2013, Calcutta, Reportage, Telegraph Calcutta

Calcutta And The Art Of Political Seduction

Calcutta, March 23: Three noble notions jousted on the lawns of the Calcutta Club this evening. A fourth won.

The Telegraph National Debate 2013 was, in a sense, about none of the three ideas flung into the crucible of competition — democracy, freedom, equality. It was about a calling that serves or subverts them: Politics.

In the end all it took to conquer the House was a dose of well-meditated flattery. And who’s to be better at that than a politician, a dyed-in-the-khadi Congressman to boot? Arriving last at the lectern, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid just how — and why — politics, for all the ignominy it earns and exudes, remains the arbiter of superior things. Democracy, Freedom and Equality may be higher virtues; the art of charming goes the longer distance.

“This is the brightest, the most intelligent audience you can hope to find,” he proclaimed of his audience, “Don’t try to confuse it because it won’t be confused. This is Calcutta, ladies and gentlemen, and if equality doesn’t get support in Calcutta, it hasn’t a chance anywhere else.”

The House had been smartly stood up by Khurshid, its conscience tickled by entreaty to endorse equality, its cockles warmed by glowing praise. It’s weight fell on his side of the stage. A day after he tethered the runaway Italian marines back to face trial, the external affairs minister had lassoed a domestic constituency of eminences. Continue reading “Calcutta And The Art Of Political Seduction”

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2012, New Delhi, News, Telegraph Calcutta

Salman ‘right fit’ and a combative choice

SANKARSHAN THAKUR

New Delhi, Oct. 28: The pink slip has turned fig leaf for the discarded S.M. Krishna; he at least got his departure note right.

Krishna can now credibly claim he was being sagely rather than sarcastic when he pre-empted being dumped by announcing he wanted to make way for “youngsters… who are the flavour of the season”.

Salman Khurshid, who assumes his chair in the ministry of external affairs (MEA), is almost 20 years his junior and, at 59, one of India’s youngest foreign ministers. Continue reading “Salman ‘right fit’ and a combative choice”