30 November, 2020

Prince Gets Spoilt

He started sincere, but finally gave in to old party methods

Prince Gets Spoilt

My initiation into the rarefied political salons of Delhi took place on the evening of December 31, 1984. I was on a fortnight’s visit to India to study the general election that had been called after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. As I was at a loose end that evening, an old college friend who was well connected to the city’s liberal fraternity suggested I accompany her to Romesh and Raj Thapar’s open house at Chanakyapuri.

I was in a cocky mood that evening, having won numerous bets over the outcome of the election. In hindsight this may appear surprising, but a perusal of the English-language newspapers of December 1984 will show that the chattering classes expected the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress to just about squeak through.

Having spent 10 days in Calcutta, I had a very different perspective. Even in strong Communist bastions, it seemed that the new prime minister had captured the popular imagination. There was a wave of revulsion in the middle classes when the imperious CPI(M)...



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