ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pressure Cooking in Punjab

Pressure Cooking in Punjab Bhabani Sen Gupta If the prime minister's 'total plan' for Punjab has at last begun to unfold, is it a combination of a very long spell of presidential rule, dissolution of the state assembly, release of the five head priests of the Golden Temple who had been appointed by the Panthic Committee consisting of avowed militants and Khalistanis and of a small proportion of the 400 Jodhpur detenus three and a half years after their detention and a possible declaration of emergency? Of is there anything more?

Budget as a Political Statement

Budget as a Political Statement Bhabani Sen Gupta As a political document, the union budget for 1988-89 has two central messages. First, the ruling party is making a determined effort to gain back the electoral support of the middle peasantry. Second, the party will aggressively confront the opposition-ruled states in a bid to wean away from the opposition parties large segments of their supporters for the Lok Sabha elections.

How Popular Is Rajiv Gandhi

Opinion polls may show the prime minister to be popular with the majority of the electorate, but the image is at best fragile and Rajiv Gandhi is unlikely to gamble his and his party's political future on such fragile evidence of popularity. It will be foolish to minimise the potential strength of a united opposition. If the opposition parties can avoid splitting the anti-Congress(I) vote, Rajiv Gandhi will have a rough time at the hustings.

Building a National Alternative

Building a National Alternative Bhabani Sen Gupta In a fairly large number of states the electorate has found credible alternatives to the Congress(I). The opposition regimes are not deviant fragments of a passing vacuum in the Congress raj, They must be seen as the limbs of an emerging national political alternative.

Cabinet-making and Unmaking

Never have central ministers been so uncertain of their portfolios as in the last three years, never have ministries or departments been under so rapidly shifting leaderships. This has damaged not only the decision-making process but also the never-too-strong infrastructure in several ministries like External Affairs. It does the prime minister no good if ministers are seen by civil servants as men of straw. Rajiv Gandhi will be well advised, therefore, to make his next cabinet reshuffle the last till the next Poll.

Socialism s Ebb and Flow

'Socialism's' Ebb and Flow Bhabani Sen Gupta As the Chinese are building socialism with Chinse characteristics, so is India building capitalism with Indian characteristics. If you insist on calling it 'socialism', you are at liberty to do so because in politics language is often nonspeak.

A Bonaparte in the Making

We have left behind a time when a political crony coined the crude acme of sycophancy: 'Indira is India'. But we still have a prime minister who can roar that he will 'dismiss' a state government if it were found to be taking 'an anti-national direction'. Among the hopes kindled in certain quarters when Rajiv Gandhi took over as prime minister in December 1984 was that he would establish a new relationship between the centre and the states. And it is here that his political failure has been most sadly profound.

Diary from a Doomed Land

In Sri Lanka everybody is waiting, what for nobody is clear. The killings go on in the north and the east and with each day, much to the sardonic delight of the Sinhalese gentry, the IPKF finds itself sinking into a deeper quagmire. The killings and arson are kept up also in the south. Such being the situation, what can the poor elite of Colombo do? They have somehow to amuse themselves, they flock to the New Year ball parties and keep visiting Vilasita Bipani, the ravishingly dazzling luxury departmental stores.

The Fourth Year

The Fourth Year At the beginning of his fourth year as prime minister, much of the Rajiv Gandhi who had rainbowed the imagination of the 80 million Indians who can buy consumer durables has faded away.

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