Sunday, March 26, 2006

'Shaheed' Sonia & her cliché band

mar 26th

swapan does a terrific analysis as usual. isn't it about time the nehru dynasty stopped sacrificing and let someone else do the sacrificing? same with the marxists. these peoples' 'sacrifices' are costing the country an absolute fortune *

btw, ashok malik formerly of the indian express is now at the pioneer. which kinds of makes sense. he was a horrible misfit at the express, and he fits in much better at the pioneer.

* with apologies to sarojini naidu who said that about the other gandhi.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Yash

Shaheed' Sonia & her cliché band
- by Swapan Dasgupta
Columnist Swaminathan S Aiyar, with whom I shared an office in The Times of India in the early-1990s, was a great advocate of clichés. In his quirky way, he viewed clichés as an instrument of reaching out to the uninitiated. Since last Thursday afternoon, when Sonia Gandhi unveiled the third act of her serial renunciation melodrama, the TV channels have gone overboard with their competitive cliché-mongering.  

Sonia, we have been told, has "checkmated" the BJP and taken "the wind out of the sails" of those who dared to suggest that she was holding an office of profit in the National Advisory Council. Her twin resignation from the Lok Sabha and NAC has been dubbed a "masterstroke" and a "stroke of genius". The noisy claque that assembled outside 10 Janpath couldn't have agreed more.

Of course there have been contrarian voices from the other side. With characteristic earthiness, BJP president Rajnath Singh invoked the imagery of the disingenuous pilgrim who trips into the Ganga and turns awkwardness into piety - paier phisal gaya toh Har Har Gange. However, since old Hindu sayings may be culturally incomprehensible to the congregation of the newly canonised, it may help get the same message across in Latin - dat veniam corvis, vexat censura - "the censures indulge the crows but harass the doves."

Falling back on Latin obscurity to answer the onrush of clichés is appropriate. In the realms of political theology, the office-of-profit controversy is akin to the disputes over split infinitives in English grammar. The Congress president could have chosen a multitude of issues to demonstrate her disdain for the white Ambassador car - the ubiquitous symbol of office. There was the UN-sponsored Volcker Report which suggested that the Congress was a non-contractual beneficiary of Saddam Hussein's gratification. There was the shameful scandal involving the surreptitious release of frozen funds back to Italian fugitive Ottavio Quattrocchi. At a pinch, she could even have taken umbrage at an alleged e-mail linked to the Scorpene submarine deal that speaks of the approval of "the lady." Instead, she chose an issue that last agitated the British Parliament in the reign of George III. It was so abstruse that the courtiers didn't know whether to be jubilant or indignant.

Sonia's third renunciation is calculated to yield diminishing returns. By turning the focus on her own selflessness, she will, no doubt, give the Congress a talking point. At the same time, this knee-jerk reaction to avoid the Election Commission's scrutiny carries the risk of grave collateral damage.

First, her unilateralism has left her UPA allies sullen and unimpressed. Second, it has added to the strains between the Congress and the Left parties. The Left shared the BJP's misgivings over the needless conspiratorial bid to smuggle in an ordinance after abruptly concluding the Budget session.

Finally, and this is the most damaging consequence, her grandstanding has injected the first real note of instability into the Manmohan Singh Government. For the first time since May 2004 there is talk of the UPA Government being forced into an early general election to deflect from the growing internal contradictions of the coalition. Beginning with the vindictive assault on Jaya Bachchan, the course office-of-profit drama reveals an inherent mismatch between the agenda of Sonia's Praetorian guards and those pursuing sober governance. The present tamasha has made the PM look responsible and the Congress president impulsive. Will dynastic interests permit this emerging 'distortion' to continue?

Cutting through the cloud of clichés, Sonia's shenanigans have created new openings for the NDA. As the Congress hurtles towards puerile adventurism, the Opposition has the opportunity to quietly fish in troubled waters and position itself as the sober alternative. For the BJP, this is the time for patient preparation and deft strategy. It is certainly not the moment to hare round India in a bus searching for a fruit that is not ready for plucking.

Can you fight the Reality TV remake of Mother India with a Doordarshan version of Sunset Boulevard?
**********************************************************************************   This Congman's complaint brought Sonia down

LUCKNOW, March 23: When Madan Mohan Shukla, a little-known UP Congressman, took his personal battle to a high moral platform, little would he have known that it might boomerang two years later—on his party chief.


His swagger at having been able to fight and win an unequal war with Jaya Bachchan, helped by political grandmasters like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, has today been replaced by a brave face.

On Sonia's resignation on Thursday though, he parroted the Congress theme: ''The idol of sacrifice, our leader''.

And asked if he would now want to climb down from the high horse he rode on, he said, ''It was Mulayam Yadav and Co, who brought the ordinance to denotify 79 posts of offices of profit.''

Asked for his view on an office of profit today, the reply: ''My stance on the issue was true then and even now.''

In 2004, Shukla's nomination for the Rajya Sabha was turned down as he had not filled in his educational qualification. He filed a complaint with the Election Commission that his opponent, Jaya Bachchan, too could not take that seat for she held an office of profit. But her political advisers found a way out — get her to resign as the chairperson of UP Film Development Council on a back date. So, as a Rajya Sabha member, she would have only one post. Soon after, she was happily made the Council chairperson, much to the chagrin of Shukla and the Congress.

But to Shukla's delight, the Election Commission saw Jaya out, two years later. All that remained was the verdict of the Allahabad High Court's Lucknow Bench on his challenge against the rejection of his nomination. Then, today, came the bolt from the blue.


jisa said...

Good blog, nice to be here

Kaunteya said...

I also liked Jayalalitha's comment of "Hobson's choice". It said everything in 2 words.
She does come up with such stuff all the time.

iamfordemocracy said...

If some BJP or Shivsena person had found this Office for Profit case, in an effort to unsettle Sonia, we would have thought that BJP and SS were doing their job properly. It turns out that they needed a Congressman to point out that Sonia was enjoying so many offices of profit. Of course, BJP men tried to join the chorus once the Congress fellow spotted the issue. Makes me wonder whether BJP is really against Sonia.

saras said...

I am puzzled to read a report that the RSS ideologue M.G. Vaidya praised Sonia Gabdhi for quitting the Lok Sabha in time. He described this as a “clever move and maturity in politics”.

He further said “Mrs Gandhi deserves compliments for stopping the Congress-led UPA government from bringing an ordinance to save the situation. There is no point in the Opposition criticising Sonia for quitting both the posts. The Congress will get the benefits from her resignations".

This is in total contrast to what the BJP says in this context. I wonder what is really happening between the RSS and the BJP. Why don't they just talk to one another before going public?

iamfordemocracy said...

RSS, I guess is helpless. BJP piggybacked them to power and then worked against their own voters. Congress, in that respect, is a known devil. Why should RSS ask its cadre to vote and work for BJP? Does anyone have any good answers?