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   My forecast for five years... (November 20, 1991)

My forecast for five years hence is thus:

Mr. Narasimha Rao will be prime minister for the second term; he will be in total control, but not autocratic. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would still belong to the BJP, but in the national politicalcontext these two states would be of little consequence. The South and its states would be the dominant force would be the dominant force in India.

Mr. Sharad Pawar would be minister for human resources. Having been blessed with infinite patience, he would be still waiting in the wings to become prime minister. Mr. Madhavrao Scindia would be neither minister nor president of the cricket board. He would be a plain MP and that is because the people of Gwalior would keep voting for him every time he stands for an elections. The obvious lesson from this is that a society which has been feudal remains feudal.

Not only will Mrs. Sonia Gandhi not be in politics, but Captain Satish Sharma will not be in Amethi keeping the seat warm for her. The era of the Nehru-Gandhis will be a part of Indian history, like the era of the Tudors or Stuarts in British history. Nehru Jayanti will continue to be observed, as Children's Day, but all the other jayantis will be dropped. Scholars and historians will discuss Jawaharlal Nehru, not politicians seeking votes.

The Punjab issue will be settled, with the ordinary Sikhs in Punjab coming to realise more and more that the so-called militants are nothing but bandits and bank-robbers. Kashmir would have given what it wants, a separate and independent status, and Pakistan would be sending its men in to take it over. Kashmiris would be appealing to India to help them out, but Mr. Narasimha Rao, being who and what he is, would refuse.

The Janata Dal would have joined the Congress, lock, stock and barrel, except for Mr. V.P. Singh, who would be heading a one-man party of his own. Mr. Chandra Shekhar would be in the Congress and yet not in it. Mr. Devi Lal would be where he is now - forgotten.

On the international front: the Arabs and Israelis would be living in uneasy peace. India would have established full diplomatic relations with Israel and be exchanging tennis teams. Saddam Hussein, the world's second-last villain, would have been over-thrown in a military coup engineered within the Iraqi army. His place would have been taken by the world's last villain.

All this, of course, is possible provided the Congress minority government survives the next two months.

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