In June 2009, I wrote an article in this newspaper with the headline “RSS:BJP: Family:Congress”. Its main point was that unless the two main parties cut their umbilical cords, they wouldn’t grow.

The BJP has managed to cut it. Or so says its president, JP Nadda. On June 4 we will see how this has played out.

But the Congress hasn’t cut it. Or is saying and acting as if it hasn’t. Again, on 4 June we will see how this has played out.

Here I must tell a story from 2012. The UP assembly election was due soon and Congress hadn’t decided who would be its chief minister.

Three of us from this newspaper were doing the annual rounds meeting ministers. To one of these ministers, who was from UP, I recalled how a leading and hugely influential newspaper had written an editorial in early June 1980 “beseeching” the prime minister to make Sanjay Gandhi the chief minister of UP. Yes. Beseeching.

I told the minister about this editorial and asked if Rahul Gandhi could become the CM of UP. He became apoplectic. He stood up and raised his voice at us. “Aap Rahulji ko demote karna chahte hain?” (You want to demote Rahulji?).

In the event the Congress won just 28 out of the 403 seats in the UP Assembly that year. Then in the general election of 2014 it won 44 and in the general election of 2019 it won 52. That’s less than 100 in two general elections. In subsequent assembly elections in UP it got completely wiped out.

So look at the paradox. A winner jettisons its parent and a loser persists with him.

Finally, let me tell you what the minister’s private secretary whispered to us outside the minister’s room.

“Yeh aapne kya pooch liya, Sir. Mantriji ban na chahte hain UP CM.” (What a question to ask, Sir. Ministerji wants to be UP CM).