Power: The Most Powerful Intoxicant

Pratap Bhanu Mehta of Indian Express occasionally produces gems. His column in today’s Indian Express is one such gem.

He accurately brings out the way power goes to the head of a victorious politician. A win, and if it is a good win, generally leads the leader to believe that the win was because of his ‘person.’

Soon the arbitrariness becomes the leader’s style. He also starts believing that he has unlocked the secret to electoral success, and now will win all elections.

A good read.


“The third change was more sociological. The Congress pulled off the spectacular feat of being both crony capitalist and anti-business at the same time. His close circle forgot that urban India was a crucial element in their 2004 victory. In fact, Rahul’s inner circle seemed full of people who were so concerned about expiating their guilt at being privileged that they refused to see the ways in which India was changing. In some ways, they forgot that, just as India cannot be governed with communal polarisation, it cannot be governed with class polarisation: it needs its entrepreneurs as much as its workers, its farmers as much as its urban middle class. This just is a sociological reality: polarisation is a pathway to paralysis.

Last month, we saw a hint of Narendra Modi being beset by a similar confusion: his persona occluded reality. Hopefully, he can pull back. But there is a deeper structural challenge faced by the government. The BJP risks being trapped by a double cynicism. Its support of the original land acquisition bill was ill considered. But promulgating an ordinance in haste has cast a shadow over the BJP’s intentions. It has also been put in an awkward situation where even if it makes the right changes, it will be seen as a climb down. It has unnecessarily given the Opposition an issue. The land act needed changes. But what the NDA’s ordinance proposed was a lot of subterfuge — it reeked of the same casualness that had destroyed the UPA’s credibility.”(from the article)



Read the article here.