Thursday, August 07, 2008

Manmohan Singh - Breaking Free?



“They (the Left Parties) wanted me to behave as their bonded slave.”
- From PM's reply to the debate on the Motion of Confidence in the Lok Sabha, July 22, 2008.

The Prime Minister, fed up with constant badgering by the Left Parties on various policy issues almost from the beginning, must have heaved a sigh of relief when the fundamental differences in perceptions on the Nuclear Deal between the UPA constituents within the Government and the Left Parties became unmanageable and led to a parting of ways.


Breaking Free, really?


The separation has left the Government free to proceed with the Nuclear Deal on its own terms and in its wisdom. In theory, the Government is also now free to pursue some of the changes in economic policy which it sees as ‘essential reforms’. Whether the Government will be able to successfully bring such changes to their logical conclusion in the face of a hostile Left remains to be seen. But at least, it would now be able to bring them on the table for a wider debate, instead of being confined to the meetings of the UPA - Left Co-ordination Committee only to be summarily scuttled and vetoed.

Such perceived gains, however, have come at a heavy cost, as the Prime Minister must have already begun to realize. The huge compromises which the Congress in particular was required to make in order to win the Trust Vote in Lok Sabha have left the Party and the Government badly discredited.

As the time for rewarding all those who supported the Government comes closer, the Prime Minister and his Party will find themselves at the losing end. First of all, the Party has to show its gratitude to the main constituents like NCP, DMK and RJD by suitable gratuities in terms of positions of power or other ways of accommodation. Then, the rewards already assured to JMM have to be ensured. Some of these will inevitably mean that less will be left for the Congress Party members.

Come into my parlour....



The real problems of the Party and the Prime Minister may arise when rewarding their true saviors, the Samajwadi Party. Effectively, the SP is simply going to step into the shoes of the Left Parties. The main difference would be that whereas the Left Parties were largely concerned with policy issues, the new ally is not shy of pushing its own agenda in other matters. The SP comes with all the baggage of its past and even the man on the street knows the kind of requests they have already made and the favors they are seeking for themselves and their friends. At every step of the way, for as long as the Government lasts, the hands and fingers of this new ally will be seen guiding and goading the Government. Whether through a co-ordination committee which is now being talked about or through direct pressures, the new ally will take every opportunity to throw its weight around to gain what it wants, whatever the means the Govt. may have to adopt to grant their wishes. It only remains on the good sense of the SP how far it chooses to push the Government.

On the hand, the Prime Minister has to contend with parties like PDP and DMK who are out to play with the sensitivities of the people regardless of consequences. On the other hand are parties like RJD and SP who are openly supportive of entities which are generally regarded as anti-national. The Prime Minister may find himself increasingly caught in the vortex of such disturbing currents, not knowing how to swim against such currents.

In the reply to the debate on the Trust Vote on 22nd July 2008, the Prime Minister had said:

“When I look at the composition of the opportunistic group opposed to us, it is clear to me that the clash today is between two alternative visions of India’s future.”

Although the entire country has realized it by now, some day soon it will dawn upon Manmohan Singh too that actually it is he who, willy-nilly, is a part of the opportunistic group and his words will come to haunt him. After all, the truly opportunistic group is not one in the opposition, but one that manages to retain power by fair means or foul and whatever be the credentials of the parties forming the amalgam that is born out of compulsions to cling on to power.


The lofty talk of "visions of India's future" sounds rather incongruous at this point, to say the least, considering the events of the recent past.

7 Comments:

At August 08, 2008, Blogger Vinod_Sharma said...

Everyone out there is a part of a opportunistic alliance. That is the curse of the system of democracy that we have chosen. The difference is that while most are in this business for 'opportunites' alone, Manmohan Singh and few others thankfully still have their vision intact.

 
At August 08, 2008, Blogger Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

The Government was like a left-hand drive car with the brakes placed on the left side and the steering wheel and accelerator on the right. So the left put their brakes on for every move to accelerate. Now the left part is not there - so no brakes will be applied. See the nuclear juggernaut going at breakneck speed! Let us hope that in its enthusiasm to accelerate, the Govt without Left does not forget to steer the country in the right direction.... Until we have a new vehicle in place that is!

 
At August 08, 2008, Anonymous Jay Pradhan said...

I agree with the first part but have serious doubts about the latter part of reader vinod's comment.

If Manmnohan Singh himself or through his partymen allowed the daylight murder of parliamentary system by indulging in horse trading, he may claim to have vision but of a different kind, to survive at all costs.

 
At August 08, 2008, Anonymous Jamshed Dastoor said...

hehe gopinath's comments are very apt.

Dont forget that the driver is only making hand motions, the actual driving is done by Sonia on one side and Amar Singh on other.

 
At August 08, 2008, Blogger Biraj said...

I agree with your statement. But don't you think Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is the decission maker for every steps taken by Government

 
At August 08, 2008, Anonymous kalyanraman said...

sonia is certainly responsible so when one mentions the govt. or PM, it is understood that it is synonymous with sonia.

 
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