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

Romesh ThaparSubscribe to Romesh Thapar

Is the Sickness Becoming Chronic

February 17, 1968 in 1965-66 due to severe competition from Hongkong and Pakistan. Financial results show total sales Rs 12 lakhs lower at Rs 2.44 crores and gross profit Rs 1 lakh lower at Rs 17 lakhs. Out of the net profit of Rs 6 lakhs (Rs 7 lakhs), the unchanged 12 per cent equity distribution will absorb Rs 4 lakhs and the usual payment on preference and deferred shares Rs 1 lakh.

Forecasts, Facts, Fancies and Fables

Forecasts, Facts, Fancies and Fables Romesh Thapar FOR once, alas, political forecasting is beginning to show a certain degree of accuracy! Annadurai has outlawed Hindi in Tamilnad and ordered the disbanding of the State's NCC and ACC if they continue to use Hindi words of command, a tough line which brings the language problem back on to the political agenda with the threat of English becoming the lingua franca for the sub-continent if rationality fails. Atulya Ghosh's bid for a coalition government in Bengal, a gambit which could threaten the stability of our federal structure through an escalating polarisation, has in the meanwhile suffered a major reverse with disgruntled Congressmen playing the role of defectors, a process which could spill over into Bihar and other States where governments have been toppled or are toppling.

Delhi s Major Obsession

Delhi's Major Obsession Romesh Thapar WE seem to have become passive spectators of the rot that is setting in. Chief Minister Annadurai telephones Morarji Desai and tells him that it would be inadvisable for him to visit Tamilnad; the so-called Deputy Prime Minister submits and surrenders his right to enter a State of the Indian Union. The politically discredited Atulya Ghosh tells a bunch of his equally dubious publicists that he 'ticked off the Prime Minister for her attitudes on Bengal affairs. Nijalingappa, testing his banal humour on a bunch of pressmen assembled for a briefing on the list of nominated members to the Congress Working Committee, starts with the name of Indira Gandhi and asks: I suppose you agree that she should be included!' At another level, S K Patil now has the confidence to re-start his own little darbar of conspirators in the Capital. Morarji Desai, Y B Chavan and Jagjivan Ram are content with ringside seats. K D Mala- viya has at last decided that there is no future for him and has accepted the chairmanship of the Heavy Engineering mess at Ranchi

The Great Conspiracy

NMDC made a loss of almost Rs 70 lakhs in 1965-66. In the , circumstances, one wonders whether a project of the size and technical sophistication of the Khetri- Kolihan scheme is not beyond the NMDCs capacity to shoulder.

New Unity in New Diversity

cessions which would lead to loss of revenue. At the same time, they are compelled to increase their non- developmental expenditure like that on employees' pay and allowances because of rising prices and the increasing organisation and agitation of Government employees. The prospects for development planning therefore get dim.

Mini-Revolutions and Mini-Government

Mini-Revolutions and Mini-Government Romesh Thapar IF a week ago we were obsessed with speculation about whether the general acceptance of unprincipled political tactics (following the ouster of the United Front in Bengal) would mark the last chapter of Congress rule, the obsession today is more with the under-currents in the language goondaism now sweeping what in crude American jargon would be called the 'cow belt', primarily Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. What was to have been an exclusively Jan Sangh show has been massively infiltrated by the SSP in the Lohia style. This mini-revolution is already petering out, despite the frantic attempts to take the battle into Parliament. Very soon we will be obsessed with the implications of the new moves on Sheikh Abdullah's future.

What Now

about the attempt being made in certain quarters to treat the recent events in Bengal as the beginning of the end of democratic politics in India. The ouster of the UF government, the installation of P C Ghosh as Chief Minister, the refusal by the Speaker of the Assembly to recognise the legality of the Governor's action represent in totality the culmination of a trend which began in Haryana soon after the February elections and which has now completed a full circle in Haryana. To make the actions and counter-actions in Bengal the yardstick of the Congress party's commitment to democracy is somewhat dishonest, for the implication is that no one else is expected to play the game according to the rules. The UF in Bengal was toppled with the same kind of stratagems evolved, popularised and utilised by its constituents and allies in other States of the Union.

Congress Moves to Recover Lost Territories

Congress Moves to Recover Lost Territories Romesh Thapar THE Congress leadership at the High Command level is tense and troubled, at least that section of it which thinks of the future and not merely of some temporary gains and adjustments. The events which have followed in quick succession in Bengal, Haryana and Punjab have not been 'planned' as the self-deluding Left would have us believe; there is a typical Indian-ness in the attack and counter-attack of various factions which leaves one confused and uncertain about what fresh political .surprises are in store for us. One thing is certain: we have entered an even more ramified phase of postelection federal politicking and now Indira Gandhi, no matter how hard she tries, will find it increasingly complicated to play the role of the most acceptable 'karta' of the undivided family of India.

Turning Point

WHAT with the former princes busy organising themselves into the first 'khane-peene-wallah

The Post-Jabalpur Situation

The Post-Jabalpur Situation Romesh Thapar IF the Jabalpur session of the AICC has any significant lesson for the wary observer of the political scene, it is that the polarisation tactic is now definitely at a discount within the Congress even as it is becoming a passion among certain constituents of hitherto anti-Congress united fronts. This dramatic change has occurred within six months of the general election and is bound to condition developments. The battle between points and counter- points, which threatened at one time to disrupt the ruling party at the Centre, is likely to dissolve into a more solid debate on issues vital to economic growth and pro- ductivity.

Points and Pointers

Points and Pointers THERE'S little point in trying to pre-judge the Jabalpur AICC Session due to be held in a few days from now. It may turn into a stormy affair if certain elements get the green signal from their 'dadas' in the High Command. Or it may turn into the usual conformist, rubber- stamping demonstration of a paralysed party still waiting on events and reluctant to show its hand. The absence of Indira Gandhi during the last fortnight has deflated even those who live by speculation. And, as always, the newspapers have done next to nothing to bring the various trends into political focus.

Living in Profound Untruth

Living in Profound Untruth Romesh Thapar SOMETIMES, one is tempted to do a kind of 'believe-it-or-not' column from this capital city. Over the past week, it has been difficult to locate who is the senior-most Cabinet Minister in residence. Certainly, the Foreign Office has been unable to answer any responsible question in the absence of political or bureaucratic heads; it' some were on tour, others were on leave. As for the ministries of Finance, Com. merce, Industry, Steel and Mines, they have been standing-at-ease. To top it off, out of the seven days of this last week, four-and-a-half were holidays! Of course, this impression of nonexistence, transcendental meditation or mini-government is rudely disturbed by events which develop a strangely Indian flavour. For example, the whole of 'Operation Topple' in Bengal is sought to be drowned in such a mass of contradictory, false, make-belief analysis that the very persons who are concocting and announcing their conclusions at public meetings, in newspaper headlines and in conspiratorial conclaves see nothing incongruous in their simultaneous questioning about what actually happened. Then, again, the death of Ram Manohar Lohia is attempted to be turned into a medical scandal by men who know that everything was done to save his life, that the complications which set in left little hope of his survival.


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