To be fair, Mrs Gandhi was scrupulously neutral in her letter, supporting neither the management nor the union, asking merely for a return to the negotiating table. But she should not even have written that letter. The company's history has been marked by politicos who know neither the rudiments of the automobile business nor the head-end of a balance-sheet from the tail-end.This is not only because the government is a shareholder in mul. How many politicians bother about labour issues in say, itdc or ntpc, which are wholly owned by the government? No, our leaders are interested in mul because one, it is a high-profile company with its products on display every minute on every Indian road; two, because the government has an equal partnership with a foreign company in mul, so nationalistic hot air can be released at the drop of a hat; and three, the mul union is not affiliated to any political party, so there's an opportunity here to clamber into the luggage space and then slowly work your way towards the driver's seat.
(Thankfully, the Japanese partner of mul, having learnt from experience, has been so pin-droppingly silent through this entire labour problem that no one's found an excuse to bring up the nationalistic angle. Small mercies.)