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Updated: September 21, 2012 03:26 IST

An opportunity, not a crisis

Harish Khare
Comment (65)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Congress should seize on Mamata Banerjee’s exit to summon the courage to reiterate coalition rules for a working order at the Centre

The Congress leadership should be grateful to Mamata Banerjee for so starkly reminding one and all that this huge country cannot be governed with tentativeness and timidity. Both the Prime Minister and the Congress president should be thankful to the West Bengal Chief Minister for giving them yet another opportunity to demonstrate to the nation that they have the requisite clear-headed understanding of what it would take to work our way out of the current economic woes. Ms Banerjee indeed has done a favour to the Congress leadership by challenging it to behave like a ruling party at the Centre.

Ms Banerjee’s timing is perfect. For the first time, the demands of sensible governance and the political compulsions of winning the next Lok Sabha elections have converged. The voluble middle classes and the vast lower-middle classes need to be reassured that our leaders are capable of producing the basic minimum governing equilibrium. The country is desperately in need of an assurance that at least there are a few leaders who, when pushed to the wall, can commandeer a muscular approach to governance. Electoral rewards will accrue to those who show sincerity and stamina in pulling us back from the brink of economic catastrophe and political chaos.

Show guts

Notwithstanding the seemingly destabilising consequences of Ms Banerjee’s tantrums, the Congress leadership has no option but to display guts and determination to seize the occasion. It has an opportunity to redefine the coalition dharma in a federal polity. If governance in this continental country is to be carried out with a modicum of purposefulness, it is incumbent upon political parties in a coalition to agree to a protocol of mutual restraint. Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has been elected to govern in West Bengal; it has no — and cannot be given — veto over economic, political and foreign policy decisions at the Centre.

Ms Banerjee’s pre-emptory claim to a veto is the basic issue, not the merit or demerit of this or that administrative decision or policy. The polity needs clarity on a coalition precept: whether a political party with just 19 Lok Sabha members should be allowed to ride roughshod over another party with more than 200 members. If Ms Banerjee’s maximalist approach is conceded, the Congress will be guilty of sabotaging its century-old claims to be the natural party of governance. And, if the Congress leadership chooses to cave in to Ms Banerjee’s tantrums, it can rest assured that it will be severely punished by the voters. Nor, for that matter, can the Congress jump from Ms Banerjee’s frying pan into Ms Mayawati’s fire, just in the hope of living another day to lose another battle. As and when the Congress managers cobble together a new working majority, they will do well to insist on certain plain talking about coalition dharma.

Indeed, it is possible to argue that the current and potential allies or supporting parties will themselves welcome firm and clear reiteration of the rules of the game. After all, it was the Congress eagerness to propitiate the lady all these months that emboldened the hotheads in the Trinamool crowd.

In this moment of “crisis,” it should be sobering to remember that during the last Lok Sabha election the Congress had crossed the magic figure of 200 seats, a feat that had eluded any political party since 1991. Yet the historic advantage was squandered away in internal confusion and distractions, producing a massive disjointedness in the government’s functioning and policies, which in turn invited trouble and challenge from different quarters and institutions. Those in the judiciary and other constitutional institutions smelled the spilt blood within the UPA and felt doubly empowered to muddy the political waters. The result was the so-called policy paralysis. The country’s best interests demanded that decision-making break out of this paralysis; and, it was natural that any attempt to break out would be resisted by vested interests and political rivals and would produce some kind of convulsion.

Not unexpected

The Mamata convulsion is not unexpected. As it is, the departure of Pranab Mukherjee from the core of the decision-making was already having its impact. Before the presidential poll, the UPA leadership gave all indications of being a tired team, caught in its own inter-personal insecurities and prejudices, mesmerised by its own inertia, and hopelessly reconciled to a sub-optimal performance. Post the presidential election, a reconfigured balance in the decision-making process is clearly discernible. The Congress president’s own activism has helped produce a definite clear-headedness.

This clear-headedness should be carried forward in a purposeful manner, and reflected in the forthcoming Cabinet reshuffle and AICC reorganisation. There can be no difference of attitudes and approach between the government and the Congress party. Both sink or swim together. For too long, a false impression has been allowed to be created that there are two sets of calculus, one preferred at Race Course Road and another at Akbar Road. It is time for one and all to realise that there is no miracle voice or face that would replenish the Congress’s political and electoral fortunes; salvation lies in collective team work, not in selective loyalties.

By default, the onus still remains on the Congress to produce a working order at the Centre — for the simple reason that the principal Opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has failed to market itself as a sober and serious candidate to whom this country’s fate can be entrusted. Its boorish behaviour in Parliament has not enthused the middle classes, which have an abiding interest in firm and fair governance.

On its part, if the Congress hopes to win back the affection and respect of the middle classes and other critical constituencies at home and abroad, it must undertake a major political re-sculpting. Prime Ministerial authority needs to be seen to have been restored. Those Ministers — the likes of Sriprakash Jaiswal and Beni Prasad Verma — who have been openly derisive of Dr. Manmohan Singh should be shown the door. The message should go out that no Minister can belittle the Prime Minister in the name of Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. If the Congress’s Cabinet colleagues themselves cannot show sufficient respect to the office of the Prime Minister, it would be unreasonable to expect allies or the Opposition to be deferential to the prime ministerial office.

As a necessary corollary, the ministerial licence needs to be revoked. It is clear that the policy of ministerial latitude and total absence of prime ministerial oversight have combined to produce deleterious consequences, including unacceptable ethical aberrations. Allies have been allowed to run their ministries as autonomous kingdoms. This arrangement was bound to generate a dysfunctional order, which has culminated in Mamatagate.

If the Congress leadership can produce an internal coherence, it will be easy for it and its government to defang the Mamata Banerjee-induced challenge. The country needs to know that while there will always be imperfections and impurities in the economic growth process, the Congress government, headed by Manmohan Singh, alone has the clarity of its moral integrity and social purpose to cure the system of the Jayaswals, the Kodas, the Mallyas and the Balwas. The country needs to be told that crooks will go to jail, be they indicted in the 2G business or coal blocks allocations. Prudent economic decisions, wise political impulses and ethical sensitivities, mixed judiciously, can help defeat the populist demagogue. The Indian state’s best interests have never been served by appeasement at home or abroad.

(Harish Khare is a veteran commentator and political analyst.)

More In: Lead | Opinion

There is a general impression that to make up the required magic number to form the Government is inviting the small parties to join the Government who would be given the agreed portfolios and such other perks. This type of government formation has its risks. The smaller parties can blackmail everytime when i issue comes before parliament giving threat of withdrawal of support . In such predicament the government has to bend and shelvee the proposal. This way the government at the centre becomes dysfuctional. This is just what the Trinamool congress has done. There was threat from Mamata banerjee on every issue and some how Government compromised and pulled on. This type of threat has a sense of destablising atmosphere and the Prime minister has to keep quiet.

from:  E.Sivasankaran
Posted on: Sep 21, 2012 at 16:15 IST

After reading an article I got notion, that article tends to have a inclination towards Akbar Road and PMO office. Despite of the fact that there is corruption in current government & corruption level has reached to all time high. Article has mentioned the whites of congress and PMO office. It doesn't brought shades of grey in light.
In name of hard and progressive economic policies, govt. is trying to cover their black faces. Time will come when media and common people have to decide, not these political parties who are just taking advantage of current situation.

from:  Parixit
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 17:29 IST

An excellent analysis in the traditions of The Hindu. Congrss must kepp up its pace of reforms even if belated.Please keep repeating this sound advice .I am sure theParty in power knows how weighty is any thing published in the Hindu

from:  B.Raghavan
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 17:20 IST

Do not agree with Mr.Harish Khare because no miracle will take place by Government or opposition.These acts have been performed many times in the past by all parties against each other.Public has come to know the real colors of our political parties.No one is serious about welfare but winning election.To day they will join hands as partners and tomorrow they are bitter enemies criticizing each other.Congress has tried every party except BJP since Independence same is the case with BJP with BSP,SP and other parties.
There is no time for AAM AADMI their target is get vote during election and remain in power by having majority at any cost like 2G,Colgate or corruption.

from:  Ravindra Raizada
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 17:03 IST

By the grace of ms. banerjee it is high time that government take a bold stand and go ahead with the reforms which is infact the need of the hour. As a lay man the hike in prices is a toll on us but to revive our economy some steps are inevitable . This is perhaps a good chance for the existing government to show their substance .

from:  pragya
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 17:02 IST

I am not a typical 'Editorial First' reader. But, after reading the
"An opportunity, not a crisis", I felt it would have been a loss had I not read it.
My sincere appreciation and applause for your wonderful writing,
excellent assessment and a mature journalist's work. What our country needs today is political maturity and commitment to govern, exactly as you have stated: "The country is desperately in need of an assurance that at least there are a few leaders who, when pushed to the wall, can commandeer a muscular approach to governance."
Thank you for your good work.

from:  James Pullatt
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 16:42 IST

The British liberal, John Locke, wrote in 1695 that for “day-
labourers and tradesmen, the spinsters and dairy-maids ... hearing
plain commands, is the sure and only course to bring them to
obedience and practice. It is time India and Indians thought about
this 'Democracy' an euphemism for Mobocracy!!!

from:  Rajan
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 15:25 IST

Misguided,misinformed and lacking in self confidence Indians have a stark choice, either bite the bullet of FDI and multy brand retailing or wallow for the rest of the millenium in grinding poverty,utter impoverishment and ignorance exactly ther way the socialist/communist domogogue leaders want, whilst the World moves on.The most sucessive nations on this Earth are the ones that are open to business and outward looking.Investment is the essence of development and innovation to generate jobs and prosperity.

from:  DILIP
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 15:20 IST

Kudos to Harish Khare for a bold and excellent piece on the withdrawl of
support by TMC.Infact Mamatha is pain in the neck for UPA.The earlier
the treatment the better for UPA as well to the country.Economic reforms
are the need of the hour in the existing scenario of the country.Why our
politicians never learn lessons from China which invited global market?
It is not the question of supporting UPA but supporting the reforms for
the economic growth of the country.It is a bitter pill but acts nicely
for the disease.

from:  JP Reddy
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 15:01 IST

Congress party does not have a clear mandate from the public. So,
resign, contest the elections again and try to get a clear majority.
Until then, don't exhibit your arrogance.

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 14:54 IST

Mr. Harish,

Do you think the MPs from West Bengal are elected to govern Bengal and do not have a say in the economic policies of this country?
Wonder why "The Hindu" thinks it as a worthy piece.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 14:50 IST

The author's advise about "summon the courage to reiterate coalition rules" should have been given to the PM who was watching the 2G scam and admitted about Coalition Dharma.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 14:47 IST

I don't understand why people rate every move by the goverment with respect to vote politics and elections? My dear brothers the reforms are to strngthen the country's economy and not to guarantee a win in the elections. The article just states that the oppurtunity is there for UPA to introduce their various reforms without any obstacle presented by its so called Allies. Why to relate the steps again with elections. I totaly agree with R. Sundaram and this is the time for UPA to forget the elections and do what is in best interests of the country.

from:  Piyush Gurung
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 14:31 IST

I'll ignore Khare's bias which stands out like a sore thumb.

from:  Prashanth Kamath
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 14:30 IST

Author Harish Khare deserves to be complemented for bringing out lucidly that Congress has nothing to lose and only gains from the din emanating out of Mamta. It requires all but tact and deftness in handling the issues without fear and favour.Exposing the names behind the scams and the punishment thereon would improve the image of the party in the ensuing electoral battle in the not too distant future.

from:  S Raghavan
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 14:13 IST

Highly commendabale. I hope leaders of all political parties must be reading this.Thanks for such a good analysis.

from:  Madhusudan Namjoshi
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 13:33 IST

I agree with Mr. Khare. Congress party should go ahead with pragmatic wisdom.....let it tell us all as to how the indian insurance industry coould withstand the fdi ,to the extent that it helped the premier domestic player LIC evolve itself by grabbing the opportunity to its advantage.......let the govt. tell as to why Gujrat cannot decide if J&K OR Rajasthan need fdi in retail...Congress should face the situation with decisive and firm resolve.....it is bound to get the support of the discerning indians....and remember it would not have the luxury of getting umpteens of such opportunities.

from:  B.S.Rawat
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 13:22 IST

This is the opprutinity to congress leader ship to show their capability to run the government and provide an healthy environment to the people of India. some basic issue required to tackle if Congress want to come back. 1) Curb terrorism 2) Strict action should be taken against the corrupt people 3)Improve distibution of all the comidity to the people.4) Make policies people friendly not beurocrat friendly 5)Subsidy shold be continued on some items to the people particularly the poor.6)More tax should be collected from rich compared to other people(But in this budget more benfit in tax slab were given to the richer 7) continue and well manage the policies regarding the poor people.

from:  vinod
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 13:14 IST

Hats of to the writer.Its time for Indians to change the way of thinking
and go global.Parties like TMC, NDA and Left have brain washed the
common people by not educating them about the growth.They just want illiterate voters to vote for them.If they educate them they will cast
there vote sensibly.The move against FDI and diesel price hike is far
beyond the thinking of common man.People like Mamta never want the
common man to understand the economics.

from:  Garima Tripathi
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 13:07 IST

Dear Sir,

Humble request to publish this even it is a contradicting one.

The steps to raise the Diesel and limiting cylinder options - is definitely a welcoming move in a long term.

As long as you live in the subsidized regime, your economy indicator is not the real one where the government is taking the responsibility of bleeding. You take the situation of Greece, Spain where the government cannot take the burden anymore and the common man cannot absorb all the direct real cost on one fine morning. Public unrest will start and total system will collapse.

Instead, let us take the responsibility of this subsidy in the natural way like what Manmohan regime is doing. Yes, it is a pain today. But definitely we can come out of this price rise and problems slowly rather than dying one fine morning with all the fiscal deficit going out of control.

from:  Vinoo
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 13:06 IST

I disagree... It was an extremely foolish and criminal behaviour to have pushed FDI in a arrogant and brazed manner when it was already known that this idea was junked by the collective wisdom of the parliament very recently. The sole intention of the ruling party for pushing this idea at this point of time seems to be to divert the attention of the media and nation from Coalgate corruption and shield its own people from investigation and prosecution.

from:  Anurag Gupta
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 13:04 IST

I also feel the same as author, doing nothing is giving the bad impression to government than their acts of governance.Also on FDI also it is up to the state government to decide on allowing them to respective terrains of governance.Also, on diesel price hike state governments can at least forgo their increased VAT component to reduce the burden on consumer.With the above options Mamata Could have provided the necessary respite to the people.But I believe that the hostile attitude may be due yo her own political calculations rather than any concerns for the people.So at least she should be tamed sometime and i welcome that the time is right to show her way and place.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:52 IST

ai last goverment has done something strong to lift the economic situation by intrudcing this policies like FDI on retail, Mamata is unfortunate to this country and opposition parties specialy BJP playing double Game,BJP only playing vote bank politics all parites want only power, country future at stake.

from:  sagi
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:49 IST

Kudos to Harish Khare. He has spoken the word in minds of many of us in a articulate manner.

'Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has been elected to govern in West Bengal; it has no — and cannot be given — veto over economic, political and foreign policy decisions at the Centre.'

I wonder when will people realize this!

from:  Vamsi
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:41 IST

Harish Khare's article takes us back to the time of veteran journalist G.K.Reddy's posts in 'The Hindu' in the 80's. Journalism in its simple and pure form, bereft of 'sound and fury'. Clear-headed and purposeful article. It has been long since this generation has seen such an article that has 'frozen' the current moment of the state of the nation in a dozen paragraphs. This article re-inforces our hope in the 'fourth estate' for nation building.

from:  Paul Stansilas
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:35 IST

It is funny that coalition partners are blamed for Congress Party's
lack of support in parliament and the UPA's inability to perform
efficiently. If people had not given Congress Party an absolute
majority it means there is something wrong with Congress and not with
state parties who have been voted to power by the people. India will
never become prosperous and strong as long as we love one particular
party and hate the other. This is purely based on the silly policy of
individuals for whom those are good who he loves and others are bad
who he hates. What an immature attitude?

from:  mvrangaraajan
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:30 IST

The author seems to be an ally of the UPA. Not worth reading. Enough of
UPA. None in my family or friends will ever vote for UPA. Enough.

from:  suresh nair
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:23 IST

It is unfortunate that we couldn't bring a system where there are two
parties at national level. Now with this coalition politics, it is
difficult to take any decision which pleases everyone. Also it is
providing more scope for scams as there is no authority at the top...
There are mixed reactions for the FDI decision, but there is need to
take a path and hope congress sticks to it.

from:  HEMACHANDRA
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:07 IST

Thanks to R. Sundaram for reminding us about who is Harish Khare. He is a former media advisor for the PM in UPA I. Is there any wonder why Mr. Khare is supporting him and his FDI proposal, no matter how much damage is this going to cause to poor people of India.
One thing that makes one wonder is how deep the international cos. and MNCs have impacted all our leaders and policy makers- is the glow of money so much that they all are blinded to the situation that these policies are going to result into.
One hopes at least some of these so called "representatives of the people" rise above their self interest and serve for their motherland.
All the best, my beloved country!
Jai Hind.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 12:05 IST

Extremely succinctly put however very much at divergence from N Ram's views on the same expressed on the telly recently.Having said that i do agree with everything you have said.

from:  emmanuel
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 11:38 IST


For your kind information this govt does nothing but confidently act like a agent of business class.It always cry abt fuel company loses i.e. presumtive loss on profit and denied the presumtive loss of 2G and coal scam.

from:  ANKUR KULSHRESTHA
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 11:16 IST

This is in line with Harish Khare's thinking! not necessarily true!

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 11:16 IST


Congress is just using PM's image. Earlier PM understands this better for his image and country. Two years down the line you will find every congressman criticizing current PM for sake of winning elections.. God bless India

from:  yogesh
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 11:03 IST

Sir i appreciate your views,but i simply cannot understand why are you showing so much sympathy to a government who behaves completely
dejected and unable to take any decision from its inception in spite of having the MAGICAL figure of 200.Everyone in this country knows very well whether he supports congress or not that the decisions are given from Racecourse road or Akbar road. If a government can not take strict decision having this magical no of seats in houses,what can more be expected from them.it is true that opposition is not very promising but definitely it will take ages to forget this scandalous government involves in 2G scam,Commonwealth scam,Coal scam.......list is countless.honourable Prime Minister behavior shows as he has been forced to take this responsibility.So called future PM Rahul Ghandi alienates himself from every important issue except elections.

from:  Abhishek Thakur
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 10:51 IST

Why did the author profile not mention that Harish Khare is a
former Media Advisor of the Indian Prime Minister's who remained in
Prime Minister's Office from June 2009 to January 2012? Doesn't the
alignment of interest of the author with the current government
pre-empts a fair and unbiased analysis of this important event? Is
it worthy of a space in the prestigious 'Lead Opinion'of 'The
Hindu'?

from:  Rajkamal
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 10:48 IST

"Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has been elected to govern in
West Bengal; it has no — and cannot be given — veto over economic,
political and foreign policy decisions at the Centre."

Isn't this plain naivety from a a veteran commentator and political
analyst? Doesn't this sentence exclude and discount completely
TMC's stake as a coalition partner?

from:  Rajkamal Goswami
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 10:40 IST

I couldn't agree more. It is the moment for the PM and Congress President to show the country that they have courage and conviction in their policy actions to take the hard decisions and call the bluff of the short-sighted state leaders who lack the vision and understanding to dictate the fate of the whole country.

from:  Joyjit Dutta
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 10:37 IST

Article writer certainly lives in the top floor of very high rise building, unable to see the ground in reality.

from:  susamanja
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 10:06 IST

I quite see what the author wants to convey. "Now or Never" for the
PM. After all Harish Khare should know MMS better than anyone else
as he was media adviser to the PM in UPA I. It appears to me that the
bravado displayed by MMS is derived from the support he receives from
Chidambaram's zeal for reforms. I am skeptical if MMS can sustain
this change in the face of electoral politics and the need to install
the heir apparent from the Congress. Both the PM and FM , in fact,
need not worry about elections since their prospects, even if they
stand, are zilch. They should go ahead and do what is required in the
true spirit of Bhagavad Gita.

from:  R.Sundaram
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:45 IST

The article is magnificent. His courage to
call a spade a spade is admirable. The frank and clear cut ideas
explained and the creative suggestions expressed are unbiased, sincere
and worth for due consideration. The article is nothing but a gist of
Indian politics in the recent past.To govern a country like India is a
stupendous task. At times unpopular and hard decisions have to be
taken for the welfare of the country. Mere slogan shouting or
conducting hartal or bundh does not solve this country's problems.At
times bitter pills are to be prescribed for certain diseases. Lay men
may not realize the latent advantage the country gets out of these
hard decisions. Unscrupulous politicians make use of these hard
decisions for their advantage exploiting the lay men. This is exactly
what happened in India now. Nobody can keep all happy at all times.

from:  Philip John
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:33 IST

Yes, an opportunity to work against the wish of the majority of people
and with some of them who are brainwashed about the glory days that
Walmart et al will bring and of course an opportunity to loot the nation
hindrance free.

from:  Ramachandra
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:33 IST

I f ully agree with the writer.He has given a very realistic picture
of the scene.Miss mamta was terrorising and hoodwinking the centre
with her miniscule members of parliament.She has been elected to
govern a state and there she presents a very dismal picture.She is not
performing and simply manouvering trying to put the blame on others
and the system.To my knwoledge she has not anything worthwhile
excepting throwing mud at the less priveledged womenfolk.As the writer
has aptly pointed it is a god given oppurtunity to the centre to rise
as phoneix.The nation expects centre to show its mettle by weeding out
the corrupt shackling coalition partners properly and giving able
governance.Cheer up PM the nations kwows that it can expect more from
you.

from:  Ramalingam.V
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:20 IST

Mamtha is right Now. Congress should not take it for ganted, the sipport. Other partners also should be taken consent before taking any major dicissions. About gas, diesel it is really effects thelife of poor people. even about FDI , have to re rhink.
We can`t support congress or Bjp, both are corrupt , what is the option for the people ? Unfortunate .

from:  ATTHIHALLY DEVRAJ
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:04 IST

You are right in stating that this is an opportunity. She has blundered.

from:  Bharat
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:03 IST

The opinion provided by the author to the Government, congress party and to the people of India is timely one and all the stake holders should think over this and behave in future as they are required. Surely it has been seen that some leaders of minor political parties have hijacked the country and instead do not allow the Government to steer its way for the collective interests of nation and it is time for the Prime minister to take strong cognisance of this and should not allow this to happen in future even at the risk of the loss of the Goverment.

from:  Tamsheed Gilani from srinagar
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 09:01 IST

Political negotiation is all about give and take, but when it comes to central leadership(paraliment) they should consider whole of india not only westbengal, tamil nadu and congress ruled state.
We should have central leaders who are beyond state boundary, now we don't find leaders like that hence this is bound to happen when the prime-minister is not strong in taking decision and making his cabinet and ministers work.
Telling about congress pushed to wall happened during 2G, anna movement, coalgate but whole nation thinks PM will act/congress will act but not happening. So we should be optimistic hence lets wait what central ladership does.

from:  Rajesh Kumar N
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 08:48 IST

The opportunity given to UPA is not to demonstrate its understanding of governance
but rather showcase its good arithmetic in gathering numbers to complete its terms
in office and it would not be a hard task for the congress party in particular (history
stands testimony).
The author talks of coalition dharma, the dharma which simply can be defined as
"like different parties with more or less with same ideals form government and every
one taken into confidence for governance and policies". Now the major allies have
come in open against the all time arrogance of the congress party. The columnist has
shown his little or biased understanding of the coalition government when he digs
down to the numerical contribution to the so called arrangement in terms of
numbers (Congress 200 and TMC 19 seats respectively).

from:  Ardhendu Sardar
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 08:47 IST

An article par excellence.I hope all classes of people read this article and the need of the hour is boldness and i am happy that both the PM and the Congress President are showing.Go ahead Mr.ManmohanSingh and do implement all the announcement you have made to improve our country.

from:  kirubakaran
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 07:42 IST

Completely a prejudiced article towards UPA. Article didn't care about the loss incurred because of fragile Governance in 2G and Coal allocations...Yet he is trying to boast of Politicle reforms.Giving an delicious meal after the death wont cut any Ice.Because of UPA's impropriety Regime there was unprecedented Loss to the Public Exchequer.

from:  vijay kanth
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 07:38 IST

The Author seems to live in a very different world. Much as he is
right about the clear absence of veto power for Mamata, he is as much
off the track by relating to the measures that caused the current
crisis as governance. Anyone who has been following the UPA II will
know that these hurried decisions bunched together is a part of a
larger game plan to divert the nation's attention from Coalgate and
they appear to have been worked.
The PM has no authority either on his own or as the holder of this
high office and it will be foolhardy to expect even a censure what to
talk about removing the errant ministers.

from:  Badri
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 07:03 IST

Agree fully-the tail cannot and should not wag the dog!

from:  Sriram
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 07:00 IST

The writer is too optimistic about Congress. I would disagree and there is nothing much to cheer about Congress's so called insightful and independent posture. Why was this independence Absent at the times of reigning in the allies like DMK who committed scams and plunder. At that time Hon'ble PM so humbly professed the 'bounds' of Coalition Dharma and disassociated congress from the scams. This independent, rigid posture of Congress comes into play ONLY ONCE IN A 5 YEAR. Last time it was for Indo-US Nuclear deal. This time for FDI in retail. Both times foreign players are major beneficiaries. Is it just a coincidence ??
Lastly, there is nothing wrong in a party of 19 MPs to exert pressure on PM. Its noteworthy that the count of 19 is that of MPs and not MLAs and so its their prerogative to build pressure. Whether to succumb to it or not is that of the UPA.

from:  Prashant Kaushik
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 06:37 IST

Well written Mr.Editor.
Hope the Congress Party elite are reading this article and takes heed from it. Sooner or hopefully later,when the time comes,the middle class will respond and vote positively for the Congress if they show courage and govern well.

from:  Jack
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 05:59 IST

This is amazingly well written - keep it up Mr Khare. The tragedy of India is that as soon as this sleeping government wakes up and tries to do something good (to save the economy from a crisis) - others are up in arms against it and tries to pull it down. Indian commentators also add to the confusion instead of building consensus in support of desperately needed reform measures, (because most of these commentators are caught in the 1970's time warp and confuse socialist propaganda and myth making with economic analysis).

from:  Sinchan Mitra
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 05:48 IST

Mamata opportunistic politics is hampering independency of UPA government towards economic reforms, in past when diwedi made reforms in railway budget but mamata opposed the budget saying that common man fares should not be increased, madam has to realize how far a common man travel in train daily and how will minor increase will effect him? now mamata is saying govt has to bear a subsidy for 24 cylinders per annum, as a chief minister of a state she may know that per cylinder govt is giving around 300 rupees subsidy. for whom she was fighting? common man? for middle class people? most of the common people don't have gas connection in india, why govt has to bear the subsidy for disel for people comfort,if mamata really care about the people why can't she reduce the state tax on the disel?

from:  KISHORE KUMAR SAKE
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 05:41 IST

The present crisis was thrust upon itself by the very UPA 2, for it
wanted to shield itself from the onslaught of the Opposition on the
Coal scam and divert public attention. In the process, it got itself
deeply mired in the present crisis. There is no other way, except to face the worst situation. But there is one option open to it.
Instaed of standing on prestige, it must roll back on LPG cap, totally withdraw the FDI on Retail trade and reduce the new levy on
diesel. It will bolster the UPA 2.

from:  nathanfv
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 05:05 IST

This highly laudatory piece about Dr.Manmohan Singh and his government by Harish Khare
is not likely to pass muster with politically discerning people of this country.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 03:29 IST

Not a balanced evaluation of the current affairs.
Fundamentally it is the democracy is at work and not indivdula or party.Collision or acrowd can not govern such a vast and improvised country.There need change in the ages old Indian constitution.The PM must be chosen by minimum 50% votes,he then choose contituents of govennance from various parties,that share according to the votes won by individual parties.This seems fundamental but there is no way out.After 60 years of independece we are behinf south korea and singapore and china.What not we have.We natural resources and talented people but our political system is basically faulty.Even Libya had better parmeters of public prosperity.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 02:39 IST

The last line sums up the entire argument. As long as there is a
coalition government in a democratic setup, there will always be
parties catering to populism and appeasement - two factors that have
shown, time and again, the ability to woo voters.

It will be curious to see what leverage the Congress has over TC now
that it did not have last year when it tried to introduce FDI. On the
other hand, if it is simply a case of the Congress picking up its
slack and working towards reforms, it has to be at least acknowledged
for showing the intent - irrespective of what the consequences may be.

from:  Akshay
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 02:39 IST

200 MPs have not got right to run the nation of 545 constituencies. Prove majority first.

from:  rahul
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 01:56 IST

The media and the author go by the preconceived opinion about Mamata. So a timely act by her, didn't go well with them. Everything she does seems like a threat. But a common man can understand her. It's a timely correction that UPA needed. The author has to think from the shoes of the common man. The only people who supported PM's policies seem to be the India Inc.,. I'm sure, every middleclass voter will be grateful to Mamata for what she did. The following lines, show the author's poor understanding of a coalition - "Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has been elected to govern in West Bengal; it has no — and cannot be given — veto over economic, political and foreign policy decisions at the Centre.". I think the author just expects Mamata to verbally "express" her concerns and stay calm, just like the DMK. But such dumbness doesn't make a leader. Mamata will continue to be in the good books of the common man, inspite of the attempts by media to taint her as moody/hot headed.

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 01:38 IST

The better way to run a coalition is to have a common minimum program which all parties agrees.

from:  Anoop
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 01:34 IST

The 'guts' and 'determination' which Mr Khare talks about will
translate to buying support from Mayawati or Mulayam Singh Yadav.

from:  shouvikmukhopadhay
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 01:05 IST

How about corruption, which Congress refuses to deal with? I see nothing objectable in Mamtha's stance, like LPG gas cap, price hike every where, FDI retail. They all indirectly stem from staggering corruption at the center.

from:  Senthil Natarajan
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 00:46 IST

Your analysis is the best I have seen and unfortunately the political demogogues will never
accept this reality.
Keep on prodding and have patience to hammer home your message in an emotional
political atmosphere as against rational one needed at this hour

from:  R.Sundararaman
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012 at 00:28 IST
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