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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
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Messrs Worldly Wise & Wordly Wise

The external affairs minister is the party's chief troubleshooter and a crafty draftsman of statements. The latter is coordinator for Lok Sabha election-related affairs and the Congress president's English speechwriter.

Messrs Worldly Wise & Wordly Wise
Jitender Gupta/ Narendra Bisht
Messrs Worldly Wise & Wordly Wise
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
The structure of the Congress, the country’s oldest, largest party—full of labyrinths of intrigue—is such that it militates against the existence of a key political strategist. For every strategist, therefore, there is a counter-strategist.

So, while Sonia Gandhi’s official political secretary, Ahmed Patel, is indisputably the party’s second-most powerful person, playing a critical role in making key appointments in party and government, it is Union external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee who is called in to tackle any crisis in the government—he heads more than 30 Groups of Ministers on a wide range of issues. Diminutive but packing tremendous energy, it was he who snared the Left into permitting the government to go to the IAEA, and won India and the Congress the Indo-US nuclear deal. The calibrated manner in which he steadily mounted diplomatic pressure on Pakistan, compelling its government to accept the complicity of its citizens in the Mumbai terror attack, had a political spin-off at home—it deprived the BJP in this...

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