Any high that may have been attained on the international front by the United Nations including the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar in its blacklist, would be negated by more than a couple of domestic setbacks to principled governance that impact the Indian people more.

For all the trumpet-blowing about succeeding in bringing China on board on the condemnation of the Pak-based jihadi terror outfit, the people will have to wait for a visible fall in militancy in the Kashmir Valley before joining the applause ~ the “experience” with the LET punctures the euphoria in the diplomatic-political community.

Blacklisting is often of only token significance. There is nothing “token” though about the Election Commission of India giving a clean chit to the Prime Minister for his controversial speeches in Wardha and Latur, that to many lay-minds transgressed the laxman rekha about appealing for votes on religious lines, or exploiting military action for political gain.

Few expected the self-confessed powerless EC to admonish Mr Narenda Modi ~ none thought it would surrender so shamelessly after dragging its feet. Nirvachan Sadan’s action against lesser lights only illuminates its responsibility for allowing the electoral discourse to plummet to unmentionable lows.

The present commission has undone the sterling services of its predecessors ~ to mention names would be to insult the legacy of Sen Verma, Peri Sastri, Seshan, Lyngdoh… The contention of its present-day advocates that the recourse to judicial remedy is always open reeks of moral cowardice ~ and moral fortitude has ever been the EC’s muscle.

The apex court is also steeped in low drama. Their Lordships now find themselves having to script their own lexicon that differentiates between an “expression of regret” and an “apology” ~ an over-smart counsel encourages his green client to invite trouble for himself. Worse, he uses the electronic media to further his case on matters still sub judice.

Media trials have become the order of the day: they are so much more “spicy” than what obtains in court ~ the audience is infinitely larger. Even within the Supreme Court does unseemly controversy reign, the mishandling of a personal complaint against the CJI leaves the people wondering if the court is permitted to lay down its own standards, but cite precedent and earlier verdicts to everybody else.

That only amplifies the national tragedy that citizens are devoid of a probe agency with impeccable credentials. To move from the quasi-judicial to the administrative arena, the May Day/Mahashatra Day strike by Left-Wing Extremists in Gadchiroli that claimed some 15 lives exposes the fragility of the NDA’s purely “muscular policy”.

The supposedly “crack” squad fell into the old trap by rushing unprepared to a trouble spot, sleepwalking into a devastating ambush. Screams promising revenge serve to expose amateur leadership. Time was when ministers had the shame to resign after such blatant blunders ~ Rajnath Singh has set a new record in driving North Block “south”.