Most people will tell you that this has been a week of mixed fortunes for the Congress. On the one hand, the party won an impressive victory in Karnataka, crushing the BJP. And on the other, it was forced to sack two central ministers. So, the pundits will say, there has been good news and bad news and the signals are far from clear.

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Watching the tributes on TV and reading the newspaper comments, anybody who did not know much about Bal Thackeray could be forgiven for thinking that two different people had died. One was a Marathi-speaking avatar of Adolf Hitler. And the other was a Bombay-bred version of Mother Teresa. Read more

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I don’t know if you saw the results of the Headlines Today poll on the Gujarat Assembly election. The poll was conducted a couple of weeks ago and the results were released on October 4. The election is still some time away and the pollsters did their work before the campaign got into full swing. So yes, it is possible to argue that these responses – and therefore, the results – are premature and that things will change significantly between now and election day. Read more

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Two things need to be said about this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. The first is that it was an exercise in spectacularly inept political timing. It is bizarre to shift the country’s home minister at a time when parts of Assam are still in flames and to replace him with a man who knows nothing about that situation and has never before held this portfolio. Read more

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So, was it worth it for Sharad Pawar and the NCP to raise the banner of revolt? Though the media breathlessly suggested the imminent break-up of the UPA, the crisis ended not with a resignation but with the tiniest of whimpers. Read more

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How can you tell when a government is in crisis? There are the obvious ways, I suppose. You can tell that a government is in trouble when it is on the verge of losing its majority. When its coalition appears to be cracking up. When its MPs begin to revolt. And so on. Read more

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Opinions will differ on the merits of Pranab Mukherjee’s budget. There will be those who will say that the finance minister has done the best job possible given how difficult the economic situation is. And there will be others who will argue that he has produced a pedestrian budget that is lacking in imagination. Read more

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One of the advantages of studying English literature in school is that you come to grips with the themes of the great classics. The disadvantage is that school teachers go out of their way to make these classics so boring that you promptly forget all about them once your exams are over. Read more

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Some years ago, around half-way through the life of UPA I, I was on a flight with a very senior minister in the Cabinet. The talk turned to the Indo-US nuclear deal which the Prime Minister had just announced that he had secured from George Bush. Read more

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I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember the Mandal movement. If you are, then forgive me because you probably know most of this already. Read more

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