulty since Independence, Nehru is said to have replied, “Creating a just state by just means”. He then added: “Perhaps, too, creating a secular state in a religious country.” The supposed religiosity of voters is one reason why governments are almost […..]

LIP SERVICE JUST WON’T DO

In March 1938, when confronted with rising reports of corruption in the Congress provincial ministries that had come into being a year earlier under the Government of India Act, Gandhi issued a press statement from Rajkot. “The one and only task before the Congress,” he said, “is to make supreme efforts to clean the Congress […..]

AFTER OBSTRUCTION, TIME FOR SOLUTIONS

In the mid-1970s, just when national disenchantment with the opaque and corrupt polity that Congress-raj had turned into was hitting its peak, Anand Bakshi caught the popular mood with his prescient ‘Yeh public hai, yeh sab jaantee hai’ number in the Rajesh Khanna starrer ‘Roti’. Coming right before the Emergency when Navnirman politics was still […..]