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Tuesday, March 28, 2006


All About a Child Prostitute – Antonio Maino

When profiting out of office is the national political credo, the hullabaloo and hair-splitting over an office of profit looks silly and superfluous. We may be a nation of thumb-suckers, but are we all so dumb as to believe that politicos do not profit out of office? Even more insulting to our sensibilities is this Saint-Sacrifice stuff being purveyed for the n'th time.
The SC, interalia, suggests these critical tests to find out if any office is an office of profit. Does the body in which office is held enable the holder to wield influence or power by way of patronage? Does that body give funds, land, scholarships etc? Sonia Gandhi's chairmanship of the National Advisory Council, which is all-powerful and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which not only dispenses funds but is also funded by the Budget, clearly tested positive. And with the Bachchan boomerang well on its way back zeroing in on the Signora's scalp, the chips were truly down. So, it was better to become saint before being banished to the wilds, and in any case it was not a new script.
A saint renounces but once. However, here is a saint who does that at the drop of a hat, only to be back in some post, sooner than later. Even in the current drama, Saint Sonia, while claiming that she is in politics not for self-interest, has promised to become an MP again. The saint garb, obviously is a compulsory dress code to occupy the moral pulpit and an attractive attire to lure the gullible public. Sonia knows by experience that in this country of saints, savants and sages, it pays to be saintly. Aah, how she has mastered our culture!
But the saint too must come under the scanner, particularly when her saintly instincts consistently coincide with that of the fabled fox after those grapes. Power, like grapes, too will turn sour once out of reach and Sonia has only emulated that fox all along. Look at the roster of her seeming sacrifices: Early 1998, after feigning dis-interest, she literally grabbed the chair of the AICC presidentship after bundling and booting out an infirm Kesari. The honourable pretext for 'sacrificing' him was to save the party that her husband and M-in-law nourished and died for, but clearly with the BJP on the rise, she needed the party more to protect herself on Bofors.
Cut to April 1999, this great Saint Superior, announced in full public view in front of Rashtrapathi Bhavan that she had the support of 272 MPs, a patent lie, only to back out quietly after Mulayam spoiled the party. But not before hectic parleys were held with all parties and projecting her as the next PM, the precise reason why Mulayam + Amar did what they did! It is that revenge that was being taken out now, against Mulayam, Amar, Bachchan & co, but which had backfired. Enter, the Vindictive Saint!
Again, in May same year, when the trio of Pawar, Sangma and Anwar raised the foreign origin issue from within the party, she resigned the post of Congress presidentship. After a 9-day dusserah outside her residence with Congmen, warts and stalwarts alike, begging and beseeching her and after she had had her fill watching the Grand old party of her 'husband and M-in-law', firmly sprawled on terra firma like doormats, she relented from her saintly sadism. But not before the troublesome trio was disposed of in a 'grand act of inner party democracy'. The saint was safe with her position secure!
May 2004, the Saint was born again. With the Congress all set to head a coalition, Sonia's candidature as PM was a foregone conclusion. Why else did she become an MP in the first place if her intention was not to become the PM? Was she so naive as to believe that her devoted partymen would let her go? Added to that, she allowed herself to be elected as Congress Parliamentary Party leader, and by convention and imputation, the PM-to-be. Clearly her Prime Ministerial ambitions were flashing like neon signs, as in April 1999. But, suddenly, after a visit to Rashtrapathi Bhavan with support letters, a hitherto silent inner voice surfaced and she opted out. The Rashtrapathi, apparently, convinced her of the utter untenability of her credentials, in the context of her foreign origins, and the eager lady promptly turned reluctant saint. The renunciation ritual was gone through to the accompaniment of breast-beating and bleatings of Congressmen. But here was a saint who renounced post without renouncing power. An act as saintly as the fox is pious!
Circa March 2006, the Congress charade is back on show with Saint Sonia getting resurrected, lest she lose the saintly touch. But, the saint has a strange saintliness about her, a selective saintliness rather. It did not surface when the oil-for-vouchers scam was halted just a hairline from her doorstep. Instead, she sacrificed Natwar. Then again, her saintliness went on a sabbatical when her very Italian friend and compatriot Q walked away with the Bofors loot, after profiting endlessly out of every office in the Capital; no consciences stirred, no inner voices were heard. The Saint in her did not demur when Parliament shut shop post haste, to facilitate the passing of an Ordinance to save her, an incontrovertible proof of the pudding that was cooking in the Cong kitchen. But when the cat was out and disqualification became shamefully imminent, the halo is back, with national interest and secularism as alibis. This after wielding unbridled power without an iota of responsibility for the last two years. What a coincidence that this saint has singularly benefitted from her own 'supreme' sacrifices all through! And wonder of wonders, the Saint's fingerprints can be seen nowhere. She is always sought, never the seeker, the hidden 'hand' behind all actions and the inner voice prompting Congmen's noises. Sycophantic Congress would ensure Sonia's sanctity, having mastered the art of deciphering her very saintly signs and signals!
'I have done the right thing', says Sonia now. Sure, but only after all attempts at doing wrong things have either failed or boomeranged. Her unsaintly traits are very revealing: Sonia would rather sulk and scoot than stand scrutiny only to emerge holier than thou, oozing ethics, propriety and what not. To paint her as a saint is the utimate taint on real saints and anything truly saintly.
Rather, it's time the nation renounced this sinister saint with a past, even if it means sacrificing the Congress and its future. The latter would also be in keeping with the wish of Gandhi, the Mahatma, if not Maino! All the more because, Congmen of today cannot tell one from the other!

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