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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nerves, nerves and nerves

The best comment I heard this morning on the sacking of the irascible Veerappa Moily and the soft-spoken Ashwani Kumar was: "In the Congress, only Rahul Gandhi has the right to make a fool of himself."

Perhaps Moily overdid things by suggesting that Nitish Kumar has an inflated opinion of himself but this was not an unparliamentary comment. It was part of the usual cut and thrust of electioneering.

How was Moily or any Congress spokesman supposed to handle the Rahul-created mess? Just look at the contradictory signals:

  • On Tuesday, Rahul baba says "Mr Nitish", Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalitha are not so bad after all. He also asks for Left support to Manmohan Singh. Predictably, the existing allies of the Congress are furious; Mamata threatens to walk out and Paswan asks why Congress has put up candidates against JD(U).
  • By Wednesday, the Congress begins a damage limitation exercise but continues sending contradictory signals. It tells Mamata that the alliance is intact but Sonia cancels visit to Tamil Nadu. The JD(U) meanwhile deploys all its forces (including N.K. Singh) to disabuse the claim that Nitish will switch sides.
  • On Thursday, the Congress deploys Prithviraj Chauhan for an "off the record" media briefing at the AICC. Chauhan says that Congress is looking at "strategic abstentions" to see its minority government through. This is just after Moily says Congress will win 180 seats on its own.
  • On Friday, Rahul Gandhi sheds tears for the Lankan Tamils. He is silent on Jayalalitha but P.Chidambaram calls her communal. At the AICC briefing, Kapil Sibal says Congress is moving towards a 200 seat tally. He can't understand the mood of disbelief among the journos. Lalu and Paswan stay away from the Cabinet meet. To placate Lalu, the EC sends teams to probe "irregularities" in Bihar, three weeks after voting!
  • On Saturday morning, Moily is removed for attacking Nitish. Paswan says Sonia Gandhi must clarify matters by speaking to him and Lalu.

An election campaign is also all about nerves. The Congress is conveying the impression it has lost its. It is trying to please every potential ally and ending up looking desperate. To use Ronen Sen's phrase, the party is running about like a "headless chicken".

Those who are in the know of things in the Congress say that, far from being chastened by his gaffes, Rahul and the brat pack believe they have mounted a very successful psy-op to confuse the enemy. Sonia is not known to take decisions; the babalogs are calling the shots. They believe that the Trust Vote success can be replicated after May 16.

Either they are right or the rest of us are all fools.


Anonymous said...

Swapanda , brilliant now we know why the prince wasn't allowed to open his mouth earlier

karthik said...

I think if absentions have to be induced,the price will be huge and of course Congress can handle this,just like in trust vote like you mentioned.But even if we concede this scenario for arugment sake,I assume MPs would much rather prefer a lucrative ministry or a CBI case eased off against his/her name.So Congress is well and truly nuked out of the contest if they r already conceding about 50,60 short of 272.So this in fact is hastening their demise rather than working on minds of opp,I am happy tho.Thanks a lot again Swapanda for your scoop, abt the off-record media briefings.Its getting intriguing now.

Anonymous said...

Congressmen feel that they are obliged to run India and South-Block is their second home.

campaign said...

Mr Dasgupta

Why do you want to comment on such a negative and insignificant development. I think you could have used your time to write something useful like next phase election or the issues we could not highlight in this election.

Anonymous said...

"In the Congress, only Rahul Gandhi has the right to make a fool of himself."

LOL!! How true!

The Congress-UPA seems to be imploding! Jai Ho!

Anonymous said...

Well said.

If 'strategic abstentions' (read bags containing 1 crore) are the Congress' best hope of forming a government, that too a minority government, we do have reason to rejoice.

All we need now is for the bogey of secularism to be played, a secular government to keep out the BJP. Hopefully that will fail too. Then nothing can stop the NDA from forming the government.

As an aside, media coverage of the elections is getting more and more desperate. Sagarika is well known to be the Chief Congress hack, and is openly campaigning for the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, and openly campaigning for the Left and the Congress to come together "to keep the hindootva forces out". Rajdeep seems to have backed off a bit, he has already got his PadmaShri. Sagarika is still working for hers. Barkha is aiming for the Padma Bushan. Arnab too is joining the bandwagon, where he continuously claims the NDA has no chance of forming a government, and that Nitish Kumar will almost certainly switch sides after the election. He claims the BJP is jittery about allies - while Congress is jittery about having no allies.

The Times of India is laughable. Some other commentor showed us the article

3 days back.

TOI admits Congress/UPA is down and almost out in TN, Karnataka, MP, Gujarat, Bihar, AP, UP, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal, Uttarkhand. They say left is stronger than expected in West Bengal. BJP/NDA is stronger than expected in Maharashtra and Rajasthan - these two states are going to be split down the middle. These states account for nearly 440 seats. Only Delhi, Haryana, Punjab (total 25 seats) are strongly pro congress. Orissa and Kerala are leaning Congress (41 seats). And yet they claim UPA is going to get 195, and this not including RJD-LJP-SP!!! How on earth is this possible from their own numbers? This article is the funniest thing I've read, coming from a media house desperate to try and swing a few votes to the Congress through their articles.

neelakantan said...

Well, of course, we are all fools. Fooled by the media, fooled by these parties.

Hopefully this election we have taken them for a ride :) We will know on May 16th, if we got fooled one more time!

ayush said...

And the greatest Journalist Padma Shree Rajdeep Sardesai has this to say for Rahul Baba on his live chat at ibn live - (

"I think rahul gandhi's press conference was strong on style and form, he came across as honest and well meaning."

I put him 4 questions on this on the chat and as expected none were answered, I seriously believe these people like Rajdeep / Barkha et all are paid to lick boots of the Gandhi Parivar , nothing else explains such a strong defence of Rahul Baba by Rajdeep.

And in some or the arbit panel discussions which had abhishek manu singhvi, Sitaram Yechury and Aruj Jaitley along with the regular jokers like Yogendra Yadav , Rajdeep was persistent to make Abhishek accept Rahul gandhi for Prime Ministership and Sagarika was crying and urging Yechury to help save the country from communal forces by supporting Yechury, I really dont know what is happening.

With Rajdeep , Sagarika and their ilk around i really dont see a need for any congress spokesperson.

Siva said...

Well, you can't help feeling sorry for Moily and Kumar. They have to go out and defend the hallucinations of the latest Gandhi on the block. And when they get snubbed repeatedly, they are expected to take it lying down. If they retaliate and try to make existing allies happy (the right thing to do, elections still arent over), they get fired. Congressi culture has finally come out of the closet for all the Congress biased media to see.

Rahul Gandhi really showed the desperation of the Congress party. He is reaching out to anyone and everyone under the sun in some vague effort to cobble up the numbers. He is willfully sabotaging his own alliances in Bihar, TN, West Bengal, so that the other parties can do well and hopefully join him post-poll. Yet all the media chose to interpret this as 'honest and candid expressions from a clean guy who is trying to rid the country of petty politics'.

Swapanda, I can't believe that Rahul and babalog friends actually believe that they have been successful in whatever they are trying to achieve. Though the media might project it that way. What is patently obvious is that they have confused their existing allies. They have portrayed the Congress as an unreliable alliance partner - who would want an alliance with a party that would backstab its friends of 5 years so blatantly during the election process and sabotage their chances? The Congress clearly comes across as a party that would do anything to hold on to power, even run roughshod over allies. Till 3 weeks back, only hardcore BJP supporters believed that there was a fighting chance of an NDA govt led by Advaniji. Now everyone accepts that there is a fairly good chance of that happening, so much so that the media, instead of trying to get allies for the Congress is now concentrating on sabotaging the BJPs current alliances.

I think what is clearly emerging is that the Congress is almost out of the race. MMS cannot become the PM again. The best the Congress can hope for is a supporting a 3rd front government from the outside. To continue with MMS as PM, the Congress really needs some very major re-alignments. Nitish must dump BJP, forego a very successful govt in Bihar and join the Cong. AIADMK must swallow insults of communalism from Chidambaram and join the Congress. TRS has to agree to join the party which has stonewalled its Telengana demand for 5 years. There has to be a coup in the CPIM politburo to oust Karat. TDP and BJD have to give up their core ideology of anti-congressism, their basis of existence for the last 15 years, and join the Congress. Somehow I don't see all of those happening.

Poor Mr. Moily. Sad to see the way the Congress treats its senior leaders, a former CM at that. Senior leaders are thrown under the bus to defend a complete neophyte.

But what makes them accept these insults? Have they no self esteem, self respect? Mr. Moily obviously knows more realpolitik than Rahul Gandhi. Why is he, a former CM of a large state subservient to this newbie? If he is truly interested in serving the people, why doesn't he start his own party?

Recently, there was an article, in the TOI ofcourse, on Priyanka's kids campaigning in Amethi. The local Congress leader commented that there was nothing to teach the Gandhi children about electioneering and politics, and it was the priviledge of his life to take them out campaigning. That was a really nauseating article to me. The next generation Gandhi's are already being coached, from the age of 10.

Swapanda, what's the root cause for all the sycophancy? We all may laugh at the 125 year old party becoming a family owned business. But the fact is that the Gandhi's get tremendous support within the party. Why is that?

karthik said...

"After four rounds of polling, BJP appears confident of having nosed ahead of Congress and is looking to maintain its momentum by
trying to boost its prospects in Punjab - where it is on the backfoot - and keeping intact what it feels is a winning touch in western UP.

In a review on Friday, BJP brass felt it had reasons to be satisfied with how things have gone so far as party feedback and exit polls conducted by it are pointing to a lead over Congress. Surveys commissioned by BJP point to a tally of around 150-odd seats while allies are accounting for 40-odd seats on their own.

BJP feels it has opened a substantial lead over Congress which it can hope to enhance given that reports are suggesting that poll winds in Tamil Nadu are flowing in favour of the Congress-DMK alliance. Aware that it faces a resurgent Congress in Punjab, BJP is hoping its NDA rally in Ludhiana on Sunday will rev up the faltering alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal.

"Our surveys are indicating that we are clearly ahead of Congress. After the fourth round BJP on its own could be getting 154 seats according to our surveys. The party has done reasonably well in Rajasthan where we still hope to get 14 seats. In Punjab, we are winning two of four and in western UP we are in the race for eight to nine seats. We don't think UPA numbers at present will cross 150," said G V L Narasimnha Rao, BJP national executive member who has been overseeing the surveys.

BJP's claims are bound to be contested by Congress campaign managers who are claiming that their tally is now touching 170 seats. BJP is arguing that though it faces losses in Rajasthan, it has made up in UP and could gain a couple of seats in Haryana like Faridabad and Ambala. It is not banking on an improvement in Delhi where the scoreline was 6-1 in favour of Congress in 2001.

As per projections, Rao said BJP could end up around the 165 mark after the fifth round of polling. This could mean a substantial lead over Congress which may not be much below the 140 mark as well. In its bid to emerge as the single largest party and thereby make a statement, BJP sources said they would be happy even if the party managed to wrest a 20-25 seat lead over the Congress. The overall tally for NDA, according to the BJP-auditioned surveys, is 210-213 seats.

Rao feels that the BJP did exceptionally well in the second round of polling when 141 seats, several in BJP-ruled states, went to the hustings. BJP held its ground in Madhya Pradesh where is expects 23 seats and has managed to marginally improve its position in Karnataka where it already held 17 of 28 seats. In Maharashtra, BJP did better in the second round of 25 seats and is now expecting 29 seats in partnership with Shiv Sena.

In the last round of polling due later next week, BJP is hoping to take two of Himachal Pradesh's four seats, two of Uttarakhand's five seats and expects to win constituencies like Chandigarh which had gone to Congress in 2004. The party feels that a somewhat low-key campaign, where there was not much focus on BJP's expectations, may have helped it. BJP state leaders and allies like Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar have delivered in hard fought contests." At last TOI is falling in line..

reason said...

"They believe that the Trust Vote success can be replicated after May 16.

Either they are right or the rest of us are all fools. "

We would be all fools *if* they are right, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

There is a clear mischief being played with Young Varun. The Daily telegraph URL recalls Sanjay's sterilisation drive and in the next para says Varun hoped to follow in his father's footsteps. URL

This is picked up by PTI that says Varun favours revival of sterilisation policy. for eg.

A legal notice is in order? Did Varun say he will follow his father's footsteps? Or did he specifically say he will do sterilisation?

Anonymous said...

I think this has to be the mother of all slip-ups..dont know whats goin on.>!?

karthik said...

some good news on ally hunt.Greater NDA is taking shape!

ramana said...

If this is how a genius looks like during elections, what will it be when he formally takes over as PM as is being suggested in Congress circles?

God save India from the Nehrus !

horizon said...

CNN-IBN is reporting that TRS might be attending the NDA rally tomorrow. How serious is NDA about Telengana and from what I read BJP has some marginal presence in Telangana and joining with TRS could be bad for BJP growth in AP. Whats ur take on this?

Rightist Rashtravadi said...

Thanks Swapan Ji for your thought leadership and view clarity which makes you the Chankaya of the Rightist Rashtravaadi's of this land.

The 125-year demon which espouses pesudo-secularism and has pseudo-gandhi's at its helm , ought to be shown its due place(dustbins) this elctorate.The Italian prince's recent comments/overtures thru love letters show the desperation within the family .Spineless Manmohini's should be decisvly rejected and the Vikas Purush Advaniji /Modi ji brought into governance.

Anonymous said...

Here's a prediction I want to make right away:

In the final act on May 16, Pratibha Patil, the second Sonia puppet will do something bizarre and unconstitutional and invite the Congress to form a government. Rahul Gandhi will be addressing the press and telling them why 130 is almost equal to 272, the way he claimed Gujarat is bigger than UK in some press conf in Guj.

I am 100% sure that P. Patil will have the last say on election 2009... unless the BJP clearly comes out a winner by a large margin or something.

Anonymous said...

Had any of the BJP members tried to reach out their political adversaries like Rahul Gandhi did, they would have been labelled by the media as the most opportunistic and devoid of all principles.They would have then carried on with a propaganda that the BJP has already accepted defeat. It really takes something to represent the BJP in the Media.
This election seen has seen new lows not only by the political parties but also by the bizarre and blatantly partial English media, both electronic and print.
The classic example is the TOI. While it never fails to take a dig at the BJP (more so in Bangalore edition after BJP came to power), the group's Kannada newspaper Vijay Karnataka toes the 'Right' path knowing that the ordinary folks in Karnataka can never be appealed by its usual propaganda.

நிதர்சன உண்மைகள் said...

BJP need to prepare itself for the Prathibha googly legal or illegal just before the final door to PMO.

Wanderer said...

The media is having a field day. Here is Varun Gandhi's interview as reported by the Telegraph.

Mr Gandhi said that while the methods used by the government at that time were "roughshod" and considered by many to be "too forceful", he still believed India's population "explosion" required urgent action.

(Link via

Now where does he say that he supports "forced sterilization"? Really, this mischief is getting out of hand now. Something needs to be done.

socal said...

I don't know how long it's going to take for these "allies" and Congress party hacks that they're just like Pakistan is for America: a condom to be used and tossed away.

I feel pity for Lalu. The way media has treated him while it was prince 'Failure to Launch' who made the mistake is pathetic.

SAHANIS said...

This is the last year for congress .Its time to bury congress as they have become arrogant and irresponsible. They traet all others as servent or slave. Its time nationalist leders of cogress party working in congress should leave the congress as this is not congress but sonia and rahul family party take it or leave it .

Naamoku said...

A world famous Ashtamangalam Deva Prasnam expert from Kerala, whom Rajiv met during his life time to do the Prasnam and whom Rahul also met and did the Prasnam told a very close common friend of mine that Rahul is a fool and would never make it to the top.

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Anonymous said...

Look this is the result of A Family infesting a party?.If Moilly is sacked,Ashwin kumar is not allowed to attend the media what logic is there for Rahul "Gandhi",to address the same and continue when he does not undersatand of ABC of politics. People like SMS ,PC claim Rahul has matured enough to be pm.Please do not forget his remarks on Bangladesh formation.