Monday, July 14, 2008

As the song goes, salute the mother/Power&Politics, Mail Today, July 14, 2008

NEXT week, we will know if the Government lives to fight another day, but already the Congress seems to be in acelebratory mood, particularly the younger lot which is showing an aggression unseen in along time. The Old Guard is wary knowing that the most elaborate survival plans can be punctured by one MP on the floor of the house. But amidst the celebrations, there is also debate raging within the party: who was the catalyst? Was it Manmohan Singh, who made the deal aprestige issue? Or Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, who between them made the many deals to get the numbers to save the nuclear deal? While the PM must be given his due, it's Sonia and son who walk away with the honours. With one stroke, she has accomplished several tasks. Unlike 2004, when the UPA was cobbled together post election, anew pre- poll alliance is already in place and aonce formidable foe in UP is now an ally. She has shown the Left the door with apolite thank you note and now knows she can dictate the agenda because her new allies are as business friendly as her front- ranking ministers. And when elections come, she can approach both the khaas aadmi and aam admi with areport card that could make up for the four lost years of supping with the Left. To achieve this, Sonia and Rahul did what was unthinkable even afew months ago. For the last few weeks, she has overworked the phone lines at 10 Janpath, even getting in touch with people she wouldn’t otherwise be seen dead with. Ditto for Rahul who let bygones be bygones and will now campaign in Uttar Pradesh in the company of Mulayam. The young man of course couldn’t have done all this without Sonia’s guiding hand. No wonder, in the Congress, they are all singing Maa Tujhe Salaam!!

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