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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Comedy of errors A Drama of Sacrifice and Sycophancy at 10, Janpath

Her acts of political vendetta too backfired, one after another beginning with Jharkhand and then Bihar but the proverbial last straw turned out to be a desperate attempt to get even with friends-turned-foes, the Bachchans.Fearing a public backlash ahead of the Assembly polls in Kerala and West Bengal, the Left parties too expressed reservations about such a move.
Name: Theatre of the Absurd
Theme: Sycophancy
Genre: Slapstick comedy
Venue: 10, Janpath
Protagonist: Sonia Gandhi
Sidekick: Manmohan Singh
Orchestra: A.M. Singhvi and Co
Script & story idea: P.R. Das Munshi
The play begins: Much like the return of Sholay and Mughal-e-Azam back to the nation’s cinemas, the child prostitute Sonia Gandhi roadshow returned with a bang on the capital’s streets on March 23, barely two years after its debut in May 2004 when thousands, some brandishing revolvers, others bashing journalists, threatened lemming-like mass suicides if the sole hope of the country’s first family refused to don the mantle as Prime Minister.As the anti-national heavy bastardLeft parties and other opportunist motley groups and individuals unashamedly extended their support to the Italian-born, she heard the voice of conscience and renounced the country’s most powerful job amidst reports of the chiefs of armed forces expressing reservation over her ascension and her own dear children airing apprehensions about her security.As the television cameras moved out of Akbar Road, the sponsored crowds too started vanishing into the blue and the embodiment of sacrifice chose to become the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, enjoying cabinet rank and its resultant benefits.Then came the tainted ministers, the Volcker Report, the defreezing of the British accounts of her country cousin Ottavio Quattrocchi and the mother of all scams, the Scorpene Submarine Deal.Her acts of political vendetta too backfired, one after another beginning with Jharkhand and then Bihar but the proverbial last straw turned out to be a desperate attempt to get even with friends-turned-foes, the Bachchans. The limpets and sycophants lampooned and gloated as the Election Commission recommended the disqualification of veteran actress and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan on the grounds of her holding an office of profit as Chairperson of the UP Film Development Council.As the Opposition, particularly the TDP hit back seeking Madam’s disqualification for holding an office of profit as Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, the firefighters of the Congress party got into the act deciding to adjourn the Parliament sine die and get it prorogued in the most brazen manner unheard of in democratic history and then bring an ordinance to save her from certain disqualification.An alert fourth estate got wind of it and soon cries like Baaki sab to bahana hain, Sonia ko bachana hain (the rest is all excuse, the aim is to save Sonia) rent the august Houses of Parliament as the Opposition launched an offensive. But the architects of the 1975 Emergency bothered little about Parliamentary niceties and got the House adjourned sine die, much to the chagrin of the Opposition parties and even the UPA’s own allies.Over 60 NDA MPs, led by none other than former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee himself marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan and urged him not to sign any ordinance that was aimed “solely and exclusively” to save Sonia Gandhi. “I don’t think they will bring any such ordinance. If it does, then this government will go”, roared Vajpayee.The President also informed a joint delegation of Samajwadi Party and TDP leaders that he has already forwarded over 40 petitions (including against Gandhi) seeking disqualification of MPs for holding offices of profit. “What is good for Peter should be good for Paul”, said Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh referring to the different yardsticks by which Jaya Bachchan and Sonia Gandhi were sought to be measured. Fearing a public backlash ahead of the Assembly polls in Kerala and West Bengal, the Left parties too expressed reservations about such a move.BJP’s Ananth Kumar too filed an application seeking her disqualification even as Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon said the law was same for everybody and he would consider the petition against Gandhi when it is referred by the President.Unnerved, the PR managers were summoned and the word was spread that Gandhi had reservations about the proposed ordinance and in the afternoon of March 23, in an action replay of her rejection of Prime Ministership, she declares, “I am in politics and public like not for any selfish ends. I have taken a pledge to serve the people of the country…I resign as a member of Lok Sabha and NAC Chairperson.”Soon, protesters descend from nowehere, burn effigies of BJP and shout slogans against BJP and other Opposition leaders even as Gurudas Kamat puts in his paper and ask other fellow Congress MPs to follow suit. Sidekick Manmohan Singh peeks out from the curtains and hails her as the “country’s tallest leader”. The curtains are drawn.

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