When a palmist looked into an anynomous hand

Political reporters in India can hope to be only slightly more scientific than punters peering into Original Vel‘s cards at the race course. Nothing—not access to the “corridors of power”, not those schmoozy lunches and dinners, not off-the-record briefs, not poll numbers, nothing—ever turns up anything more reliable than bazaar gossip, regardless of how artfully the “narrative” is spun using the same sources.

The problem is even more acute if the subject of investigation is the Congress party, whose secrecy and opacity rivals that of the Priory of Sion. So, given the scale of the problem and the delectability of the contest, The Economist “newspaper” did the next best thing recently to know how a two-trick pony might fare at the 2014 Derby:

Sitting cross-legged on a white plastic mat at the entrance to a Delhi metro station, rattling a tambourine to lure business, Radha Raman Tripathi boasts of nearly half a century reading palms. Given an enlarged photo of one 42-year-old man’s open hand, he peers at it through his magnifying glass.

He sees much to please the (anonymous) subject: a kind heart, appealing “brain line”, the promise of long life, children and wealth. A dot on the palm, he says reflects a tragedy in the man’s past. And, crucially, power beckons: “he will reach the topmost post”.

So, whose palm print did the Economist produce?

Read the full article: Show your hand