Of Love And Politics
Tuhin A. Sinha
Hachette R250 pp 301
A Politburo member, a second-generation Congressman and a bureaucrat-turned-BJP MP shed ideological baggage to form a new political outfit. That is how this book ends. Before this, they shed their outfits.
In a progressive/democratic alliance struck between the sheets, a firebrand woman MP, impressed with a TV appearance in one instance and a speech in Parliament defending the civil nuclear deal in another, chats up a political adversary and accepts his invitation for a drink at a Delhi hotel. Sparks fly, conversations turn cosy and ideologies melt before you can say global warming.
Not that the merry troika is oblivious to the world around it. Round-the-clock television, SMS alerts and news websites are the staple diet for the young, urbane MPs. So, if you wanted a primer on the genesis of Hindu terror in the late 2000s, or the middle class's denouement after 26/11, or the Hyde Act, author Tuhin Sinha's take on events of national importance will provide you a peek.
A minor editing quibble: “Aditya thinks of me as his girlfriend. The mismatch makes us converse about everything under the sun, expect us.” Uh-oh.
One just wishes the storytelling was as engaging as the lovemaking depicted. Here are a few instances when the leap of imagination was a bit too far.
n A serial womaniser, described as “an ultra-cool dude”, who wants Chaitz, the Left politician, to be the 150th woman he has slept with, turns celibate and accompanies her to the farmer suicide belt of Vidharbha and the Nano project in Modiland.
n A Manhattan banker turned Chhattisgarh Congress MP finds his lost American love floating diyas in Har Ki Pauri. She has just escaped a yoga guru with a proclivity for dancing in the buff with his disciples.
n The ménage à trois between the BJP, CPI(M) and Congress leaders unravels on the eve of the 26/11 attacks. So shaken is the trio that they leave behind their complicated love lives to join a candlemarch at the Gateway of India.
n A Congress MP whose father was killed by Naxalites, wakes up to the problem of illegal migration in Assam's border districts and "shifts his loyalties rightward".
n The BJP MP visits Kandhamal and Karnataka and decides to quit "the party with a difference".
Their changes of heart happen at the instance of — surprise! surprise! — Chaitali, the woman in their lives, whose proposal "to step into each other's shoes" as opposed to each other's bedsheets, one assumes, is accepted wholeheartedly by both the BJP and Congress parliamentarians. Did someone say strange bedfellows?
The naming of the dead: A delegate at the 2005 G20 Summit in Scotland dies mysteriously. Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus dives in the murky politics of it.