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   A lot of people think that the Congress-S, merging... (November 25, 1986)

A lot of people think that the Congress-S, merging with the Congress-I is as simple as Mr. Sharad Pawar telling Mr. Rajiv Gandhi that his party will join the Congress-I if he is made the chief minister. Well, it is not so simple.

The distinguished political correspondent, commentator and analyst was sitting in the press club bar and explaining the technicalities of the situation. I ordered a rum-and-lemonade for him, a rum-and-Thums Up for myself, then said: “If Mr. Pawar is made chief minister, there should be no problems then, except for Mr. Shankarrao Chavan, of course.”

The distinguished commentator gulped his rum-and-lemonade, drink fast. And you are wrong if you think there will be no problems, there are several technicalities involved in the merger. For instance, if a Congress-S member does not want to join the Congress-I does he remain Congress-S, and what happens if there is no Congress-S, does he become a dissident member of Congress-I or does he join Congress (Indira Pranab).”

I ordered a whisky-and-soda for him, a whisky-and-water for myself, then said: “Yes, that is a technicality they would have to clear before Mr. Pawar can become chief minister.

The distinguished correspondent drank his whisky-and-soda in tow separate gulps, then said: “I always drink my second drink slower than the first but not too slow. And that is not the only technicality that will have to be resolved, wants to join the Janata, does he join it because there is no Congress-s or because he does not approve of his new party, the Congress-I. And could he then be treated as a defector from the Congress-I.”

I ordered a gin-and-lime for him, a gin-and-tonic for myself, then said: “Yes, I did not think of that.”

The distinguished analyst sipped his gin-and-lime , then tilted the glass and drank it all. He said: “I like to go easy with my third drink. And that is not all that you did not Congress-S man wants to from a new party, does he call it New Congress or does he call it Old Congress or does he call it Bharatiya Congress Party. And if he does so, does the BJP have the authority to object to that.”

I ordered a vodka-and-orange for him, a vodka-with-bitters for my self, then said: “You are right, the BJP might object.”

The distinguished correspondent stared at his vodka-and-orange, the then drank it in four rapid swallows. He said: “With my fourth drink, I take my time. And, of course, I am right. There us also the question of a BJP member wanting to join the Congress-S. Does he have to join the Congress-I first, then defect to the Congress-S, then refuse to go to the Congress-i. And if the Congress-S is disbanded and the BJP does not have him back, can he join the Janata.”

“The matter is more complicated than people think,” I said. “Is there solution?”

“Yes,” said the distinguished analyst, “there is one solution. We think it would be easier if, instead of Mr. Pawar joining the Congress-I Mr. Gandhi joins the Congress-S.

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