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   In the old days only Congressmen who wanted to get ahead in their political careers... (August 10, 1985)

In the old days only Congressmen who wanted to get ahead in their political careers and become MLCs and MLAs used to paraise the prime minister. Now everybody paraise the prime minister, including political opponents like Mr. Ramakrishanan Hegde and critics of the government like Mr. Nani Palkhivala.

All this has naturally upset genuine Congressmen.

One of them tears in his eyes, was telling me about it this morning "Did you hear what Palkhivala did yesterday? He was addressing some meeting of capitalists and he was full of praise for the prime minister. And all the capitalists cheered I don't know what politics is coming to in this country".

"It is a little confusing" I said.

"Confusing!" said the Congressman, looking shocked. "Is that all that you can say! My seat in the legislative council is a stake. I was so sure that with a few more words of praise for the prime minister, which naturally would take care to see they reached the prime minister's ear and I would be there. Now all sorts of praise must be reaching the prime minister's ear."

"I see your point," I said.

The Congressman continued: "You would think Mr. Ramakrishna Hegde would be satisfied with being chef minister. After all, what else is there for him to aspire for. But no he has to praise the prime minister in public. Nehrually when people like that start praising the prime minister and saying he is better than Panditji their praise would appear on the front page of all the papers. Where would poor congressmen like us be them."

"It is a difficult world," I said.

The Congressman said: "There is no political morality left among people. It does not matter which party you belong to or which business house you represent the moment you see a pressman, you start paying tributes to the prime minister. People should be more consistent," I said.

"True," I said.

The Congressman said: "If this trend continues I see no future for our democracy. Everybody is trying to get on the bandwagon. It makes it very difficult for the prime minister to distinguish between praise from party members and praise from outsiders."

"What do you plan to do?" I asked.

"Nothing Unless the opposition changes its mind and starts functioning once again like it should in a proper democracy," he said.

 
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