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An Alternative Political Culture

An Alternative Political Culture Romesh Thaper THE more the heat of summer drives our politicians, active and otherwise, to the gossipy confines of the central hall of Parliament, the more they titillate themselves with al! manner of permutations and combinations on possible constitutional changes. The discussion ranges from early elections to no elections, to extending Parliament's life from one to two years, from a presidential system to a directly- elected prime minister freed of dependence on legislators, from committee systems to replace lazy debates, which anyway lack a quorum, to limited parliamentary sessions. Each proposal is laced with authoritarian thinking, the sort that centralises power and makes it distant from the concerns of the people. But the puppet master, the lady of Ladies, is silent.

Crossing the Point of No Return

Crossing the Point of No Return Romesh Thaper TO capture the political, economic and social vibrations in the Capital these days, one needs an extra sensitive network of informers, buried here, there and everywhere. Nothing happens. There is a deadness, a despair, a deep demoralisation. Indeed, so many who curse and abuse this 'non-government' if ever there was one, will probably vote it back to power. They have too much to lose in a change. I suppose that is what is meant by an entrenched vested interest.

The Leader in a Trap

'The Leader' in a Trap Romesh Thaper IF N T Rama Rao is an accomplished actor, Indira Gandhi is no less. Since the Congress(I) debacle in the South, she is playing it cool in public, so cool in fact that she told a visitor that she was surprised that they did as well Small wonder, then, that she is trying to explain away the defeat as something created by hostile publicity. Not a single flunkey is around to tell het that eighty per cent of the voters don't touch a newspaper, that if anything the untruths of her Akashvani and Doordarshan probably created a loathing for the Congress(I) loafers.

Images and Image-Making

Images and Image-Making Romesh Thaper AS the date for the convening of Parliament approaches, political attention is naturally getting focused on all the possible personnel changes that might get this hopelessly moribund government, at the Centre and in the states, moving. And it doesn't surprise anyone that chief minister Pahadia in Jaipur should hold the spotlight, for he is the greatest of the non-performers.

The Mood Is Sober

THE stirrings in the Foreign Office seem invariably to lead to microscopic results. This is unfortunate, he- cause this is the time to broaden and deepen dialogues with our neighbours, to get out of the old grooves of suspicion and fear. The comings and goings between Islamabad, Beijing and Delhi are described as assisting 'normalisation'. This may well be so, but we need more precise difinitions of what is normal.

CAPITAL VIEW

Strategies for Equity Ifzal Ali B M Desai R Ramakrishna V S Vyas This paper attempts to focus on the prospects and problems of Indian agriculture by the turn of the century. Its emphasis is mainly on issues relating to distribution, and the increasing of the purchasing power of the poorest segments of the population.

Politics and the Drought

assessments, backed by the comments of domestic servants, taximen and scooterwallahs, Indira Gandhi and Son seem to be in panic about their prospects in the forthcoming elections
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