Some of India's best thinkers have written about the Anna Hazare movement, and now Amitav Ghosh joins the group with this article in the Hindustan Times. While agreeing with Ghosh's analysis of the malaise within the Congress Party, where position has been divorced from true power, I find myself wishing he'd gone further and spoken of the same thing happening among opposition parties.
During the Shiv Sena-BJP government of the 1990s in Maharashtra, real power vested in Bal Thackeray who, unlike Sonia Gandhi, didn't even fight elections. To this day, no Thackeray has ever bothered to fight state or national elections. It was to Bal Thackeray's home and not the Chief Minister's office that Rebecca Mark of Enron went, straight from the airport, when attempting to get the Dabhol project restarted. The result was a U-turn by the ruling coalition and a financial disaster for the state.
The BJP boasts, with a lot of justice, of not harbouring dynasties, and of changing party heads democratically. However, it faces its own 'deep State' crisis in its relationship with the RSS, whose unelected leaders have have veto power over decisions taken by BJP ministers.
Another feature of 'deep State' politics, as Ghosh points out, is the refusal to reveal details of illnesses suffered by top leaders. The secrecy surrounding Sonia Gandhi's surgery is very similar to that surrounding Hugo Chavez's treatment in Cuba; and of Fidel Castro's illness. Here, again, the BJP was no different, having drawn a veil over Atal Behari Vajpayee's health problems while he was Prime Minister.