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

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Atrophy and the Nation

Atrophy and the Nation IT is like re-visiting the summer of 1969, or almost. The squabbles in the Congress party are out in the open, the ministers who have been dropped from the council of ministers in the recent reshuffle go on record accusing the prime minister of perfidy and lack of social courtesies; a member of parliament belonging to the party, once a cabinet minister, obviously aspiring to return to the council of ministers and now disappointed, describes in considerable detail how lakhs and lakhs of rupees have been paid in before the prime minister could be persuaded to induct a party colleague, a non-MP, into the cabinet; a former general secretary of the party, now belonging to the league of disgruntled men, dares to ask the prime minister to adhere to the one-man-one-post principle and vacate the post of party president; in the wake of the shameful events in Bombay, the country's defence minister castigates, thunderingly, the non-functioning of the state government and the paralysis in the state party apparatus; the country's home minister however defends the state government to the hilt; capping the performances of both is the extraordinary spectacle of the minister of human resources development joining a delegation of voluntary agencies and film personalities in a deputation to the Maharashtra chief minister and telling him pointedly that 'the ground level situation' continues to be most distressing in the violence-ravaged city of Bombay. As in 1969, the war of statements is very much on: one group of party men demand that the AllIndia Congress Committee be convened right now, before the commencement of the budget Session of parliament; they are countered by another group who invite party colleagues and countrymen in general to foil the conspiracy to destabilise the government and the country at this hour of peril. In 1969, Indira Gandhi had taken to addressing hired crowds of lumpens outside her residence urging them to form a glorious barricade of resistance against attempts to dislodge her by elements who did no want the good of India; P V Narasimha Rao commandeers five hundred hardened bureaucrats to assemble inside his residence and pours his heart out to them: only they, in his view, could yet save the nation by their devotion, vigilance and hard work.

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