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   Instead of looking back on 1987, as is the practice... (December 31, 1987)

Instead of looking back on 1987, as is the practice, I would like to make a few forecasts for 1988.

The mid-term elections will be held, probably in August. The Congress-I will win, though with a much smaller margin, losing seats in the states which Mr. Rajiv Gandhi would have visited to personally conduct the campaign. Mr. Gandhi will be reappointed prime minister.

Mr. V.P. Singh, after a period of yes-no, will finally decide not to contest the elections, but his Jan Morcha will. It will be wiped out. By the end of the year, Mr. Singh will not become a page in history - he will be a half - page.

Bofors and Fairfax will be big issues during the elections, but after the elections they will be talked about less and less and finally dropped. To the eternal shame of the country, the Thakkar-Natarajan commission's report will be accepted as the final word, opinion and judgement on the subject.

There will be a tiff between the prime minister and the President. Not as big as with the previous President, but therewill be differences of opinion on several subjects. As a result of this, the prime minister will see to it that the President does not go abroad….not even to Kathmandu.

Mr. Gandhi will begin the year of foreign travels with a visit to Sweden and end it with the annual family holiday in Mauritius.

The economy will continue to prosper: there will be more cars on the roads, more five-star hotels in New Delhi, the prices of flats in suburban Bombay will double and treble, essential commodities will cost more. The congress party will hold as special session and felicitate its leader of having given the economy an upward thrust.

Seven more magazines will come out in Bombay and tow newspapers will close down, one morning and one evening (one of these will be in Delhi).

Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan will complete 52 more episodes on Doordarsha. Ms. Jayalalith will get increasingly into politics and Mr. Bachchan out of it.

Mr. Shankarrao Chavan will continue as chief minister of Maharashtra (Mr. Vasantrao Patil will be leader of farmers) and Mr. Murli Deora as President of the BRCC-I. However, chances are that the BRCC-I may be done away with, amalgamated into the MPCC-I.

The Indian contingent will return from Seoul with zero gold, zero silver and zero bronze, but that even a roadside astrologer would be able to forecast. India's national games will henceforth have only cultural programmes, including folk, tribal and elephand dances, but no sports.

The cricket board will eat the humble pie, and allow Vengsarkar to continue to write his column.

All in all, it seems 1988 is going to be a god year….at least, for Mr. Gandhi.

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