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Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy

The increasing polarisation of politics is a matter of grave concern. The two major national political parties, BJP and Congress, continue to harp on the sins of the past.

Management experts refer to an important development paradigm for growth companies: they spend little time on the past, some time on the present and most time on the future. This paradigm should apply to the economy as well. Sadly, our political parties do not understand this. Complaints and accusations, tits for tats, tu-tu mein mein, are endless and yield little time for improving the administration in the present or look at opportunities for the future.

Congress leaders, like the BJP earlier, seem to find it difficult to reconcile to the opponent assuming power. Little wonder, they do not feel any qualm in opposing legislations like those on land acquisition and GST that were earlier initiated by them. They point to the BJP putting spokes on legislative efforts made by them earlier. The result: close to two years of legislative paralysis.

Even while Prime Minister Modi attempts to build better rapport with Congress leaders, disparate elements in the Sangh Parivar thwart such attempts by kindling old animosities. Sadly, this is also witnessed in equal measure in the attitude of Congress with its leaders opposing every issue mooted by the BJP. Emotions surge and reach boiling point triggered by issues that do not deserve the scale of attention imparted to these. Mass media, notably television, makes its contribution in widening the divide. One needs to look at the JNU issue exploding to such proportions as to dominate attention for days.

Modi would do well to adapt the Vajpayee tactic of quiet dinner diplomacy. He should build bridges by persisting with efforts at taking the opposition, notably the Congress, along. He made a good beginning inviting Sonia Gandhi and Dr Singh to his residence. He should continue to expand this to include

Rahul Gandhi and second line leaders. It is tough and is the way forward in any democracy.


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