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The Horror Couple

The Horror Couple

Author: S Prasannarajan
Publication: India Today
Date: April 4, 2011
URL: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/133374/Signature/cash-for-vote-scam-upa-government-horror-couple-manmohan-singh-and-sonia-gandhi.html

Introduction: Perhaps India is the Only Democracy where the Prime Minister Can still Remain a Rsare Man of Decency, Dignity even has he Continues to be the Leader of Arguably the most Corrupt Government Ever to Rule India.

Most horror stories have a beginning steeped in poignancy, even if choreographed to perfection. Today, to realise the enormity of the horror that is the UPA Government, personified by a prime minister who has come to resemble a hologram and his political boss who has a sense of granite detachment, we have to go back to that day in 2004 in the Central Hall of Parliament. It was a day of mawkish sentimentalism and saccharine sycophancy of vintage Congress when Sonia Gandhi discovered the power of "No". It was her moment to reclaim India for the Dynasty after the humiliation of the BJP in the General Elections; it was her appointment with India as a politician with the most coveted surname in Congress. Her renunciation, accompanied by the tears of those who have been denied the prospect of another Mrs G in power, was followed by the coronation of the untarnished outsider. It was an unprecedented distribution of power between two individuals who defied the traditional Congress script in which there was never any separation of the Church and the State. There was only the Church. Suddenly, there was an accidental politician, a technocrat with a proven record in economic liberalisation, as prime minister and a party czarina who wanted all the power without being in power. For the first time in the history of the Dynasty, a Gandhi refused to play it up front in spite of having won the mandate and chose the least political of them all from her party to lead the Government. The age of the Moderniser and the Madonna had begun.

Seven years on, look where they have brought us, or, to be precise, how much they themselves have changed. In the art of deception and diversion which this Government has mastered we don't know at what cost to the national exchequer, there seems to be a perfect harmony between the two. The prime minister, a man of less words and lesser action, has acquired a life independent of his own Government, which is partly due to our own strange definition of leadership. Perhaps India is the only democracy where the prime minister can still remain a rare man of decency, dignity and integrity even as he continues to be the leader of arguably the most corrupt government ever to rule India. He is the axis of the rot but gives the impression of being a good soul condemned to the job-and we buy the pretence. The arbiter of his power to deceive, the party president, matches his criminal aloofness with her imperious remoteness. But the WikiLeaks revelation about cash-for-vote brings 10 Janpath closer to the rot. The arrangement of 2004 has worked to the mutual benefit of the prime minister and his political boss in 2011. One is still dutiful and the other is as opaque as ever, and both treat politics more as a necessity rather than a natural medium to reach out. He is not your classical Congressman and she is not your Mrs G. Together, they have reduced the distance between the romance of 2004 and the horror of 2011.

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