27 January, 2021

Lone Ranger

Lone Ranger
Increasigly, Atal Behari Vajpayee looks a forlorn, even solitary, figure. He is a captive, much like Gulliver. Whatever his critics might say, whatever his politics, whatever you make of his ultra-sensitivity to slurs on his character, Mr Vajpayee is a fundamentally decent man with fundamentally decent instincts. Confrontation, the purveying of hate, communal provocation, minority-baiting, one can confidently assume, is alien to his style. When he became prime minister he thought he would be leading a rightwing party which occasionally threw morsels at its more extreme elements. Unfortunately, the extreme elements today have him by the leash, and the few moderates in his party are struck speechless.

A psycho-profile of Mr Vajpayee is best left to scholars, but it is safe to argue that the one thing Atalji appears to lack is a statesman’s courage. Admittedly, that kind of courage is a rare commodity in an Indian politician, nevertheless I would have thought that the prime minister has little to lose if he hits out. He is at the fag end of a long and generally distinguished...



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