Forgiveness is in the air. Or so it seems.
First it was the multi-millionaire Ambani brothers who kind of declared an end to their cold war without doing the kissing act. Literally, thankfully! The warring brothers, estranged for eight years after their father’s death, have had a bitter public partnership, marked by animosities and legal disputes. Even as the country’s apex court ruled that the public-private partnership between the brothers was not greater than the country’s good (as the brothers-in-arms fought over the distribution of gas in the KG basin), family watchers and Dalal St watchers alike, were looking with renewed hope toward an amicable rapprochement. So, while the Vimal Family bonded in the wilderness of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, stakeholders finally heaved a sigh of relief. And thanked the matriarch for her role as the peacekeeper.
Last week, the peacemaking, rather forget all-animosity-and-let’s-be-friends angle shifted to 11, Ashoka Road in the national Capital as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s headquarters became a scene of high drama and political action. Jaswant Singh was returning to the party fold after a pregnant pause of nine months. Expelled in September last year for his controversial book on Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Darjeeling MP washed away his tears and angst of the proverbial nine months of separation, sharing dais with party chief Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj.
Public memory, surely, is short, and in India a politician’s memory is even shorter. Call it selective amnesia if you please! The dictum that ‘there are no permanent friends and enemies in politics’ is not applicable to Amar Singh alone – it’s a different story that wearing his heart on his political sleeve has earned him the patent for that in recent times! And he has somehow lived up to his reputation, flitting between allies and partners.
Seeing Jaswant Singh in attendance with the party’s “young leadership” comprising Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari was like a perfect “all is forgiven” scene. The moment of political blunder was gone, distance and time having healed all open wounds even as the scars remained etched. The heavy, marigold garlands and the presence of L K Advani by his side, a picture-perfect frame – a frame that didn’t exactly exude any promise of long-lastin ties. But, what the heck, it’s politics, after all! And politics is no stranger to the fact that it does make for strange bedfellows! And time only acts as a healer, and our political mavericks and seasoned tribe alike, would vouch for.
If the week that was had the BJP climaxing over the return of its prodigal officer, the weekend had its ally and not-always-partner-in-crime the Shiv Sena missing the belligerent nephew of the Tiger. An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ on Sunday advises the bickering Thackeray cousins Uddhav and Raj to take a cue from the Ambani rapprochement and bury the hatchet. Mature, eh? Hardly, considering that Raj Thackeray’s breakaway outfit of MNS has not really enhanced the cause of the Marathi manoos. Instead, it has split the Sena vote bank and how, giving a leg up to the Congress and the NCP as the Assembly polls of October 2009 showed. Convenience and compulsion often combined together are politically combustible! If the colonial cousins were to bury the past, move on and come together, what happens to Mrs Smita Thackeray? And her political ambitions, if they still persist? Does she, too, go back to Tiger’s den or continue striking a sense of camaraderie with Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi? Maybe, she could just continue making movies like ‘Haseena Maan Jayegi’, in ways more than one!
Between Jaswant Singh’s homecoming and the Sena wanting Mumbai’s colonial cousins to kiss and make up, there’s emerged another potential peacemaking session. Uma Bharti, the maverick, firebrand leader who was expelled and left the fold to float her own unit, is also waiting, in the wings, to come back. The Madhya Pradesh leader who has never refrained from calling a spade a spade is now looking for a new lease of political life, back in her home turf where she feels the most comfortable. Whether she will encounter the old familiarity and warmth is anybody’s guess!
This summer, forgiveness has been the leitmotif of political and non-political life. Compassion, like charity, does begin at home. Or so it seems. Let’s see how long it lasts.
This post originally appeared here