The distinguished political columnist and commentator was sitting at the Press Club bar holding forth on the current situation in the country. I ordered a rum and Thumps Up for him, a rum and water for myself, and asked: “How long would you say Mr. Chandra Shekhar’s government would last?”
He expired his whisky and Thums Up is one gulp, then said: “It is a question that can only be answered after taking into considerating both the extent and degree of the Congress-I wuppoer to him. However, give or take a few days I would say that he sould last out the year.”
“That’s almost two months, that ‘s very good,” I said.
I ordered a rum and Duke’s lemonade for him, a rum and water for myself, and asked: “is there any danger of Mr. Shekhar’s government collapsing before the year is out?”
The distinguished columnist drank half his rum and Duke’s lemonade, considered, then drank the remaining half, and said: “If you study the equations of the party and intra-party alignments, you will notice that the leftist support is for the V.P. factions, and this could endager the Shekhar government and cut its term short to one month.”
“One month is too short,” I said. “Mr. Shekhar cannot possibly solve the issues of Punjab, Kashmir, Ayodhya and Mandal in one month.”
I ordered a rum and Club soda for him, a rum and water for myself and asked: “Do you expect Mr. Chandra Shekhar to last long enough to appoint Mrs. Maneka Gandhi as minister for environments?”
The star commentator studies his glass, emptied it, then said: “I have noticed an element of marked pessimism in the projection of the term of tenure of the Chandra Shekhar government. I cam confident tha the government would last a week, which should be a long enough for Mr. Shekhar to appoint Mrs. Gandhi minister for environment and for her to be rude to the secretary for environment and also rescind all the decisions taken by Mr. Routray.”
“Well, then, that’s fine,” I said.
I ordered a rum and Frooti for him, a rum and water for myself, and asked: “Are you absolutely confident that Mr. Chandra Shekhar’s government, supported by the Congress-I, would last one week?”
The distingushed columnist gently sipped through his rum and Frooti, then said: “If you are quoting me, then I would like to make a more conservative estimate of one day which should be adequate. After all, Mr. Chandra Shekha’s life’s ambition was to become prime minister, so even if he is for one day, his ambition is fulfilled.