The absence of ‘jugaad’



The first time I met Sonia Gandhi was soon after she became Congress president – at a dinner at Nasik hosted by Sharad Pawar who was then sill part of the Congress. The party had swept more than 40 of the 48 seats to the Lok Sabha from Maharashtra and Pawar had just been made leader of the opposition. Some of us descended on Sonia, full of curiosity. She was startled t0 face a battery of questioning women journalists of all ages and speaking all languages and she ducked behind the ample persona of Najma Heptullah, then deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and also still with the Congress.

What charmed Sonia’s supporters and cynics alike was her answer to our query: what do you attribute your success at the Lok Sabha elections to?

She peeped out from behind Heptullah and rolling her Rs said, “It is not my success. The Congress has been ruled by better persons than me by a whole lot of leaders who have made great contribution to the party and the nation. I am only one in a long line of them. I still have a lot to learn from the more experienced leaders in my party.”

She was less shy the second time we met her in Bombay – at a lunch hosted by then Bombay Congress president Murli Deora but still avowing that she had a lot to learn from those who had put more years in the party than she had as yet.

I can scarcely believe that Sonia Gandhi has now completed 15 years straight as Congress president and seems to be the party’s only hope every which way, notwithstanding the elevation of her son Rahul Gandhi recently to the post of party vice president.

I attended one of her recent rallies in Gujarat and recall one senior journalist comment on the electrified crowds as she climbed the dais, “What will the Congress do without her? The others are all so useless, good for nothings!”

I wondered then what Sonia might have to say at that moment about the stalwarts in her party who had spent long years on the campaign trail, in party and government and yet could not be depended upon to even win their own elections by themselves.

Sharad Pawar recently expressed his deep regrets that he had ever raised the issue of her foreign origin and split the Congress on those grounds. While, I thought, that apart from the recent rather astonishing phenomenon of his spokespersons, earlier highly critical of the Gandhi parivar, now avowing the stellar qualities in Sonia Gandhi, might be some cosying up to the Congress president in the interest of his own offspring’s future, I am now realising the profundity of an earlier statement that Pawar had made to me almost reluctantly and in the passing: despite splitting from the Congress on the grounds of Sonia’s orgins, he had had to seek a tie-up with the Congress almost immediately thereafter because he realised that the Nehru-Gandhis held 20% of all votes polled at any election at any given time. “These are dalits and Muslims. They will vote for the Gandhis no matter what. So the Congress has to work for only another 30%. All the rest of us have to work from scratch, upwards from zero. So my task is easier if my party allies with the Congress.”

Years later at the December 2012 Gujarat elections, I saw the attraction at least one of these groups might have for the Nehru-Gandhis. Sonia’s rally was set for 11am but she did not turn up on the grounds before 1pm. Some of the front rows were occupied by Muslims and they were frantic because it was time for their namaaz. But when they had to choose, they decided to sit on, not wanting to get up for their prayers as they would lose their vantage seats in the front rows – shaking her hands after the rally, as she went past the barricade, was worth missing one namaaz for and that’s precisely what they did, bringing forth that comment from the Delhi veteran.

I wonder what it is about Sonia Gandhi that drew the Congress to her and not the other Gandhi bahu – Maneka, who was certainly more ambitious than her sister-in-law but could never quite make the cut. What surprises me is that Sonia has surpassed not just her husband Rajiv Gandhi’s record, but also that of her veteran mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, proving somehow more compassionate towards the deprived classes and with more staying power than any of the others before her, even highly tolerant of the abuse heaped upon her by her opponents.

But I can begin to guess from something a Youth Congress functionary once told me: “She sticks by the rules. And so she gives us all a future.”

When I asked him to explain he said, “Our party is famed for its jugaad. Soniaji does not understand the meaning of jugaad. So if one of us is more than 35 years of age, she absolutely forbids that he be made youth congress president. That opens the doors for the rest of us, the younger lot, and so no one ever wants to see her exit the party post. Even Rajivji woud give in to some jugaad. Perhaps even Rahul. But never our party president.”

Like bribery and corruption, jugaad is a great luxury in the Indian scheme of things. It’s just as well then that there is no equivalent of the word in the English or any other western language!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (36 votes, average: 2.36 out of 5)
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  • RSampath

    Super Hate Monger like Sonia Antonia Maino Gandhi son Rahul Gandhi son-in-law Robert Vadra, and their contributions to India are – Bofors, CWG, 2G, 3G, CNG-LPG, CVC, BSES-Delhi-Electricity-Racket, Corporate-Political-Nexus-Scam, SharadPawar-Agri-Scam, Lalu-Fodder-Scam, Adarsh-Vadra-DLF-Rahul-Land-Mafia-Scam, AMS-NDT-PC-OilyMoliy, Coalgate, Shinde-Antony-Choppergate,Army-Scorpene-Tatra-Defence-EML-Deal-Scam, ISRO-Devas-Antrix-DIAL-Scam,Goa-Mining-Scam, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA-NRHM-Scam, Radia-BarkhaDutt-Singhvi-RSardesai-PIMPs, ADHAAR, Divide and Rule in the name of Religions, etc. So why blame Civil Servants.. goo dot gl slash 0PLSe , goo dot gl slash VrSpL

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  • Anonymous

    It looks like a paid piece as always. Straight from Congress HQ.

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  • Sumit Bose

    What … No Jugaad!!, then please make the time and effort to explain her affidavit that she was educated at the Cambridge University and even more importantly, just how our beloved Italian ex-maid is ranked as the 4th Wealthiest politician in the world today????

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  • Lukemioa

    Please get lost. Congress had drunk enough blood of Indians.
    Even dracula would be ashamed !

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  • kanishka

    15 years as the president of ruling party and no open press conference for taking direct questions or one-to-one interview with camera on?

    What is going on with Indian voters? How could they tolerate the managed tamasha for so many years?

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  • CL

    What amount has been paid to you by congress for fabricating, manipulating and drafting this story. Aakhir aap kahna kya chahte hain ? What do you want to convey ?

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  • Scm

    That is when back luck started for India
    How many more years of suffering left for the country and its weak men’s

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  • aam_aadmi

    why can’t we give a 0 star rating? This is very frustrating! HT has becoming nothing more than a Congress mouthpiece!!!

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  • Jugad uncle

    Paid news for the corrupt Italian queen. Good job, the money will be credited to you bank account shortly.

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  • Pranav

    Sujata, shame on you. are you paid? What achievement she has to write on her, except she married ex-prime ministers elder son.

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  • Akash

    Sujata … I really love reading u and make sure never miss your weekly. I may not agree with all you write (especially on modi) but still feel u r doing a great job. Don’t go by all the comments given by these trolls. U rock

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    Javed Reply:

    okay now you can come out of her skirt. no one cares. but hope you had a good time, you both

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kashi2222 veer bhallal

    orgasm

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  • Raman

    Paid news.

    There are better ways to earn your living Ms Sujata anandan not like this using your pen to support Congress

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  • Amlan Dutta

    Very nice piece,

    However the current wave of anti-incumbency might very well sweep away Congress in the 2014 elections. I personally believe that the current government is slowly evolving. But the anti – incumbency sentiment is too strong. And what alternatives do we have? Modi? Shudder to think of the day Modi would become our PM.

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    Sumit Bose Reply:

    This blinkered mind-set is what the Corrupt Party has cultivated for over 6 decades; it is called the TINA factor. If there was no BJP, then we would really have to “shudder” at the thought of Lallo/Mulayam/Mayawati/DMK/CPM , but now there is an alternative and that alternative works for the people. NM has proved with marshaling the state machinery to be at the service of the people, not to drink the blood and sap the vitality of the nation.
    Your assessment of this government “slowly evolving” is a joke at the cost of the hopes dashed and the lives lost, not to mention pauperization that yet persists. Just look all around Asia, countries with so much less have gone way beyond India, and they were much worse off than what the British left us in. When the people are convinced the government is ready and willing to work to empower and enrich the people, they will vote them back with better margins, anti-incumbecy works only when people are convinced taht the party is power is only to enrich its family members.

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    Javed Reply:

    then start shuddering you dumba88, Modi’s time to become PM has come just in nick of time to save our country. it is dimwits like you who are , holding back india. TINA my a88

    BJP & Modi are far better alternatives than this halfwit gandhi puppet who has to be prompted, decorated & managed by unaccountable spin-doctors

    what exactly has she done apart from being the ceremonial monarch of her party? she is the common minimum “compromise” denominator to keep competitiveness at bay. congress party runs away from competitively electing their leader – they fear it will break the party (it has split in the past) Only a retrograde dynastic party can think like this

    she renunciated post of PM. renunciated my a88. she knew she does not have the calibre to govern.

    YOU & THIS RADDI CHHAP JOURNALIST SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF FLIRTING WITH THIS RUBBISH CONGRESS PARTY & HANDING OVER OUR BA11S IN THEIR HANDS

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  • P A Shah

    Yet to come across a more shallow article. Maybe its the writer or maybe its the topic. HT does not have a QC dept. that whets articles before they are uploaded ?

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  • P A Shah

    Yet to come across a more shallow article. Maybe its the writer or maybe its the topic. HT does not have a QC dept. that whets articles before they are uploaded ?

    [Reply]

  • P A Shah

    Yet to come across a more shallow article. Maybe its the writer or maybe its the topic. HT does not have a QC dept. that whets articles before they are uploaded ?

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    Javed Reply:

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN DOES HT HAVE A QC DEPT?

    THEY HAVE.

    IT IS INC PRO, 10 JANPATH.

    :)

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    Swati Reply:

    This is an excellent reply!

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  • Rahul Vincci

    GOD HOW MANY DIME A DOZEN SLAVE JOURNALIST LIKE SUJATA ADNAN THIS ITALIAN MOST CORRUPT LADY BOUGHT TO POLISH HER IMAGE BEFORE 2014 ELECTION. WHAT HAPPENED TO RAHUL VINCCI? IS CON PARTY IS THINKING THAT KARNATKA MUNICIPAL ELECTION WIN OF THE CON PARTY GAVE THEM ASSURANCE THAT AMADMI HAS FORGOTTEN ALL THE LOOT AND SCAMS THAT HAS BEEN DONE SINGLE HANDEDLY BY SONIA MAINO’S DIRECTION WITH A CUT OF 20%. IT IS VERY SAD THAT A PARTY WHICH RUN INDIA FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS KEEP THE MAJORITY POPULATION IN DIRE STATE OF POVERTY TO EXPLOIT THEIR EXTREME HUNGER BY NOT THROUGH GOOD GOVERNANCE LIKE NARENDRA MODI, NITISH KUMAR OR MADTA PARDESH CHIEF MINISTER BUT EXPLOITING THE EXTREME HUNGER OF THE MILLIONS JUST DOLING OUT PUBLIC MONEY UNDER THE DISGUISE OF SOCIAL UP LIFDTMENT SCHEMES JUST BEFORE ONE YEAR OF 2014 ELECTION. IF YOUR LEADER IS ILLITERATE AND KNOWS HOW THESE POVERTY STRICKEN MASS NEEDS TO BE GOVERNED BY ANY MEANS EVEN AT THE PUSHING THE ECONOMY TO BUST AS JUNK STATUS AND THE DEFENCE SPENDING CUT BY 20% , SO BE IT. IT IS SONIA MAINO , THE MOST CORRUPT WOMAN POLITICIAN IN THE WORLD WITH NET WORTH OF 19 BIL (2010 DATA) AND RISING. BEXCAUSE OF SONIA MAINO AND RAHUL VINCCI, THE ITALIAN FISHER MEN KILLERS WILL GET AWAY WITH IT WITH HELP OF SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUTICE KABIR, APPOINTED BY THE CONGRESS CHAIR PERSON. THIS SLABE JOUNALIST FOR FEW HUNDRED BUCKS SWEPT ALL THE CORRUPTIONS, SCAMS, ILL GOVERNANCE, THE STORY OF ROBERT VADRA ‘S TRYST OF BECOMING THE QUICKEST BILLIONIRE AND REALTORS WITH THE BLESSINGS OF HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, SONIA MAINO. ALL ARE FORGOTTEN FOR FEW HUNDRED BUCKS.

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  • Ravi

    Another Gandhi family bootlicker. Someone should tell this b$$$$ that slavery time is over, and she is free.

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  • Rahul Vincci

    GOD HOW MANY DIME A DOZEN SLAVE JOURNALIST LIKE SUJATA ADNAN THIS ITALIAN MOST CORRUPT LADY BOUGHT TO POLISH HER IMAGE BEFORE 2014 ELECTION. WHAT HAPPENED TO RAHUL VINCCI? IS CON PARTY IS THINKING THAT KARNATKA MUNICIPAL ELECTION WIN OF THE CON PARTY GAVE THEM ASSURANCE THAT AMADMI HAS FORGOTTEN ALL THE LOOT AND SCAMS THAT HAS BEEN DONE SINGLE HANDEDLY BY SONIA MAINO’S DIRECTION WITH A CUT OF 20%. IT IS VERY SAD THAT A PARTY WHICH RUN INDIA FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS KEEP THE MAJORITY POPULATION IN DIRE STATE OF POVERTY TO EXPLOIT THEIR EXTREME HUNGER BY NOT THROUGH GOOD GOVERNANCE LIKE NARENDRA MODI, NITISH KUMAR OR MADTA PARDESH CHIEF MINISTER BUT EXPLOITING THE EXTREME HUNGER OF THE MILLIONS JUST DOLING OUT PUBLIC MONEY UNDER THE DISGUISE OF SOCIAL UP LIFDTMENT SCHEMES JUST BEFORE ONE YEAR OF 2014 ELECTION. IF YOUR LEADER IS ILLITERATE AND KNOWS HOW THESE POVERTY STRICKEN MASS NEEDS TO BE GOVERNED BY ANY MEANS EVEN AT THE PUSHING THE ECONOMY TO BUST AS JUNK STATUS AND THE DEFENCE SPENDING CUT BY 20% , SO BE IT. IT IS SONIA MAINO , THE MOST CORRUPT WOMAN POLITICIAN IN THE WORLD WITH NET WORTH OF 19 BIL (2010 DATA) AND RISING. BEXCAUSE OF SONIA MAINO AND RAHUL VINCCI, THE ITALIAN FISHER MEN KILLERS WILL GET AWAY WITH IT WITH HELP OF SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUTICE KABIR, APPOINTED BY THE CONGRESS CHAIR PERSON. THIS SLABE JOUNALIST FOR FEW HUNDRED BUCKS SWEPT ALL THE CORRUPTIONS, SCAMS, ILL GOVERNANCE, THE STORY OF ROBERT VADRA ‘S TRYST OF BECOMING THE QUICKEST BILLIONIRE AND REALTORS WITH THE BLESSINGS OF HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, SONIA MAINO. ALL ARE FORGOTTEN FOR FEW HUNDRED BUCKS.

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  • Rahul Vincci

    GOD HOW MANY DIME A DOZEN SLAVE JOURNALIST LIKE SUJATA ADNAN THIS ITALIAN MOST CORRUPT LADY BOUGHT TO POLISH HER IMAGE BEFORE 2014 ELECTION. WHAT HAPPENED TO RAHUL VINCCI? IS CON PARTY IS THINKING THAT KARNATKA MUNICIPAL ELECTION WIN OF THE CON PARTY GAVE THEM ASSURANCE THAT AMADMI HAS FORGOTTEN ALL THE LOOT AND SCAMS THAT HAS BEEN DONE SINGLE HANDEDLY BY SONIA MAINO’S DIRECTION WITH A CUT OF 20%. IT IS VERY SAD THAT A PARTY WHICH RUN INDIA FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS KEEP THE MAJORITY POPULATION IN DIRE STATE OF POVERTY TO EXPLOIT THEIR EXTREME HUNGER BY NOT THROUGH GOOD GOVERNANCE LIKE NARENDRA MODI, NITISH KUMAR OR MADTA PARDESH CHIEF MINISTER BUT EXPLOITING THE EXTREME HUNGER OF THE MILLIONS JUST DOLING OUT PUBLIC MONEY UNDER THE DISGUISE OF SOCIAL UP LIFDTMENT SCHEMES JUST BEFORE ONE YEAR OF 2014 ELECTION. IF YOUR LEADER IS ILLITERATE AND KNOWS HOW THESE POVERTY STRICKEN MASS NEEDS TO BE GOVERNED BY ANY MEANS EVEN AT THE PUSHING THE ECONOMY TO BUST AS JUNK STATUS AND THE DEFENCE SPENDING CUT BY 20% , SO BE IT. IT IS SONIA MAINO , THE MOST CORRUPT WOMAN POLITICIAN IN THE WORLD WITH NET WORTH OF 19 BIL (2010 DATA) AND RISING. BEXCAUSE OF SONIA MAINO AND RAHUL VINCCI, THE ITALIAN FISHER MEN KILLERS WILL GET AWAY WITH IT WITH HELP OF SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUTICE KABIR, APPOINTED BY THE CONGRESS CHAIR PERSON. THIS SLABE JOUNALIST FOR FEW HUNDRED BUCKS SWEPT ALL THE CORRUPTIONS, SCAMS, ILL GOVERNANCE, THE STORY OF ROBERT VADRA ‘S TRYST OF BECOMING THE QUICKEST BILLIONIRE AND REALTORS WITH THE BLESSINGS OF HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, SONIA MAINO. ALL ARE FORGOTTEN FOR FEW HUNDRED BUCKS.

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  • PPrasad

    Sonia has completed 15 years of Congress Party president ship, still there are no contenders for the post.
    Indicates that the Congress Party is not a Democratic political party but a MAFIA party!!
    The Chinese Communist Party has more Democracy within its ranks than the Congress Party of India !!!

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  • Deepak

    Hi Sujata. You have proved narendra Modi right with your statement on Dalits and Muslims. It’s people like you who have destroyed India with pseudo economics and false secularism. The Nehru Gandhi dynasty has kept India backward so that they can rule and loot India with the votes of economically backward vote banks.the people are no longer going to be fooled by this kind of nonsense dished out by biased propogandists like you.

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  • Arundhatisharma

    Its Planning for protect the government and make a alliance for government even we can runs the government by connecting the Other Party .

    http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/answers/other-advertising-and-marketing-20121018004220AAEu8mQ.html

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  • lakshmishaks

    Regarding your query of other congress leaders who cannot win election on their own, Jagan seems to win his candidates even while sitting in Jail and manages to electrify the crowd, this explains the fundemental malaise in the
    party as no leader who can win them seats are allowed to prosper

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