Sunday, June 27, 2004


It's hard to believe that he was Prime Minister of India just about a month ago. Sans power, he is not just down these days, but probably on way out. The sad thing is that I don't feel sad about it all.

The image one has of Ataljee, thanks to our media, is that of an elderly, suave, mild-mannered and experienced politician with vision, insight and Indian values. But if you think really deep enough, he has hardly ever done justice to this image.

Let us recall, for example, his role in post-Godhra progrom sponsored by Narendra Hitler Modi. Well, when he visited the state as Prime Minister, he slammed Modi in right tone and with just words. But he didn't take any action against him. What added to our woes, he forgot the heinous crime and patted Modi on the back just after a few days.

This is the quintessential Ataljee for you. He'll stand up for one thing in the morning and act quite contrary to it in the evening. He's an unprincipled and wily man who can shape-shift quickly according to changing circumstances.

But what he did recently in the Mumbai party meet bordres on the ludicrous. Sensing his power in the party on the wane, he announced he would like to retire from politics. The media splashed the news and raved about the veteran leader's decision.

But only the following day, Ataljee quipped, "I was just joking. How can I quit my ideology?"

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