By Sunil Dang, Editor-in-Chief
The 3-0 victory registered by Congress was just what the doctor had ordered for the grand old party. But I would like to caution them against complacency & that they should not read too much into these victories. They must carry on re-grouping & picking up from where they left the campaign trail in the states they recently won. This outcome is more of a commentary on how BJP felt over-confident than an outright victory of the Congress Party. Or else they should have had landslide triumphs in all of the states that went to polls. This fact is evidenced by the number of seats they have won & the vote percentage differential between the two parties. On both the counts there is very little to cheer about, except for Chhattisgarh where they won comprehensively. So, while they have all the reasons to rejoice, there is no clear indication to the fact that congress can muster all by themselves in the 2019 polls. The mantra is to remain calm and patient while dealing with regional leaders like Mayawati and Akhilesh, both of whom can act crucial in the most significant state of UP. Make no mistake, Modi – Shah Duo would go all guns blazing after this bad dream of sorts & begin in right earnest building up the poll strategy they are known for.
The key to Delhi, I must reiterate would be the power & policy of both Congress & BJP to stitch up alliances with regional parties. Congress certainly has a distinctive edge in the Southern belt that includes Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra & Kerala. They have DMK’s Stalin already committing himself as has Chandrababu Naidu of TDP. If there remains any missing link, it is for sure Bihar & UP. But the recent by-poll results in Gorkhpur, Phulpur and Kairana must unite the opposition in believing that such a possibility of upsetting BJP does exist.
Closer home, it seems that the crisis in Sri Lanka will be over any time as Wickremesinghe has proved his majority in the parliament just ahead of the Supreme Court begins its hearing. Once the ruling comes, President Maithripala Sirisena will have no option but to re-instate the Wickremesinghe government, whom he had sacked undemocratically by appointing Mahinda Rajapaksha as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. But, in this entire episode, it is the Sri Lankan diplomacy that has been hit severely & the world is watching with great curiosity how things unfold in days to come.
The RBI-Government spat seems to have finally ended up with the resignation of Governor Urijit Patel. Going by the earnestness shown by the government in appointing his successor, it can safely be argued that the change was in the wings for some time & that the Government only wanted this process to appear routine. Generally, it takes nearly a month to appoint someone to such a post after due deliberations & consultations within & outside of the government. To my mind it seems to be some sort of a reward for Shaktikanta Das who had presided over the monstrous disaster called Demonetization in 2016. Very promptly, without wasting any time & opportunity, he opined that while RBI must stay independent & autonomous, it did not supersede the government in decision making? Therein lies the idea behind his appointment & you may read between the lines. Whether or not RBI stays insulated from Government intervention, time alone will tell. For the time being, let us hope that NPAs make less of a story & that the institution stays uninfluenced.
It was wedding bells season & India witnessed some of the most high profile & extravagant weddings early this winter. From Virushka to Nickyanka, Deepveer & Kapil Sharma, there has been a colossal & ostentatious display of wealth all over. Some would argue that this was a pure drain & an eye sore while some may well applaud this as their right to celebrate & squander their well earned money, the way they want. I am no one to sit in judgment. However given their reputation & demi – God status accorded by their millions of fans, one would have wished that they did more for philanthropy than this brazen exhibition of personal wealth & standing.