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Archive for the tag “Congress”

We the unpatriotic

In the first signs of the “professionalization” of the PR and media management of Congress, Hindustan Times today signaled that it has all but been appointed the official PR mouthpiece of the party. With this, HT wins the race over such worthies like Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express and Vinod Mehta of Outlook, who have both tried very hard in the past ten days to push their candidature.

The first signal that HT was ahead in the race came when it got access to a carefully orchestrated exclusive leaks into the supposed dossier that Pakistan shared with India. How such documents are allowed to pass on to public domain, before being shared with Parliament with no need for anyone to even whisper RTI, beats me.

After all, the headline in today’s print edition: “India fights itself over Balochistan” is as good a piece of spin as any produced by top-notch PR agencies with their soul sold to the highest retainership. The headline attempts the oldest trick of all people of a certain description, to take refuge behind patriotism. Let’s speak with one voice, in foreign policy. Doing anything else is unpatriotic; Pakistanis will find us a house divided.

Says HT: “Unable to quarrel with the philosophy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Pakistan policy of ‘trust but verify’, the Opposition on Thursday focused its criticism on the inclusion of Balochistan in the Indo-Pak joint statement of July 16.” See the words? Opposition has a “quarrel” with the Prime Minister’s “philosophy”.

And, it gets better. The article, written by the “HT political Bureau”, then says: “The government strained to explain its position on Balochistan on a day it found oblique support from US special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who refused to endorse the Pakistani position, and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani lauded Singh’s “statesmanship”……” Wah Janaab! So what if our PM is isolated domestically with even the Foreign Secretary conceding the “poor drafting” of the joint-statement? The Prime Minister of Pakistan is lauding his statesmanship. And we are such sticks-in-the mud.

Funnily, you get the feeling as if the entire “political bureau” of the HT sat down and wrote the article; one paragraph per person. In the middle of the article, there are references to the government “straining” to explain its position, a reference to Sushma Swaraj asking “how could a reference to Balochistan advance our national interest?” and Advani’s question on how a unilateral perception of Pakistan get into a joint statement without any mention of India’s position? Maybe there is a BJP mole (or two) in the HT edit team!

It ends with a coverage of Sonia Gandhi’s “carefully worded statement” who “stopped short of defending the (joint) statement“.

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The prevailing “wisdom” on disinvestment is Catch-22

We will disinvest; we will not. We will divest upto 49%; no, we will not.

We will disinvest when the time is ripe. Meaning, when the market is ruled by fools and everyone and his sabjiwala is buying stocks.

Here’s my reading:

1. By saying they will disinvest, only when the market is near its peak, the government has professed to be the ultimate stock market expert. They can actually predict the peak.

2. They have also said that it takes 8-9 months for a single disinvestment to go through; that’s the time it takes the government to do all the due-diligence, window-dress the books,  do a multi-country road-show and so on.

3. 1&2 read together tells you that this government will never disinvest in anything, because they will have to anticipate the theoretical market peak 8-9 months prior to it happening.

4. If any proof was ever needed, it is here that the 1st 5 years of soporific calm that this government displayed, was not due to being periodically hit on the “left” side of the head by blunt instruments wielded by Messr Karat and Yechury. The Congress government of Manmohan Singh, does not need any further help in muddle-headed thinking; they are quite capable of muddling along themselves, thank you.

Could Lieberhan finally liberate BJP?

But, the Congress is in no mood to oblige, for now.

After countless extensions and 17 full years after the event, M S Lieberhan, retired Judge of Punjab and Haryana HC, finally has submitted his findings on the Ayodhya episode of 1992 where frenzied Kar Sevaks, allegedly demolished a centuries old structure called  the Babri Masjid, which was, by some accounts built by demolishing an old Hindu temple purportedly standing at the very birthplace of Lord Rama.
Notice how careful I am with words. Hedging my bets; steering out of trouble and certainly not taking sides in a case reeking of the word “sub-judice”. This is because, I do not wish to be meander into a line of debate/ reasoning which is not the main point of this blog at all.

The point is that I sense an opportunity in this, for BJP.  Could it be, that, Liebarhan will do for the party, what even the voters could not do? Get the BJP rid of the albatrosses around its neck, namely Advani and Joshi? Not to mention, a pre-occupation with 10th centrury issues like Ram Mandir and Ram Setu?

And, is this why, the Congress Government is weighing its options carefully? Perhaps, making the report public and taking action on its basis might actually work in BJP’s favour.

Advani and Joshi are like Gavaskar and Boycott; useful for playing  marathon innings. Not when, you have to chase down a huge score in a tearing hurry.

Gavaskar and Boycott retired and took to commentating. Advani and Joshi show no signs of wanting to retire. Perhaps Lieberhan report will help them make up their minds. Perversely, the Congress government, will probably want them to continue “batting” without ever getting out. For in their presence at the crease lies the best chance for the Congress.

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