The good news is that the electronic media are coming under continuous flak for their inappropriate, and often hysterical, coverage of the many levels of horror that struck Mumbai on the night of November 26. At the same time, senior editors and reporters on the small screen are continuing in the same high-pitched tenor as before, performing much like ham actors in a reality show. They are thus treating a complex and very serious subject in a reckless way that might cause irreparable damage to India and its people. As a result, people are breaking out in anger and disgust. Where are the conductors of these jarring and out-of-sync symphonies that are being repeatedly played out by uninitiated members of the orchestras? Is this the way to handle a sensitive situation?
A different kind of ‘terror strike’ that had taken place behind the scenes in the Maharashtra Congress some days back needs to be mentioned here as an instance of the political horrors that besiege our land. The supposed stalwarts and strongmen of the party in Delhi, with responsibilities for states allocated to them — men like Digvijay Singh and Ahmad Patel, with their band of loyal soldiers — lobbied madly to save the battered chief minister of Maharashtra. These general secretaries were the human shield protecting Vilasrao Deshmukh, as also were the big ‘moneybags’ of Mumbai who do not want to see the present chief minister resign from office. They support Deshmukh who is their favoured leader and with whom they have no conflict of interest! That he has brought the Congress to its knees in Maharashtra with his manipulation of party colleagues and connivance with other opposing forces seems to be unimportant to these men. Deshmukh has mismanaged Mumbai. He has been a failure and as such, a change is imperative.
The same cabal of Delhi-based party ‘strongmen’, wallowing in self delusion, believes that it wields great power and influence over the Congress president. The men tell the world through a whispering campaign and dirty political play that she is dependent on their counsel and trusts them completely! Their body language spells arrogance. Their protégés are farcical. Their politics is divisive. Their sense of nationalism is conspicuous by its absence. But the people are now able to see through their devious games. Perhaps these politicians have also sensed that their time is limited, and so have decided to cash in on all that comes their way.
I want to recount a recurring Congress ‘fable’, one that tells of how the elections, which could have been a hard and tight fight, lose ground. The old Congress tactic of divide and rule, played within the party, is invariably responsible for the severe damage we have been witnessing at the polls in recent times. On this particular occasion, Digvijay Singh joined hands with Arjun Singh and his son, both of whom were, till very recently, his sworn opponents. This has deeply frustrated the Madhya Pradesh faction, which, being unable to change its spots and methods of politicking, has pointed its guns at Kamal Nath and Suresh Pachauri, since it is determined to disrupt any chance of cohesion within the party. It managed to break the combination, succeeded in putting the two against each other by spreading a rumour about Kamal Nath being the favoured chief ministerial candidate, and thereby sabotaged a better future for the Congress in the state. The Congress has been betrayed yet again by its scheming general secretaries jockeying for even temporary power, supporting thereby the Bharatiya Janata Party to win over Madhya Pradesh. Hopefully, this will be the last hurray of this dangerous cabal operating from Delhi. Chances are that the gen-next leaders will purge the party of all such petty, destructive politicians.