Raghav’s Take: What Mukul Roy’s TMC-Wapsi Proves; Ideas for Cong

Mukul Roy to Jitin Prasada, The Quint’s Editor-in-Chief Raghav Bahl shares his views on recent developments.

4 min read
Mukul Roy to Jitin Prasada, <b>The Quint</b>’s Editor-in-Chief Raghav Bahl shares his views on recent developments.

From Mukul Roy’s TMC-return to how Congress needs to help politically effective leaders find a voice in party affairs – instead of the likes of recent-quitter Jitin Prasada, The Quint's Editor-in-Chief Raghav Bahl shares his views on some recent, and pertinent, developments.


Mukul Roy’s TMC-Wapsi: Win for Him & Mamata; Lesson for Congress

This is supreme realpolitik, classically defined as “a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations.” Mukul Roy has been re-embraced by Mamata Banerjee.

Quick gun analysts will call it “Roy’s abject surrender before a victorious Mamata.” But let’s leave such amateur stuff for blinding television noise.

Frankly, for Mamata, who is currently riding the crest of political success, to welcome Roy personally actually proves two contrarian facts:

(a) Mamata has invisibly acknowledged that Roy gave her a political scare by building the non-existent BJP into a potent adversary in less than five years. So, actually, this is a nod to Roy’s success; and (b) since the BJP shortchanged Roy by making Suvendu Adhikari the Leader of Opposition, she used Roy’s fury as an opportunity to win over her enemy’s principal general.

Perhaps that’s the only equivalence between principles of effective politics and management, ie, any grievance should be seen as an “opportunity” rather than a “threat which needs to be eviscerated.”

There’s a huge lesson in here for the Congress, which, if it had responded to Mamata’s “grievances” before she quit her native party (and I am taking you back a couple of decades here), the Congress would have been ruling West Bengal today.

And why just West Bengal? Think Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam, Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, NRC in Pondicherry… but let’s leave that story for another day.

Congress Must Bring ‘Politically Effective’ Leaders on Top, Not the Likes of Jitin Prasada

I’ll stay a bit longer with another Congress-related “grievance,” although this one is far too insignificant compared to the heavyweights cited above.

Yes, I am talking again about Jitin Prasada’s exit from the Congress party. A new-age digitally powered survey has thrown up an astonishing result – nearly 9 out of 10 voters in his own constituency either don’t know him or don’t care (politically, of course).

And this empirical result ties in with recent historical facts, where Prasada found it difficult to save his deposit during three successive electoral defeats from 2014 through 2019.

No, I am not trying to derive mercenary pleasure by digging through such sorry stats for the high-profile politician who won in 2004 and 2009, serving as a minister in the UPA-2 government. I am actually mystified by the criteria that the Congress leadership uses to elevate “grassroots” leaders to its top echelons.

I mean (and I use this data point only illustratively, so please do not fasten my argument to specific personalities), why is a three-term MP like Shashi Tharoor, or a savvy professional like Kapil Sibal, on the fringes of the party organisation, while a Jitin Prasada, unknown to 90 percent of his own electorate, was nominated to the Congress Working Committee?

This clearly shows that to rejuvenate, the Congress will have to rebuild an internal mechanism/democracy so that politically effective leaders find a powerful voice in party affairs.


‘Sedition’ by Aisha Sultana? Respected Judges, Please See!

Poor Aisha Sultana, booked for “sedition” because she uttered a word – “bioweapon” – while describing Lakshadweep’s controversial administrator on a TV show.

That’s all she did. No invocation or incitement to violence, not even a call to create “disaffection” (whatever this highly subjective, ambiguous word means) against the State. Yet she was booked, in complete violation of the law articulated by the Supreme Court, as recently as last month.

Clearly then, our respected Justices need to take suo motu cognisance of the wilful, vindictive manner in which law enforcement agencies are flouting the law.

The situation has gone beyond a simple “reading down” of the statute. It’s time for our respected Justices to clamp down hard on those who are violating its orders, while at the same down creating foolproof pre-FIR safeguards for future victims of the abuse of this law.

Why Are We Persisting With Our Extortionist Claims on Vodafone & Cairn? Time for India To Show Some ‘Badappan

Do you recall how India had reacted when the Labour Party in the UK had criticised the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir? They were virtually dismissed as irritating “left liberals” in perfect sync with “the Khan Market gang.”

Except now, a few Tory MPs have put the Modi government under an excoriating torchlight. They’ve called India “a halfway house between democracy and despotism (seizing) by force the property of at least three American and British companies.”

The reference to Vodafone and Cairn Energy is unmistakable.

David Davis, a former Tory cabinet minister, went on to say that “it’s time for Modi and his government to choose… between the rule of law or the arbitrary whim of rulers, between the West and Chinese Communist Party.”

Ouch! This hurts even more because it contains several grains of truth.

Honestly, why are we persisting with the perfidy of our extortionist claims on Vodafone and Cairn? There is a time and tide in the affairs of men when it’s best to mount an honourable retreat, acknowledging one's mistake. In Hindi, it’s called “badappan.


Alcohol to Now Be Home Delivered in Delhi: Why Are Politicians Averse to ‘Soma Ras’ Anyway?

Finally, alcohol will be home delivered. Cheers!

I’ve never understood our politicians’ aversion to liquor. For Heaven’s sake, it’s “soma ras,” enjoyed by several of our Gods. Hindus even offer the good stuff to Kal Bhairava, a manifestation of Lord Shiva, as “prasad.”

Come on! Give up the hostility and let our people enjoy the most effective antidote to lonely, isolated, pandemic evenings. Else tipplers will crowd around liquor shops, creating a COVID superspreader.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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