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Vir Sanghvi is now Writing for a Islamic Website of Saudi Arabia..Finally Showing his true colors


http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2010122289785

This Post is for record Keeping only…You can  visit the original website..

 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010  -  16 Muharram 1432 H

The mood in India’s ruling party is one of gloom

I WAS talking to a veteran Congressman a few days ago. Like most Congressmen, he was willing to be more candid about his party’s prospects in private than he would have been in the course of an on-the-record conversation. I don’t necessarily share his perspective but this is roughly what he said: the Congress is in more trouble than it realizes. While nobody doubts that the party’s top leaders are honest, there is a growing annoyance at the sense of drift that seems to have overtaken the government. In the absence of strong leadership, there is a free-for-all and not just individual ministers but also entrepreneurial civil servants are doing pretty much what they like.
This has already begun to cause middle-class resentment of the sort that the party’s governments faced in the late 80s and in the mid 90s. Both times, the middle-class’ views were initially dismissed as being of no electoral consequence. Eventually, that middle-class disenchantment grew to such levels that the Congress lost the elections that followed.
At the ground level, the Congressman said, the situation was not much better. He did not accept the general view that the party had frittered away its gains in Uttar Pradesh and believed that it was still roughly as popular as the Samajwadi Party. But he was skeptical about the Congress’ prospects in other states. As the assembly elections had demonstrated, the Congress hardly counts for anything in Bihar. It has made no headway in Madhya Pradesh. It will face anti-incumbency in Rajasthan where the chief minister has rivals within his own party.
The South is not much more encouraging. Tamil Nadu is a mess. The DMK is, at best, an unreliable ally and at worst, a liability. Poor political management has damaged the Congress’ prospects in Andhra. In Karnataka, the Congress has yet to gain substantially from the BJP’s problems. And in Kerala, it is the CPM’s turn to win the election next time in that state’s in-and-out political system.
Given this gloomy scenario, the Congressman said, the party’s best hope lay in reawakening the traditional post-1971 Congress base. To some extent, the UPA’s 2009 victory was due to the party’s popularity with the poor and those at the margins of our society who had benefited from the government’s welfare schemes. But that was a one-off. You can’t expect exactly the same kind of support five years later. In the cities, the industrial workers who were once part of the Congress’ support base had moved on after it became the party of liberalization. So, the poor were not a very dependable constituency any longer.
THAT said the Congressman, left the Muslims. If the Congress could get something like two-thirds of the Muslim vote, then its prospects improved vastly. But, in today’s India, Muslims no longer vote only as Muslims. They vote as Indians, on the basis of the same issues that influence Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, etc. The only time the Muslim vote consolidates is when they perceive a threat from Hindu communalists.
Though people like myself had spent years attacking Narendra Modi, the Congressman laughed, a Modi ascendency might actually have been good for the Congress. If Narendra Modi emerged as leader of the BJP, this would scare Muslims and drive them into the arms of the Congress. Equally, it would put off many moderate Hindus who did not want to live in a communally surcharged India.
The problem, he said, was that Modi was seeming increasingly like a Gujarat-centric figure. Either his popularity did not travel well or the BJP had taken a deliberate decision to restrict him to regional prominence. Consequently, no Muslim in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar worried that Modi might soon be ruling India. The Muslims still did not like the BJP, of course, but they did not believe that the ascendency of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari or any of the others among this generation of BJP leaders represented a threat to their well-being. In fact, said the Congressman, this generation of BJP hot-shots was perceived by Muslims as being more benign than, say, L.K. Advani.
What then, was the Congress to do?
The Congressman had many suggestions, most of which had to do with the internal organization of the party and its strategising. But while I am not necessarily in agreement with his assessment of the state of the Congress, I recount it in such detail because it offers an insight into the mood of many Congressmen. No matter what they may say in public, there is a sense of despondency and gloom within the party. Not since 1971, has any party come back to power for a second full term. So, the UPA’s victory last year was a major achievement. But Congressmen now believe that a third term seems unlikely.
What does all this mean for the rest of us?
Well, first of all, remember that these are early days. It was Harold Wilson who famously said that a week is a long time in politics. Things change very quickly and the present mood may not necessarily last. Secondly, nobody can ever predict what lies ahead in politics. Harold Macmillan, one of Wilson’s predecessors as British Prime Minister, was once asked what he feared most. “Events, dear boy, events,” he replied.
All successful politicians know that none of us have any control over events. They occur when we least expect them and they throw all our calculations out of whack. So far, events have worked to the detriment of the Congress. But this need not always be the case.
FOR instance, when the Vajpayee government lost that famous confidence vote, all of us thought that the BJP was done for. But events (the failure of Mulayam Singh to support the Congress and then the victory at Kargil) came to the BJP’s rescue. So, I would be wary of making too many predictions about the UPA so early into its second term. A lot can happen before the election is due. But I still think that it is important for us to recognize what the mood in the Congress is. Because only then will we be able to understand many of the things its leaders and its ministers are saying and doing. This is a government doing its damnedest to dig itself out of a hole.
– Vir Sanghvi is Editorial Director of Hindustan Times __

The mood in India’s ruling party is one of gloom

I WAS talking to a veteran Congressman a few days ago. Like most Congressmen, he was willing to be more candid about his party’s prospects in private than he would have been in the course of an on-the-record conversation. I don’t necessarily share his perspective but this is roughly what he said: the Congress is in more trouble than it realizes. While nobody doubts that the party’s top leaders are honest, there is a growing annoyance at the sense of drift that seems to have overtaken the government. In the absence of strong leadership, there is a free-for-all and not just individual ministers but also entrepreneurial civil servants are doing pretty much what they like.
This has already begun to cause middle-class resentment of the sort that the party’s governments faced in the late 80s and in the mid 90s. Both times, the middle-class’ views were initially dismissed as being of no electoral consequence. Eventually, that middle-class disenchantment grew to such levels that the Congress lost the elections that followed.
At the ground level, the Congressman said, the situation was not much better. He did not accept the general view that the party had frittered away its gains in Uttar Pradesh and believed that it was still roughly as popular as the Samajwadi Party. But he was skeptical about the Congress’ prospects in other states. As the assembly elections had demonstrated, the Congress hardly counts for anything in Bihar. It has made no headway in Madhya Pradesh. It will face anti-incumbency in Rajasthan where the chief minister has rivals within his own party.
The South is not much more encouraging. Tamil Nadu is a mess. The DMK is, at best, an unreliable ally and at worst, a liability. Poor political management has damaged the Congress’ prospects in Andhra. In Karnataka, the Congress has yet to gain substantially from the BJP’s problems. And in Kerala, it is the CPM’s turn to win the election next time in that state’s in-and-out political system.
Given this gloomy scenario, the Congressman said, the party’s best hope lay in reawakening the traditional post-1971 Congress base. To some extent, the UPA’s 2009 victory was due to the party’s popularity with the poor and those at the margins of our society who had benefited from the government’s welfare schemes. But that was a one-off. You can’t expect exactly the same kind of support five years later. In the cities, the industrial workers who were once part of the Congress’ support base had moved on after it became the party of liberalization. So, the poor were not a very dependable constituency any longer.
THAT said the Congressman, left the Muslims. If the Congress could get something like two-thirds of the Muslim vote, then its prospects improved vastly. But, in today’s India, Muslims no longer vote only as Muslims. They vote as Indians, on the basis of the same issues that influence Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, etc. The only time the Muslim vote consolidates is when they perceive a threat from Hindu communalists.
Though people like myself had spent years attacking Narendra Modi, the Congressman laughed, a Modi ascendency might actually have been good for the Congress. If Narendra Modi emerged as leader of the BJP, this would scare Muslims and drive them into the arms of the Congress. Equally, it would put off many moderate Hindus who did not want to live in a communally surcharged India.
The problem, he said, was that Modi was seeming increasingly like a Gujarat-centric figure. Either his popularity did not travel well or the BJP had taken a deliberate decision to restrict him to regional prominence. Consequently, no Muslim in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar worried that Modi might soon be ruling India. The Muslims still did not like the BJP, of course, but they did not believe that the ascendency of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari or any of the others among this generation of BJP leaders represented a threat to their well-being. In fact, said the Congressman, this generation of BJP hot-shots was perceived by Muslims as being more benign than, say, L.K. Advani.
What then, was the Congress to do?
The Congressman had many suggestions, most of which had to do with the internal organization of the party and its strategising. But while I am not necessarily in agreement with his assessment of the state of the Congress, I recount it in such detail because it offers an insight into the mood of many Congressmen. No matter what they may say in public, there is a sense of despondency and gloom within the party. Not since 1971, has any party come back to power for a second full term. So, the UPA’s victory last year was a major achievement. But Congressmen now believe that a third term seems unlikely.
What does all this mean for the rest of us?
Well, first of all, remember that these are early days. It was Harold Wilson who famously said that a week is a long time in politics. Things change very quickly and the present mood may not necessarily last. Secondly, nobody can ever predict what lies ahead in politics. Harold Macmillan, one of Wilson’s predecessors as British Prime Minister, was once asked what he feared most. “Events, dear boy, events,” he replied.
All successful politicians know that none of us have any control over events. They occur when we least expect them and they throw all our calculations out of whack. So far, events have worked to the detriment of the Congress. But this need not always be the case.
FOR instance, when the Vajpayee government lost that famous confidence vote, all of us thought that the BJP was done for. But events (the failure of Mulayam Singh to support the Congress and then the victory at Kargil) came to the BJP’s rescue. So, I would be wary of making too many predictions about the UPA so early into its second term. A lot can happen before the election is due. But I still think that it is important for us to recognize what the mood in the Congress is. Because only then will we be able to understand many of the things its leaders and its ministers are saying and doing. This is a government doing its damnedest to dig itself out of a hole.
– Vir Sanghvi is Editorial Director of Hindustan Times

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2010122289785

 

All the rights belong to the Saudi Website and I have given the Links also.. and I am Just putting it on the blog so that we have a record of the writing  etc.….

  1. Meenal
    December 22, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Great piece Mr Sanghvi. As well-argued as always. Thank you and God bless you.

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