New Delhi, Sept. 1: Most Congress leaders feel the government should concentrate on delivering good governance instead of bothering about disruptions in Parliament and defensively responding to charges of corruption.
While party leaders at various levels and younger MPs have been articulating this position, this sentiment was reflected at a meeting this evening of AICC general secretaries to discuss the controversy over allocation of 57 coal blocks without competitive bidding.
The general secretaries felt the government should proceed with sincerity to finish pending work instead of wasting time on tactics to break the parliamentary standoff over the allocations.
Although government sources said there was a ray of hope that Parliament could resume next week, from Monday or the day after, Congress leaders wanted important bills to be passed and immediate shift of focus to economic reforms, price control and implementation of welfare policies.
“The negativity is more because of the inability to govern,” a Lok Sabha MP said, summing up the mood among the younger leaders in the party.
“Corruption charges will be there against any government, though the crisis is deeper at present. But we must show that we are a functional government, which is capable of delivering on promises. The majority of people are concerned about jobs, prices of essential commodities and welfare schemes. Failure on these fronts has accentuated the crisis.”
These leaders feel that the BJP had made the most unreasonable demand by asking for the Prime Minister’s resignation and the government had shown reasonableness by offering a thorough discussion although the normal practice is that CAG reports go to the public accounts committee.
In a report last month, the auditor had put the presumptive revenue loss from the allocations at 1.86 lakh crore.
These leaders pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already made a statement in the Lok Sabha and that UPA chief Sonia Gandhi had requested the leader of the Opposition to come to the House.
Yesterday, while returning from his foreign visit, Singh had said: “I sincerely hope that there are well-meaning people in all political parties and that they would all have the good sense to recognise that what is happening in our Parliament is not something which is doing credit to anyone. Beyond that, at this stage, I am not going to do anything. I hope the Opposition will see sense.”
The Prime Minister, who was in Iran for a NAM summit, also criticised the BJP. “We are a parliamentary democracy. We have been elected by the people of India for a five-year term. I sincerely hope that the BJP will respect the verdict of the people and let the government function,” he said.
“In a parliamentary system, the majority has a right to rule. If the BJP feels that the majority cannot be trusted to govern the affairs of this country and they would like to run it their way, that is a total negation of what democratic politics is about.”
He added: “I sincerely hope, and even now it is not too late, that the BJP recognises that there is too much at stake. We all have an obligation, in Opposition as well as (in) government, both should work together to take this parliamentary democracy, of which we are genuinely proud of, in tackling the problems of our country.”