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   For some time it is being said... (June 3, 1990)

For some time it is being said that a number of leading Congressmen would be ditching Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. So far, only has done so, Dr. Rafiq Zakaria. And he cannot be called a leading Congressman.

So who else would ditch him? Arjun Singh's name comes first in the mind, though in thinking so perhaps I am being unfair to him. But he is the arch politician, careful about his own intersts, has his own following, at least in Madhya Pradesh, appears to be sherwd and manipulating. His leaving Rajiv Gandhi will not make much difference, either to Mr. Gandhi or to the Congress party.

For a long time, N.D. Tiwari was being mentioned as the man likely to lead the revolt. This may have been true at one time, but not any more. With defeat, Mr. Tiwari's political clout has gone. I have not read a single news item on him for the past two months. Nor, I presume, have you.

Mr. Natwar Singh is also chancy, he may leave. But before he does that, he would have to be offered some important position in the Janata Dal. And Mr. V.P. Singh is not likely to offer him anything. As for the BJP, it does not admit defector.

As for Mr. Buta Singh, he is a creation of the Gandhis. And even if he is neglected (I would not say, kicked about) by Mr. Gandhi at the moment, he would not leave him. He has that somewhat infuriating quality of being blindly loyal. Besides, where would he go? He has burnt all his other boats.

Mr. Vasant Sathe may leave. And he would do it in style: rationalising and making statements and writing a thses is on what went wrong with the Congress under Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr. K.C. Pant should have quit long back. He is a man who has been hurt and humiliated, or he thinks he has been. That he has not done so so far, means he never would. In any case, he is one of those who have caused to matter in Indian politics. Not that he ever really did.

Two new Congressmen who would never quit Rajiv Gandhi are Mani Shankar Aiyar and M.J. Akbar. When they decided to join him, they did it with full knowledge of the consequences. As for Amitach Bachchan, he will continue to be Rajiv Gandhi's friend, but that is all. The day his finls stated failing, he was finished, politics has little to do with it.

Finally, there is Mr. Sharad Pawar. In his present position, he can afford to keep Rajiv Gandhi in his party.

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