Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ashok K Mishra : 'The Madness of King George'

The Economics Times Writes :-

PATNA: He once longed for priesthood but destiny willed otherwise. For a good part of his life, he remained sucked into the vortex of Indian
politics. That he rose from nowhere bears testimony to his fighting spirit. When the advancing years are a handicap, he is willing to flex his muscles to corner the JD(U) leadership which has denied him the party ticket from Muzaffarpur. Truly, George Fernandes, the 78-year-old socialist patriarch, is now fighting a battle against his own men. The ageing leader had expressed a desire for contesting elections this time too but the JD(U) leadership felt it would put a big strain on him due to his failing health. JD(U) president Sharad Yadav even wrote a letter offering him a Rajya Sabha nomination. The controversy deepened with the party denying him nomination and Mr Fernandes too pitching for a showdown. On Tuesday, however, he flew to Patna from New Delhi to tell the world that he was fit enough to handle the strains of an election. News also spread that he would walk down from Raj Bhavan to the official residence of chief minister Nitish Kumar perhaps to show that everything was working fine. But the march did not happen. And Mr Fernandes’ decision to avoid reporters again stoked health fears. "George Saheb has done so much for the party. Those who are enjoying the fruits of power today actually owe it to him. If the father is indisposed, will the son desert him? It is really shameful that the JD(U) leadership should be treating him so shabbily," said former Union minister Digvijay Singh, who has been crying hoarse against the JD(U) leadership for being denied the party ticket from Banka. Mr Fernandes had won from Muzaffarpur in 2004 and now he is willing to contest as the "people's candidate". He plans to camp in Muzaffarpur for three days which he will utilise to consult supporters and sympathisers before taking a final call. Meanwhile, the ex-wife of Mr Fernandes, Ms Leila Kabir, has said that the ailing leader should be dissuaded from contesting the elections on health grounds. She pointed out in a press statement that Mr Fernandes had sustained a severe head injury in the mid-90s and a series of surgical interventions enabled him to carry on with his political activity. But by 2006, the side effects had started taking their toll. "Anyone following his contribution to the Lok Sabha from 2006 to 2008 will bear witness to this," she said in the statement.