And a few thoughts on eletion day:
To begin at the top, all the three main contenders seem to be confident of success in the eletions, Mr. Bal Thackeray, rightly so, Mr. Sharad Pawar, rightly so, Mr. Sharad Pawar, rightly so, and Mrs. Mrinal Gore, mistakenly so. Of the three, only one is personally contesting, and Mr. Pawar should win. No question about that.
There must be a lot of Congressmen in the state, and a few at the centre, who would like the Congress to lose in Maharastra. Because if it wins. Mr. Pawarâ€™s status would go up and a movement may grow around him for the ouster of the present leadership of the party: I can see Sharad Pawar becoming the prime minister the next time the Congress comes to power in Delhi.
However, if Mr. Pawar losses, he will not quietly retire. He will start all over again slowly working his way to the top. He is the ultimate politician.
And the Shiv Sena, it would be in its interests if it does not win and form the government this time around. Because its eletion promises have been too lavish, and not being the able to cope with them it will lose its credibility. It has neither the money nor the clout to build 20 lakh houses or a super-express highway between Mumbai and Pune. For that matter, no Maharastra and Pune. For that matter, no Maharstra government can, given all the will and sincerity to do so.
As for Mrs. Mrinal Gore, both she and George Fernandes should have stayed with municipal politics. Some people are not meant for national politics, they are born to look after the problem of the citizens of Goregaon and of Bombay taxi-drivers and Manglorean canteen boys. I will not say more because I do not want to be unkindâ€¦to Mr. Fernandes. Actually, it is interesting to note that Mr. Madhu Dandavate is the only one among the old Socialists and Praja Socialists who has acclimatised himself to the demands or present-day politics.
And coming up the Congress, I do not agree with those who say it is doomed for ever. Hundred-year-old organisations do not die over-night, especially not national parties with the history of the Indian National Congress.
And, once again, I think, we are giving too much credit to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. First we gave him credit for reviving the Congress, now we are giving him the credit for killing it. No single man can do either, and especially not somebody like Mr. Gandhi.