What had been projected as a display of the Opposition making common cause in condemning the inept manner in which demonetisation had been conducted, and the NDA’s refusal to probe allegations of corruption against Mr Narendra Modi when chief minister of Gujarat not only fell flat: it backfired. For despite the shrillness of Mamata Banerjee and the contrived fuming of Rahul Gandhi and their demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, the “show” choreographed by Sonia Gandhi did not go any farther than the “floor coordination” the Opposition displayed during the winter session of Parliament. There could be no camouflaging the discomfort of Congress’ loudmouths who insisted that the success of the venture was established by the fact that it was the prime subject of discussion on television ~ an indication of the yardstick that now dominates the political discourse. That Sonia and Rahul had only some single-state regional parties providing a little supporting-fire ~ beyond Bengal the Trinamul counts for next-tonothing ~ was telling; and the listing of those who joined the protest that was limited to a joint press conference was meaningless since the Left, Samajwadi, BSP and Janata Dal (U) all opted out. It was obvious that despite their grave reservations over Modi sarkar they did not relish the prospect of Rahul Gandhi leading an attempt to dislodge it from public favour. Sure there were some barbs and pinpricks on offer, but they “hurt” even less than the punches that had been thrown in Parliament. Was the press conference, like demonetisation itself, a “grand idea” that flopped because it was under-prepared? Did the Congress, like the NDA, display a degree of arrogance in expecting others to fall in line? The Left parties and the Janata Dal (U) were forthright about their not being consulted about the mechanics of the exercise and any game-plan that might emerge: they stayed away because they were not prepared to be puppets while the Congress pulled the strings. Sonia’s move was ill-conceived because it overlooked the “local” differences among the parties it tried to bring together ahead of elections in which they could be competing against each other. The timing was awry, an assault after the expiry of Modi’s self-sought 50- day “grace period” might have proved more lethal. As for the Birla-Sahara “documents”, their value will be judicially determined in a few more days, so the screaming from a soap-box was pointless. In fact there was little point to Sonia’s exercise, it failed to exploit the frustration of the people at the cash-crunch and let Modi & Co off the hook. They laughed all the way to the demonetised bank, smug in the belief that Sonia, Rahul and Mamata had merely re-validated the verdict of May 2014.