Missing Tall Leaders

While Indians are in the midst of electing those who will lead the country for the next five years, The Week has struck a different note by looking back at two departed leaders. In its March 31 issue, readers have been treated to the ‘untold story’ of the last weeks of Jayalalitha’s life pieced together by accessing confidential papers.The cover story ‘Empress of Maladies’ asking ‘How Did Jaya Die?’ chronicles the health issues of the AIADMK chief who died in harness in her sixth stint as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister. The routine she followed, her diet, treatment and the conversations she had in her last days — the exclusive story transports readers to ‘Amma’s bedside in Apollo hospital.

In the same issue, an article ‘Precarious Perch’ shows the BJP at a loose end in Goa after the demise of Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar who fought a courageous bout with cancer. Following a creditable stint at the Centre looking after the country’s defence, Parrikar had returned to his home State to take over as the BJP’s face once more. A much-admired leader who never mixed his politics with RSS ideology, Parrikar’s exit has left the BJP-led State government nervously awaiting the Lok Sabha election results. It is widely known that most of the BJP’s coalition partners were supporting Parrikar and not his party. Speculation is rife that the BJP will hold its fortress in Goa only if it manages to retain the Centre, else its rule in the coastal State may collapse within a month.

So is India missing leaders of the stature of Jayalalithaa and Parrikar? The nostalgia might get acute if the next generation of leaders at the Centre and the States do not step up to fill the huge gaps they have left behind.

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