Caught in a jam

By Malvika Singh
  • Published 26.10.07

The insults that are being heaped upon one of the most correct and dignified prime ministers of the country are completely unwarranted. The Left, led by Prakash Karat, is a discredited entity that has one political stronghold remaining in the subcontinent, having recently made a complete mess of governance in the southern state of Kerala. The Left is not only abusive and disrespectful of the office of the prime minister, but also responsible for holding India to ransom, with its manipulative, dishonest moves on the national chess-board. The relentless Congress-bashing and negative interventions have augured badly for the Left.

Once Manmohan Singh put his foot down and stood by his conviction as a prime minister is expected to do, all hell broke loose. The first mission was to divide the Congress, followed by parleys with various political groups and factions to try and build a ‘consensus’ that looked wholly opportunist from the onset. Such machinations only reinforced the low level of Indian political discourse and action. Shady and detrimental operations took precedence over sane dialogue, debate and consideration. The scene is messy, incomprehensible and selfish, with no regard whatsoever for the people of this country who continue to be betrayed by partisan and personalized politics.

Had the Congress leadership shown some gumption and dissolved an unworkable coalition — where constituents in the United Progressive Alliance are forever backtracking from commitments made, and where the only agenda of the party giving the government support from the outside is to break the back of whatever remains of the Congress — India would have shown its ability to come up trumps within its democratic framework. It is ‘democratic’ to return to the people if a government is hamstrung, tied in knots, blackmailed and compelled to stop functioning and be governed by another party. It is undemocratic to attempt to keep an untenable reality alive. It shows, beyond doubt, a lack of respect for the millions who form the electorate.

Caught in a jam

The timing of such decisions and actions is crucial. Had it happened after Sonia Gandhi’s speech in Jhajjar, instead of the countering of what she had said, and if the strong views of the prime minister had been used to address the nation and lay the cards squarely on the table, the Congress would have gained ground. Today, in a weakened position, seen to be dithering and confused with the factions within, it has diluted its strength and will lose numbers when the elections are announced. The Congress has bungled on the apt timing for a possible ‘historic’ move that would have included the mandate of the people in this manthan.

Unfortunately, the corrosive beavers are at work, fiddling, digging, manipulating, indulging in half-truths, as they try and cobble together yet another ‘front’. They have no other expertise or track record. We have been witness to such ‘fronts’ in the past that have put India behind by decades by condoning and endorsing personal and political greed. They are temporary, to say the least, and do not represent ‘coalition politics’ in the best sense of the word, because ‘coalition’ refers to a commitment to discourse, to give-and-take, to debate and consensus, not blackmail.

To think that a leader like Karat, along with his comrades, who haven’t governed for decades, would be responsible for destroying a perfectly competent government that has delivered on many economic and social fronts, is ludicrous and shameful. And, that they are getting away with it, is worse.

From a growing strength to a desperate weakness, the Congress is caught in a jam. The other conglomerate is excited as it can see the possibility of ‘power’ and all the trappings that come with it. Good politics betrayed yet again by opportunists.