So, once again, Mr. Devi Lal has been found to be wrong and Mr. V.P. Singh to be right. No farmer is going to unfurl the national flag at the Red Fort tomorrow morning. It will be unfurled by the Raja.
As for Mr. Devi Lal, if he is at all there, he will be sitting in the back rows, among the MPs, not in the front of the front rows, more equal than his equals.
It has been a bad year for Mr. Devi Lal. He could not do anything for his sons, he could not promote himself, and finally found himself out in the cold and the rain, returning to square one and addressing a farmer's rally.
Some may say that he brought about his own downfall. This is not quite correct. Because he has always been his own self: others have changed with power and position, not he. When they made him, or he made himself, the deputy prime minister, they knew the kind of DPM he would make. If they did not ant him, they should not have made him, they should have given the position to Mr. Chandra Shekhar.
And Mr. Devi Lal's final removal makes little sense. He received a letter and he passed it on to the prime minister for investigation. He was indiscreet in making a public announcement about the letter, but the prime minister could have told him not to do so in future.
It was Mr. Arun Nehru who forced the prime minister's hand with an either-he-goes-or-I-go ultimaturm. The prime minister should have called his bluff. If the worst came to worst, he would have had to let Mr. Nehru go.
Now what is happening is that the Janata Dal is on the verge of breaking up. Mr. Devi Lal's Lok Dal was its largest segment, and, sooner or later, it is bound to follow its leader out of the Janata Dal. Then it will be the end of the present government.
If I may, I would like to make a forecast about the next Independence Day (1991). The person unfurling the flag over the ramparts of the Red Fort will not be either a farmer or a raja. It will be Mr. Rajiv Gandhi.