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New Year Thoughts

They are dependent on the office boys of the PM's secretariat who sit on decisions and refuse to get into the tangles of co-ordination. What does it matter if we have created a jungle of interest rates, one resource-gathering effort damaged by the other? What does it matter if delays inflate the cost of the Visakhapatnam steel plant from some Rs 2,256 crore to Rs 7,464 crore? It's all part of the new ball game, as the PM says.

Electioneering Has Begun

Electioneering Has Begun Romesh Thapar OUR dynastic prime minister who was well advised to avoid the hustings during the election contests in Punjab and Assam, if only to prevent a further intensification of divisiveness, has now taken on the role of undisguised party campaigner months before the elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Haryana, and Kashmir. There is no subtlety in the politicking. In fact, it is damaging to the PM's office In whatever way you look at it.

The Making of Leadership

The Making of Leadership Romesh Thapar NOTHING is more infuriating than the political prattle around the theme, "But, then, what is the alternative?" A democratic party or combination of parties could throw up a leadership far more relevant than what we have at present. When R K Hegde says that not since the days of Tughlak have we been so casually served, he is not far wrong. Yet, surprisingly, he fails to note that the recent Janata Party confabulations in the capital, of which he was part, assist the prattle about the lack of alternatives.

All This Getting Together

All This Getting Together Romesh Thapar WHAT is Rajiv Gandhi trying to do? He finally persuaded himself, despite the presence of that mischief-maker, Fotedar, that he must be allied to Farooq Abdullah in some sort of yet unworked out political compact. Sharad Pawar has been embraced to consolidate the Congress hold in Maharashtra. His 'feelers' are out to all manner of Congress types in the Janata Party, and apparently there are responses from the Chimanbhai Patel operators.

A Damaged Image

A Damaged 'Image' Romesh Thapar IF Rajiv Gandhi cannot oersuade India to heighten its determination to live with terrorist outrages and fails to work out political and economic initiatives that have an impact on Punjab, he is going to face a mounting revolt in his party. The parliamentary and public reaction to the deliberately brutal killings by the terrorists, deliberate because communal riots are cynically sought to be sparked, could become uncontrollable. Unless there is visible improvement in the Punjab situation, many heads could fall- including Barnala's.

Political Speculations

Political Speculations Romesh Thapar ONCE again, speculation is widespread about the future of the Congress party. As always, it is encouraged by a whimsical dynastic leadership and by the lack of any commitments to any visible ideology or programme. Now, Rajiv Gandhi's wayward dabbling in cabinet-making and his shifting alignments have caused many factional vibrations.

Smaller States

Smaller States? Romesh Thapar WE watch the growing confrontation in Darjeeling and its neighbourhood with increasing despair Admittedly, Subhas Ghising, 'the failed novelist', is not a serious or stable leader for a Gorkha movement seeking a settlement within the Indian federal framework, but the rhetorical way in which the charge is levelled that the movement is 'anti-national' can do immense damage. The tiny ethnic communities are amused. Is Laldenga of Mizoram an Indian nationalist?

India The Crisis of a System

India: The Crisis of a System Romesh Thapar THE attempt to understand India in simplistic equations is attractive, but it is fraught with many dangers. Take your pick of easy analysis. Our Planning Commission speaks of attractive growth rates. The World Bank praises our management of the economy. And, many continue to be impressed by our democratic ambience and the stability ensured by the massive majority of the ruling party in Parliament.

Mother and Son

Mother and Son Romesh Thapar WE'VE been thinking about the eight meaningless Cabinet reshuffle. The pro- moting and demoting of the ministerial team is so reminiscent of the days of Indira Gandhi. She was notorious for turning servants into ministers and ministers into servants. Her dear son seems similarly inclined, but he forgets that Mama had a grip over the party which he does not have. In fact, he is a distant totem without much knowledge of what goes on.

Changing Balance of Power

Changing Balance of Power Romesh Thapar I HOPE our Foreign Office is sensitive to the vibrations of the Gorbachev-Reagan meeting. We tend to took upon these events as part of a rather superficial diplomatic war, a kind of chess game in which one or the other superpower moves to some advantageous position. Whatever the assessments of the recent meeting by so-called experts, the thrust of the talks suggests that Gorbachev is into a new ball game. He really wants to neutralise the threat of superpower collisions.

This Security Business

This Security Business Romesh Thapar WHATEVER persuades us that an alert and effective security system is possible in a sea of casualness and inefficiency? Every comment from all parts of the country is loaded with shock about the assassination incident at Raj Ghat and the terrorist penetration of the armed police headquarters in Jalandhar, And the hunt is on, also very typically, to find scapegoats

Backwards All...

Backwards All... Romesh Thapar FRANKLY, and particularly after the penetration of the security system at Raj Ghat by a wayward character, I think the time has come for our dynamic PM, Rajiv Gandhi, to rouse himself for another 'instant' decision and use his massive parliamentary majority to carry a constitutional amendment to declare all the tribes, castes and communities of India as 'backwards', A dramatic move of this kind might save us from the violent agitations now surfacing to claim everything (including security!) on the basis of 'reservations

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