Collusive competition

The precision of the timing with which the CBI announced that they were investigating a case against N Srinivasan was uncanny. Not just any case but one involving Jagan Reddy as well, which put Srinivasan in a special class of those who have displeased the top of UPA. At first it looked like Srinivasan, like all other netas, was immune to removal and could carry on his trade with impunity. After all, a corrupt son-in-law is almost a must-have fashion accessory in the top families among India's elite. What are daughters for then?

Not only did Srinivasan not have to leave but a compromise was worked out with exemplary collusion between the Congress and BJP 'cricket' netas. This looked like a radical solution to the post 2014 election situation—neither UPA, nor NDA but BCCI (BJP-Congress Coalition for India). Alas, it is not to be. The powers that be at the top of UPA have decided that there has to be a head or two chopped off from the top elite of cricket.

So we are back to the 'phoney war' until the elections. The Congress has the problem of choosing its best policy promise which can entice voters back to its fold. The Food Security Bill is an obvious candidate. But it has been left too late to be passed and implemented in time before the elections. Yet it is not late enough to pass an ordinance as there is time to debate it in the Lok Sabha (BJP permitting). It is a curious quest since it is neither necessary nor sufficient for the Congress to win in 2014. The Congress will win rural votes yet again in any case. Its problem is with urban voters who backed Manmohan Singh in 2009 to deliver decisive reforms and now feel disappointed. They will not care about food security. Indeed, if anything they consider it a waste of money.

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