As we draw closer to the 2024 general election, one begins to see a variety of political cartwheels. One such played out in late March, when a magistrate in Surat was moved enough by the inferred enormity of a four-year-old comment made by Rahul Gandhi to hand down the maximum punishment of two-year imprisonment. That this would automatically result in Gandhi’s disqualification from Parliament might not have occurred to the good magistrate. Nor indeed that the case was pulled out of cold storage close on the heels of Gandhi making a nuisance of himself by demanding answers from the Modi government on its alleged nexus with the business baron Gautam Adani.
So here we are in what the government calls “the mother of democracy” but we do not appear to be conducting ourselves very democratically. At any rate, denying an elected Member of Parliament and an opposition leader the right to speak on the floor of the House or removing him from the House on flimsy grounds does not seem like textbook democratic behaviour.
On the other hand, perhaps it needs this degree of aggression to stir the moribund Congress. Gandhi’s disqualification seems to have worked like a shot in the arm, with Congress workers holding sustained protests across the country and working on a strategy to ensure that the Adani issue is not blanked out by distracting tactics even as regional leaders get their act together.
While we pursue this political story, the issue also has a fabulous culture section: Jaideep Unudurti writes about experimenting with AI in art and Srijan Deshpande describes an emotional encounter with Hindustani music. Enjoy!
Read the issue here.