A meeting of bigwigs and trusted lieutenants of the grand old party had been called with the Congress president in the Chair. A note had been previously circulated among these stalwarts calling for fresh ideas for rejuvenating the party with an eye on the 2014 elections.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Digvijay Singh said that only a Gandhi can provide the leadership for the party in difficult times . The family, he said is paramount and next come the party members in the pecking order to be decided by the family . Of course there are problems in the country which can only be tackled provided the family is in the saddle. He exhorted them to understand that Rahul Gandhi is just in the beginning of forties and given the age of retiring prime ministers, he has at least forty great years ahead of him to take us past China and Japan. There are lot of opportunities for the future generations of Congressmen and their families to participate in exciting areas like iron ore mining, spectrum allocation, coal field allocation apart from multi-billion defence preparedness and possible hosting of Olympics in India.
An young impatient MP got up and said “ Even the best and well conceived programmes cannot replace the euphoria generated by a military victory and hence I suggest that we should take over Pakistan occupied Kashmir by force even it means a war with Pakistan.”
Mr. Mani Shankar Iyer was aghast and angry. “ How can you ever think of such a hawkish suggestion? I have spent a considerable part of my life dealing with Pakistanis. Most of them want peace and a friendly relationship with India. We should sort the problem peacefully.”
But the young MP persisted “ Think on how Rahulji ,who as defence minister steering our armed forces and motivating them to a victory can capture the imagination of our people. He would have rectified the mistake committed by his great grandfather over Kashmir and will earn adulation like his grandmother over the liberation of Bangladesh.” Many heads nodded. The current Defence Minister Antony mildly interjected-“ What if we lose?” There was a stunned silence. The proposal was rejected as it was fraught with uncertainty.
An elderly Gandhian suggested that we should bring back twenty five lakh crores of rupees stashed in foreign banks to India and that Government should take all the money and give it to the poor. Everyone looked at each other in suspicion. The Gandhian went on-“We will open bank accounts for the poor with the same number as unique I.D. and channelize the funds to these accounts directly from Swiss or other banks avoiding bureaucratic intervention. Each poor man can get at least 25000 rupees. This will create a huge goodwill for us in the country. And there is no further need to spend our money for the elections.”
There was a dismayed look on all faces. Mr. P.Chidambaram retorted- “Do you think it is possible to take out our……… I mean somebody ’s money and put into somebody else’s account? It is immoral, legally impossible and definitely not in interests of any one of us.”
All agreed with a visible relief.
The Congress president then asked clever Mr.Kapil Sibal whether he has any suggestions. He got up and spoke with his urbane demeanor and deflected the question ” It is economy, economy and economy. Nothing succeeds like a vibrant economy. I request our highly experienced Honorable Prime Minister in all his wisdom to suggest some far reaching measures at least now.” The Prime Minister mumbled something which most of them could not hear and didn’t care to.
A minister sitting close to him said “The Prime Minister said that he does not have a magic wand to cure economic ills of the country.”
An MP from who was previously a lottery agent shouted from the back bench “ I have the magic wand. It is ushering in Casino culture.” He was asked to elaborate. The MP explained “You see, like you and me, the common man wants to make money by whichever shorter but legal way. That is where casinos have a role to play. Every state capital shall have a Casino suburb and every taluk shall have a major casino. All the villages shall have slot machines to be located near ATMs.”
Someone said “ I cannot understand how this can help except in promoting gambling.”
The MP explained further “Gambling is not a dirty word at all. We all gamble in elections. We lost in UP, but we will win elsewhere. Think of the excitement we have when we face election. Playing slot machines is akin to that. Our Food Security Bill provides almost free food for every body. Hence any aam admi with full stomach is bored unless there is exciting thing to do. With a slot machine nearby, we can motivate him to work harder and earn more so that he can multiply it on a slot machine. We will allow 100% foreign direct investment in Casinos. Think of the huge investments that will pour in for building Casinos, hotels, air strips, roads throughout the country. Tourism will explode. Unheard of job opportunities will be created. Alcoholism will come down as people will be working for earning money or at the slot machines. We can also have slot machines near each temple and foster ‘Pray and Play’ culture. Even Gandhians should support this far reaching move. Forty more years for Rahulji at the helm will be assured.
There was a burst of applause and the proposal was carried with almost no dissent. The Prime Minister smiled.
It was agreed that Sri Pranab Da be requested to make his Presidential visit to Las Vegas to foster business relationships with Casino owners and to use his persuasive skills to make them invest in India.