Writing this one the morning of Tuesday, July 31, it does seem likely that Mr. Devi Lal's forecast will come true: There will be a new prime minister unfurling the national flag at the Red Fort on August 15.
The question is: Who will it be?
It will not be Mr. Devi Lal, that is for certain. If a compromise is reached, both he and Mr. V.P. Singh will have to go, though Mr. Devi Lal may not understand this.
It cannot be Mr. Arun Nehru. Though the letter has been established as a forget and Mr. Devi Lal has not been able to substantiate the charges against him, Mr. Nehru continues to be a suspect. And after having had Mr. V.P. Singh, who has been honesty personfied, even if he has bee nothing else, we cannot go back to people who may be suspect.
The same applies to Mr. Arif Mohammad Khan, not that even otherwise he has much of a chance or ever becoming a prime minister. I am not being communal, but I do believe that a Muslim may be the President of India, he may he commander-in-chief, he may be home minister, aviation minister, chief of intelligence, but he will never be prime minister. Not in my lifetime at least, and that is another 15 years, giver or take a few.
Mr. dandavate has a decent chance of being the compromise prime minister and unfurling the national flag on August 15. He would be the first prime minister from Maharastra, beating Mr. Pawar to it. And he would make a good prime minister - no fuss. Though Mr. V.P. Singh wan't (isn't) any fuss also. But they would not make him the prime minister, they will argue he has no political base, no mass following (like Mr. Devi Lal).
That does not leave many more candidates from the ruling party. Which means, they would have to look among its coalition partners, and there is little to look beyond Mr. Unnikrishanan. So that's out.
The other alternative is that the parties that are supporting the government from the outside may join the government and offer their leader as prime minister. Mr. Jyoti Basu has been waiting for the offer. But it would be a bit of an irony that we whould make a communist our prime minister when the rest of the world is discarding them.
Which leaves only the Congress. The President will ask the Congress to form the government. And if the government is Congress, naturally Mr. Rajiv Gandhi is the prime minister. So, as on August 15, 1989, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi will be unfurling the national flag at the Red Fort. And Mr. Devi Lai's forecast would have come true.