Indian media has gone overboard with Harris. She is not an Indophile.

 

The Rajapaksa family dominates the 38-member Sri Lankan Cabinet. Of the three Rajapaksa brothers, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is President and at the same time Minister of Defence. Mahinda Rajapaksa is Prime Minister. Their elder brother, Chamal Rajapaksa is Minister for Irrigation. The Prime Minister’s son, Namal Rajapaksa is Minister for Sports. His cousin Shasheendra, son of the Irrigation Minister is a Junior Minister for High Technical Agriculture. This is unprecedented in any democratic country. The Rajapaksas have outdone the Nehru-Gandhis.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is a close friend of Subramanian Swamy. In his earlier term, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister had tilted towards the People’s Republic of China. Let us see what he does this time. He will, without doubt, go down in history for totally finishing off the LTTE.

One thing is clear, the Anil Wickremsinghes and the Bandaranaikes are now, it seems, history.

If I am not mistaken, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to visit Sri Lanka. If I am wrong, I shall correct myself. Of all our neighbours, the strategic importance of Sri Lanka cannot be exaggerated.

***

The political farce in Rajasthan seems to be over. Ashok Gehlot is an old and astute political war horse, with his feet firmly on the ground. He has asked his MLAs to forget and forgive. His manner of receiving Sachin Pilot and being photographed with him displays high class public relations expertise.

The loser is the likeable Sachin Pilot. He showed poor judgement, over confidence and lack of patience. Why was he in such a hurry? He has time on his side. He should have learnt from his father how to play the political game and when to strike. Had he lived he would have given the Gandhi trio a run for their money.

Sachin Pilot, if I may say so, should now lie low, stop giving interviews. A period of silence on his part would do him no harm.

***

I read Sonia Gandhi’s article in the Hindu of Thursday 13 August. The subject she chose was intricate. Did she really pen it herself or did the highly learned Jairam Ramesh held her hand? Let me, out of a sense of loyalty of days gone by, give the benefit of doubt to Sonia!

***

Senator Kamala Harris is an Afro-American and not an Indo-American. I am quoting her. Of course she has India blood from her mother. Her father was Jamaican. Hence the Indianness is diluted. All this however is neither here or there. She is the running mate of Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. If he is elected, she will be Vice-President.

Her electoral record is more than impressive. She was a reformist, forceful Attorney General of California, 2011-2017. Her attempt to run for President in 2016 failed. She ran out of funds.

The Indian media has gone overboard. She is not an Indophile. That is clear from her observation on our Kashmir policy. She has been critical of the Modi government’s decision to do away with Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. She is 55 years of age and photogenic.

President Donald Trump unwisely called her “nasty” and other unflattering names. The very next day Kamala Harris responded, calling Trump incompetent and a divisive man, unfit to occupy the White House.

***

Pranab Mukerjee is fighting for his life. He is among our most respected politicians, with vast experience. He is the only Member of Parliament who has been Finance Minister (aged 42), Defence Minister and External Affairs Minister. The last time I saw him, he said to me, “Natwar Singhji, the greatest mistake of my life has been to become President. I am a public man, used to meeting hundreds of people every day. The Rashtrapati Bhawan imprisoned me. I missed meeting Congress workers, Parliament and much else.”

***

I was deeply distressed to learn of Sanju Dutt’s serious illness. I have known him since he was a teenager. His parents, Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, were among my closest friends.

I wish Sanju all the best of luck and a rapid recovery.