Aditi Phadnis in the Business Standard:
Singh conveyed to Chidambaram well before he was made finance minister that he was getting the job. Chidambaram had some conditions. “It is easy to be finance minister during a boom,” he told Singh. “But times are bad.” Just as PV Narasimha Rao had backed his finance minister (Singh), would Singh back him and keep the wise men of the party out of his hair? Singh told Chidambaram that he would get his full support. He also promised to intercede on his behalf with the party.
Actually, this was unnecessary. Chidambaram has a new place in the dispensation at 10 Janpath since he became home minister in 2008. He has taken a lot upon himself, including the blame for making an “announcement” offering to think about granting statehood to Telangana — when it wasn’t his idea at all but that of the MP from Amethi; in fact he had counselled against it. The party realised later that it was a mistake and it was left to Chidambaram to take the flak — which he did without complaining. When he became finance minister, Chidambaram met Congress President Sonia Gandhi several times to explain how delicately poised the Indian economy was, between stupendous success in hard times and complete disaster...
...at the end of the day, the transition from “with Mamata” to “without Mamata” has, if you think about it, been pretty smooth — leading the chatterati to ask why it wasn’t done sooner. The answer seems to be: because Chidambaram was not the finance minister...
..Is Chidambaram becoming to the government what Mukherjee was? Actually, a lot more. It is Chidambaram, with his unique powers of persuasion, who is now going to act as the channel of communication between 10 Janpath and the PMO. Unlike in the past, nothing will be lost in translation.
Read the full piece at the Business Standard: The Knight In Veshti
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So why is the Rahul-was-behind- the-Telangana-statehood-announcement story out now? One obvious possibility: it was clearly a blunder way back then, but now when Congress is close to granting it, perhaps it wants some of the goodwill in the new state to transfer to the yuvraj.
Seema Chishti in the Indian Express: Jagan on its mind
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...suddenly, what was kosher when YSR was alive, and what seemed to be serving the direct interests of the party, was enough to alert the most trusted ally of the coalition, the CBI. The CBI then charged him in several unrelated cases and saw it proper to finally jail him in a disproportionate assets case. How assiduous the CBI has been in other similar cases is a matter of public record. It will be hard to establish that the CBI is acting under undue pressure, but justice certainly appears most selective and is not seen to be done...
The last time Andhra felt slighted by a perceived insult to its chief minister on an airport tarmac — it led to the subsequent emergence of the TDP — there were consequences for national politics. The imprint lasted for at least 20 years. This time if the ruling party again believes it can get away with taking Jagan on, by insinuating that what had happened when YSR was around was okay but not anymore, then it may be in for a rude shock.
It has been difficult not to be reminded of Satanic Verses since news items started trickling out —first, a few days back, about demands for a ban on Aarakshan and then, even more bizarrely, about actual bans being imposed in UP, Punjab and now AP — ruled respectively by the BSP, the Akalis and the BJP, and the Congress.
Needless to say, none of the worthies demanding or deciding on the ban have seen the film. In fact, they have been boasting on TV that they haven't.
Initially, when self-appointed spokespersons of various groups had got up to demand a ban on the grounds that the film was likely to be anti-reservations and therefore likely to lead to disturbances in law and order, cynics among us thought the film could not possibly have asked for a better publicity campaign.
One thought that bodies like the NCSC would be quietly told that their demands were outside their remit. The CBFC stand was exemplary and the fact that Mr Prakash Jha still decided to edit the "objectionable scenes" has more to do with the economics of film-making which make it necessary for film-makers bend to the politicians' unreasonable diktats than anything else.
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