Not much to add at the moment. Another brit has turned up at my hotel: he’s from Bath and was a local council official until he packed it in for a long holiday. He was also a Labour party member until at least the 1997 election and so it was useful to hear an insider’s account of how and why the ‘Blairite’/post-Maggie modernisation was necessary.
Today, it appears that Sonia Gandhi has resigned both as an MP and from her ‘office of profit’, despite quietly protesting that the position she held did not profit her at all financially. She’s also a good constituency MP, according to constituents quoted in the Times of India and is likely to be re-elected in any by-election.
This has stopped the move to adjourn Parliament (and hence bring in the decree I mentioned yesterday.) Also, the governement is now claiming it never intended to promulgate such a decree in the first place and that the adjournment was simply to allow the budget demate and this issue to calm down.
The irony is that the ‘office of profit’ issue was raised by a candidate from Sonia’s own Congress party. He lost an election to Jaya Bachchan and then complained to the electoral commission that she was an ineligable candidate because of her ‘other job’. (She responded to this by showing that she’d resigned this job just before the election, but then took it up again while still an MP.) However the stink from this process took down his party leader.
She’s played the ‘martyr card’ at least once before. Her party won an overwhelming victory in a recent general election but she didn’t take the opportunity to form a government, possibly due to opposition taunts that a ‘foreigner’ shouldn’t rule India. (See <http://www.biographybase.com/biography/Gandhi_Sonia.html> for further detail.)
OK, time for me to look into how I should now move on to Mahabaleshwar…