Opinion » Lead

Updated: May 30, 2013 00:12 IST

With enemies like these …

Vidya Subrahmaniam
Comment (40)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

For completing nine years in office, a bruised and battered UPA owes much to the BJP that helped save it even while declaring it dead

The United Progressive Alliance has an ugly black eye, its body is riddled with bullets and it is gasping for breath. If these are last-stage symptoms, then the ruling coalition has been in last stage for almost its entire second term.

In television studios as in Bharatiya Janata Party press conferences, every night has been the last night for the Manmohan Singh government. The BJP has mentally dispatched the regime many times over while the daily drill for TV anchors is to avow that the end-game has begun.

Yet the government is not just going, going, not gone, it has completed nine incredible years. The last government to cross this milestone exited in 1977 — 36 years ago. But the Manmohan Singh-Sonia Gandhi partnership may well turn out to be able to better this record. And here is why: though Indira Gandhi’s first term lasted 11 years, from 1966 to 1977, she snatched the last two years via an Emergency that emasculated the Opposition even as it armed her with draconian powers. If and when the UPA completes its second term, it will have done so legitimately without corralling democracy or the Opposition, and indeed with the loud, live wire BJP at the head of an unforgiving Opposition. And the UPA will have done so in an environment made adverse by coalitional politics, TRP-driven cut-throat news, and watch-dog activism by constitutional bodies.

So will Manmohan Singh be the first Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to complete two unambiguously clear terms? Theoretically, the government is beyond rescue. It has erred without respite. Every day has brought a new scam even as earlier horrors such as 2G and Coalgate have morphed into new nightmares for Dr. Singh and his team. Two senior Cabinet Ministers have departed in disgrace with the Prime Minister’s Office barely managing to escape the torrent of accusations. The war between the ruling side and the Comptroller and Auditor-General was still being fought when the government earned a sharp reprimand from the Supreme Court for meddling with the Central Bureau of Investigation in the coal block allocation case. Inevitably, there were murmurs that the cover-up was intended to protect someone important.

The question to ask against this explosive background is a fairly simple one: how does a government with apparently no redeeming feature and a ‘compromised’ Prime Minister get to enjoy one of the longest tenures in India’s electoral history? More significantly, why does the Opposition tolerate such a government being in power? The mystery deepens in the context of the UPA’s minority status. The ruling alliance is perceived to have reached the tipping point post the exit of the Trinamool Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. A gentle nudge from the Opposition, and it would conceivably keel over. Yet what we have seen is all noise and no action.

At their press briefings, BJP spokespersons will bristle at the government clinging on despite scaling ever new heights on corruption. The tone tends to get shriller when Parliament is in session. “Paani sar ke upar chalagaya (the regime’s misdoings are beyond our endurance),” an angry Sushma Swaraj declared on the day Parliament passed the Finance Bill.

What the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha did not disclose was that the BJP had walked out of both houses, allowing Budget 2013 an obstacle-free passage. In effect, Ms Swaraj had pronounced the death verdict on a government that she herself helped save. Expectedly, she was asked why the BJP did not muster support for a no-confidence motion. Her answer was she did not see the point of such a motion. But why? If the government was as unpopular as she claimed, surely there would be a rush of support for a motion aimed at toppling it. At the minimum, a confidence test would show where the non-UPA parties stood with respect to a government judged to be corrupt beyond redemption.

The BJP has ambushed Singh & Co everywhere — in TV studios, at press meets and on the streets — except where it counts: on the floor of the Lok Sabha where the government can in fact be overthrown. In this case, a government broken in spirit and body by internal desertions and virtually hanging by a thread. The BJP’s single-point demand has been that the Prime Minister should resign. But would he up and quit only because the competition was not up to doing its job?

Missed by design

The irony is all the more for the many opportunities the Opposition appears to have missed by design, among them a staggering number of cut motions proposed against the Railway and general budgets. If the government is defeated on a cut motion, it is obliged to resign. On paper, things were sticky for the treasury side because after the loss of its own majority, it existed at the pleasure of its two outside props, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Journalists braced themselves for another round of number-crunching but the occasion never arose. Forget sweating for numbers, the government had it as easy as if it had just been voted to power. Not one cut motion was voted upon, and as the Finance Bill came up for passage, Parliament emptied out with every party in the Opposition suddenly finding some reason to stage a walkout. For Mulayam Singh, with a critical veto vote, the reason was China. It was as if the Opposition had conspired to save the government!

A lazy explanation for this is that a cunning government will have anyway purchased the needed support. The BJP has argued that Opposition initiatives will remain ineffective as long the government is able to deploy the CBI against Mulayam Singh and Mayawati. If this were indeed the case, what could be a better time to expose the government’s skulduggery than when it was in trouble with the apex court on precisely this issue? Consider the impact of the two biggest politicians from Uttar Pradesh lifting the cover on their travails with the CBI coinciding with a national uproar over the agency’s manipulation.

There is undoubtedly more to all this than meets the eye. The truth is that no party wants an election even with everything going wrong with the UPA. Mulayam Singh is aware that his son and U.P. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is in a mess. Mayawati needs to work some more on wresting back her party’s winning caste coalition.

But the most intriguing is the case of the BJP whose fortunes have been held to be on the up and up since Narendra Modi’s stunning, head-turning arrival on the national scene. The Gujarat Chief Minister knows he has a cult following among the middle class and the urban young, and has gone all out to create opportunities for direct engagement with these segments. Yet curiously, the BJP leadership itself has not acknowledged the phenomenon as robustly as one would expect. If anything, party biggies seem in denial about the supposed Modi magic. And this despite the clamour in the rank and file to have him run for Prime Minister and despite awareness that Mr. Modi is probably the BJP’s best bet.

Recently Ms Swaraj outlined a complex three-stage process for deciding who, if anyone, would be named the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee. Nothing underscores the internal discomfort on Mr. Modi as emphatically as this. Veterans like L.K. Advani and Ms Swaraj have worked hard to reach where they have, and it is not easy for them to hand over the party on a platter to Mr. Modi only for him to turn it into a one-man affair. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan sees himself as second to none, and said as much at the BJP’s March 2013 national council meeting with Mr. Modi present and looking embarrassed. Mr. Chouhan said while Gujarat was a developed State, his achievement was greater for lifting a bankrupt State from abject poverty.

Mr. Modi is a double-edged weapon. He will unite the middle class and urban young for the BJP but he will also likely unite all others against the BJP. Nitish Kumar has already raised the red flag but the looming figure of Mr. Modi is a threat to all chief ministers and politicians drawing their support from minorities and the non-shining sections.

Modi effect

Then comes the final question: is Mr. Modi all that he is made out to be? Four recent surveys have spoken of the great Modi effect. But even with Mr. Modi in command, there was no indication in the surveys that the NDA would get a clear majority in 2014. In one, Mr. Modi beat Manmohan Singh for popularity by a single point. Two other polls gave Mr. Modi a big thumbs up but their samples were either entirely urban or illogically skewed in favour of urban Indians. Only one poll went into seat prediction and it gave the NDA 220 Lok Sabha seats with Mr. Modi as leader.

Modi fetching the NDA 220 seats? Forget whether there will be at all an NDA with Mr. Modi. The Congress alone got 206 seats in 2009 — and without fanfare or fuss. The BJP has miles to go. Its corruption plank has been shaken by the loss of Karnataka and the Chhattisgarh killings have knocked the claim of better law and order. No wonder the UPA is going, going, not gone.

More In: Lead | Opinion

More than the State election scenario, coalitions had long since become the rule at the Centre where only congress-led coalition can survive with its no holds-barred approach to issues. The BJP the other coalition leader lacks this resilience and cannot,therefore,make it to power especially when the BJP continues to be untouchable for most of the potential coalition partners.Only the rural voters have the real say in elections.As seen in Karnataka elections they are not enamoured of scams,corruption,price-rise etc., which are only topics for thrashing out in TV Studios and print media and are not election outcome deciders.In the context of such a ground reality,it will not surprise one if UPA stages a come back in 2014.

from:  Dr.Rukmini J.Rao
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 22:16 IST

The conundrum can be summed up as follows: Do we have an alternative to the ruling party right now? No. Do we have an alternative to the opposition? No, again. But both history and common sense would suggest that societies evolve better when the ruling party has behaved more responsibly rather than it being the other way around. I am sorry to disagree with the views of the author, but in this case, the benefit of doubt goes to the BJP.

from:  luhar sen
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 17:42 IST

The BJP though should do well in 2014 in the kind of political situation as obtaining under UPA rule, is a house divided against itself with Advani and Sushma Swaraj nursing their own personal ambition of becoming PM which means Modi will not have an easy cake walk.If the two leaders grudgingly yield ground to Modi it will be on account of cadre pressure.BJP has the uncanny knack of converting opportunity into adversity while it is vice versa for Congress.BJP's influence is confined only to the Hindi heartland.Will it suffice to offset its losses in the rest of the country?Only time will tell.In the so called third front,every leader barring Communists,thinks he or she alone is fit to be PM to the exclusion of others.It will,therefore,be a non-starter.In such a situation UPA a proven past master in manipulative politics is likely to outwit all others despite scams.Its only worry will be whether it will come out as the largest entity to be invited first to form Govt. in 2014.

from:  G.Jagannathan
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 16:10 IST

The role of the Opposition's is as important as the government's in a
democracy.The opposition offered must be constructive and should never
be at the cost of people's welfare.There is no doubt that there were
some serious blunders by the government but this does not give any right
for the Opposition to indulge in blackmail.The BJP's actions smacks of
political opportunism of a grave kind causing more damage than is
already done by the government itself.

from:  Anup
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 21:31 IST

"How does a government with apparently no redeeming feature and a
‘compromised’ Prime Minister get to enjoy one of the longest tenures in
India’s electoral history?" There is a simple answer to that question -
the nation is filled with idiots who vote into power governments like
this. Even though they knew what these guys did the last time.

from:  Prashant Warrier
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 20:49 IST

In 2009, Congress won because BJP did not have a LEADER. BJP still
does not have a leader because of internal conflicts. This is seen in
recent Karnataka election where Congress won because BJP was divided.
There is a saying United we stand, divided we fall. BJP just need to
unite and rest the common man can handle.

Also, they should unite for Modi on forefront. Not Advani or Sushma
Swaraj. If Modi is not brought to forefront then there are high
chances that BJP will loose once again and then it will realize their

from:  Vaibhav
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 20:05 IST

This is rather an extension to the article. I believe, there are three
things for toppling a ruling party. First, the party's performance is
dismal; second, the opposition is able to expose the ruling party's
inaction and the third and most important, the combined opposition
presents a better choice to the voter.

Obviously the contention in the first and the second points are quite
clearly seen. Even constitutional bodies like CAG and also the Apex
Court have spoken against the inaction and corruption cases in the
current term of UPA. But the contention made in the third part has been
a far cry. Opposition is disjointed. The BJP and the hence the NDA are
engaged in infighting over PM post.

If at all the opposition wants to topple the government in 2014
elections, they will have to present a united and able choice for the
voters. Otherwise, no body knows it might be a UPA-3 or even third
front ruling won't be a far cry.

from:  Ajeet Tiwari
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 20:02 IST

It is worth noting that BJP's dream of getting a majority is only on paper and not achievable.We have to choose a lesser evil and that can be only UPA.It is wrong to say that the middle class are with the BJP.The current status of economy in India is a clear proof of the policies put forward by late Rajiv Ghandhi and ManMohan Singh.No one can deny that.I booked for a lambretta scooter and had to wait for 18 months.Coalition rule will be a disaster for India....What about the mess with IPL.Does Manmohan Singh have a role in that?.

from:  kirubakaran
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 18:59 IST

A well written article. It is for everyone to see that the BJP is no different from Congress. It is as corrupt and as authoritarian as the Congress and like the Congress it has done its fair share to impede any progress towards transparency in Government.
Let us hope for better days and that out of this morass some group will come out to cleanse the Aegean Stables.

Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 18:41 IST

A factual article. I can say Congress will come back with more seats. That because it has been warned a whole year earlier and will prepare more rigorously. Also all parties are in bad shape. Non are enthusiastic. They have been so many elections. Mamta, Patnaik, Naidu, Jayalalitha, karnanidhi, Nitish, Lalu all are tired. Also Modi, Chauhan, Raman, Vasundhara etc have fought a lot of elections. The best is behind them. The only new blood are Rahul, Sukhbir, Jagan. Even Udhav Thakerey must be feeling tired. The BJP has no new face. No new blood that wants to be on fire.

from:  C. Nandkishore
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 18:07 IST

I find it rather odd - that you will beat on the opposition rather than demand the resignation of this govt. It does not matter who the opposition is - if a govt is corrupt and has failed a responsible paper has to ask for its resignation and seek a mandate- again it does not matter who comes to power- i hear this incredulous argument from many Indians when asked how do you tolerate a corrupt, morally debunkt government and their answer is a question- who will come to power next?- so what they are saying is that since they do not know who will come to power they will continue to support a failed administration- that is against all ethics. I do not think we belong in the same group of the big Western nations at all - with such corrupt mind set

from:  smrita
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 17:38 IST

Above all this detailed analysis, there is such thing called political morality. This is absent in the ruling party. This is also true of other parties. The author has not said a word, why the Left and DMK, supported UPA.I.

from:  G.Narayanaswamy
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 17:19 IST

The article packed with too many questions. UPA and Man Mohan Singh have successfully completed 9 years of their regime instead of facing a number of hitches and glitches. It’s not because UPA did some magical development but because of below:
• Our respected PM and ministers have never taken moral responsibility of any of the issue i.e. 2G, Coal gate etc.
• SP and BSP always standing by in all crunch situations either it no confidence motion or major scams.

from:  Abhimanyu
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 16:31 IST

I have read many comments here stating that BJP is the weakest opposition. My question to these people and also to the lady who has written this article. who decides which party will be in power and who will sit in the opposition?? I guess its you and me , we the people of india our votes decide this. Instead of blaming BJP of being a weak opposition we should be blamed for chossing a corrupt government again and again,awarding them with powers that they are using for vested interests.Its high time that we stop blaming BJP for our country's plight. Instead we should take some necessary and serious steps to preclude UPA government from power.

from:  Apoorva Singh
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 15:32 IST

Rather than criticizing UPA, you criticize opposition? Opposition has its own plan. Some people calling NDA will lose allies when MOdi will come in power, I think that will be a good thing. As cooalition is the worst thing happened to Indian politics. No coalition should be there. One reader said that UPA maintained the progress? Are you serious? Congress banked on progress/reforms of NDA and achieved growth but that all fizzled out after 2009 because of 5 year congress misrule and now compare the growth. This inclusive politics is just hog wash, why after 60 years of that inclusive politics poor people are still poor? People need to grow up.

from:  harsh V
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 14:20 IST

This article threw light on the ugly truth of the state of politics in
India. A tough and ambiguous choice in choosing between the two devils.
The third alternative by Kejriwal created some euphemism but quickly
became evanescent. If George Bernard Shaw is correct in saying,
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than
we deserve", the decadent state of affairs in our country, with
increasing crime rate in all fields and at all levels does not give any
hope for the corruption free politics in India

from:  Adithya
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 13:41 IST

The reader Mr.suchindranath iyer has summed up our psyche as Winston
churchill spoke on eve of indian independance bill debate in british
parliament.We have proved every word of churchill.

from:  sriram
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 13:39 IST

This article brings out the fact no political party is interested to
remove the inert/corruption/nepotic govt.excepting to serve their own
interests by counting their numbers which all mattered in our banana

from:  ramachandrasekaran
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 13:31 IST

We the citizens of India, get the Government we desereve. The Author is trying her best to pin the blame on BJP while conveniently brushing over the facts of misgovernance and misuse of CBI for political purposes. Everytime a defect in Governance is pointed out, barring a few, the whole media aims its guns on BJP asking them as to why they did not do it in their 6 years of Governance. If only all the lacunaes could be fixed in 6 years, (as against 60 years of Congress led/supported rule)?, Is it not asking for a moon? Apart from this the whole media has used Gujarat Riots as an excuse to corner BJP. It is not enough holding the mirror to BJP, but Media will serve India better if they turn it towards themselves.

from:  Mani Ramamurthy
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 13:07 IST

An article which does not say anything new except the author's
discovery that BJP cannot reach 206 seats. If Congress which is in
complete tatters in Karnataka can come to power only because of
people's anger on the BJP,how does she think that the same thing
cannot happen to BJP at the 2014 hustings? If you can read through her
articles since she started writing in the Hindu, she never had
anything good to say about the BJP, save on criticism about Nitin
Gadkari's weight, in the last six or seven years. If she thinks Maoist
problem is an issue only for Chattisgarh and is a "law and order"
issue so be it.

from:  Mahadevan
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 13:05 IST

India has truly matured to full potential as the socially and financially engineered "Quota-Corruption Raj" that its founding fathers visualized in the Constitution and laws as amended up to date. We have an opposition that is as unfit-for-purpose as the "Government", the politicians, the banks, the stock exchanges, the scientific community, the academic community, the legal community, the medical community, the religious and atheistic communities, the infrastructure, the voting and morally abstinent community, the policies, the sports establishments, the laws, the armed forces, the educational system, the bureaucracy, the acronymous (MLA, MP, IAS, IFS, IPS, SC, ST, BC, OBC, LLB, MBBS) and the non-acronymous communities, minorities, other minorities i.e. majorities and every institution related to any of this. Gold seems to be bucking the trend despite the Government's best efforts just as corruption seems to be bucking the trend despite the Poltician-Bureaucrat Nexus' "best"(?) effort

from:  S. Suchindranath Aiyer
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 12:32 IST

The election results of 1977, 79, 87, 96, 99, 2004, 2009 have demonstrated the maturity of Indian voter. If BJP still thinks that they can win merely because they have made lot of noise in Media and Parliament then they are mistaken. The Sonia & Singh combine might have failed on many fronts, but people believe them and feel their intensions are good and that they are trying to help ordinary people. Whether experts agree or not, MGNREGS and farmers loan waver, minimum support price have made real difference to the lives of poor in villages. BJP has no clue what it is. Dont get surprised if Sonia & Singh combine returns to power in 2014 with thier own majority in view of third rate opposition.

from:  Masa
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 11:58 IST

Factual and sober article without the usual hyperboles. Even a casual follower of Indian politics can see that BJP led NDA has little chance of coming to power unlike what some the TRP hungry channels dish out all the time. BJP cannot get more than four or five seats in the south and east, which account for 225 seats in the parliament. In Maharashtra, Bihar and Punjab, which account for 100 seats BJP plays a second fiddle to its partners and can only get 15 -20 seats as its share. In UP and Chattisgarh, totalling another 100 seats it is in a race for the fourth position with the congress. Rest of the country, where BJP is in contention has only about 120 seats. Of these, Haryana, Uttaranchal and J&K are no cake walk for BJP. Even if BJP gets 90 of the 120 seats where it is strong, its total will not cross 125. With Modi at helm, there is the danger of Nitish, Shiv Sena and Barnala gravitaing towards UPA / Third front. Post 2014, it will be UPA-3 or a motley crowd of small parties!

from:  Raghusn
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 11:54 IST

It seems that BJP is highly unstable and lacking good leadership that we saw during Atal Bihari Vajpayees's tenure. They have never been a powerful and voicferous opposition which could have led to the ouster of the ruling party, which still holds office after so many disgarceful revelations. Unless there is a clarity of thoughts and opinions within their system, there is a possibility that BJP might not do well again, in 2014 elections.

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 11:34 IST

Taking analogy from history, BJP is like Marathas who were good enough
to weaken Mughal empire but not strong enough to provide alternative.
And congress is like later Mughal empire which even after being
pulvurised by Abdali and Nadir shah continued to linger till 1857.A weak
Delhi suited every body but then at what cost?

from:  naresh
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 11:00 IST

CPI(M) ruled West Bengal for 35 long years,and left the state in tatters.That is also a big achievement if one goes only by longevity,but at what cost for the state?But a hardly recognised TMC of Mamatha finished CPI(M) rule,which the 'big' Congress party could not achieve.UPA's first five years survival was only due to that infamous 'cash for votes' win in Lok Sabha.If only the media had played fair in disseminating the monumental scams by UPA2,in a language understandable by the common people,it would have been the end for Congress/UPA rule by now.

from:  S.S.Nagaraj
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 10:57 IST

The opposition only talk the talk and not walk the walk. They only
blame and clamor for resignation of ministers rather than giving out
fact in support of their claims. This is the weakest opposition i have
seen in many years and that is the main strength of UPA retaining
power till now. every party is watching their interest and they know
this is not the right time for election as UPA is trying to save it
coalition, BJP is trying to solve their internal problems, TMC and SP
are trying to get out the mess the have created from the mismanagement
in thier respective states. All this is helping UPA in retaining the

from:  Akshay Dhadda
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 10:36 IST

Modi should float a Party, as well as Aravind with pan India presence. In the present Indian mind, especially among youth, this combination is just like when "a tornado meets the volcano", effective administration and fiery patriotism. Modi could be forgiven for his accusations, as no one could ever provehis direct involvement.Neither does it prove a point when even few among minority sects do not disagree with Modi's capability. People are ready to move on from old communalism.With all due respect, it is only politicians with a view of vote banking politics that wans to keep remininding the inidan minds of these gruesome acts. India is a secular country.Out with these religious fanatics first! As for the UPA, we don't have the energy to say "enough". We, the common people are disgusted with your despicable untowardly attitude to corruption and the "maunmohansighism" that makes inidans look something less in the world scenario.Though we can't unfortunately deny your effective policies.

from:  Thomas
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 10:05 IST

@Sridhar. Please compare India with some SE Asia nations. People of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and few other mushroom countries are enjoying better living conditions than us.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 09:52 IST

What BJP is doing in the parliament is their business. Every party is doing its job with an eye on the next election. There is a very high chance for BJP to come to power on its own. The longer this corrupt congress government stays the better for BJP. People are getting more and more fed up. It is a well known Congress will go any length to hang on to power. It is worth to remember, what happened in the past. When no confidence motion is brought against MM Singh, Narasimha Rao etc bribes were paid to purchase MPs. Indira Gandhi declared emergency when she felt a threat to her rule, fake letters were drafted by Congress men about VP Singh to tarnish his image, played musical chair of Janatha Party. What a shame! There are enough professional politicians in the parliament who will lend support, they won't miss the golden opportunity to make lots of bucks. It is the fault of citizens of India to have elected the UPA for a second term. It is not BJP fault.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 09:43 IST

The government not keeling over is because of the profusion of third parties vying to
support the UPA , and an excess of post electoral alignments which are all betraying
the nation. People should stop voting third parties, Modi or not, and Nation should
reconcile to two-party scenario, give each a fair chance, or face more corruption and
horse-trading post elections. All people who voted third parties should at least feel
responsible for their action of soiling the national political scene and convey it to
their popular leaders that enough is enough, please convey only pre-electoral
alliance partnerships or be voted out.

from:  N Vaidya
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 09:43 IST

Even in the Congress's poor performance and scandal driven
performance, the author tends to blame BJP. I think as a country, we
deserve the democracy that we get. Politics and democracy in this
country has been very fractured, opportunistic and driven by people
want to only cling to power. If Manmohan Singh was such an
intellectual (by the way, he is most overrated for his honest and
credibility), why did he not resign? He is still a part of the very
fixture that runs the govt.

It is the citizens of India who are the losers in all of these.
Instead of picking sides and running to a blame game, what is the need
of the hour is an intelligentsia which will try to uphold the morals
of the democracy. I think we have an opportunity with AAP.

from:  Ramji
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 08:30 IST

Too many scandals? I prefer to mention that a limited number of
scandals but made to look too many because of zeros liberally
added by CAG. Somehow, I still have a soft corner to the UPA.
It will be a miracle if the Congress wins 120 seats (as compared
to the current 200+) and its allies win 50+. But, will NDA gain
by default all the seats that the UPA has lost? A big question

One thing I can say confidently. Modi will not be the PM after
2014 general elections. Leave alone the allies of NDA; there is
sufficient opposition to his Prime Ministerial ambitions from the
BJP itself.

Modi has one golden chance. He can definitely win over a
sizeable number of fence sitters and also a large number of his
detractors, if he just express his sincere regrets and apologies
to the Muslims for what he had done or has not done during 2002
riots. He can take a tution on this approach from Advani, who
expressed half-hearted regrets for Babri-Masjid demolition and
Gujarat riots.

from:  raghavan
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 07:32 IST

The article has failed to talk about the support that communists and DMK gave to UPA in the past and how agencies like CBI are abused by UPA to stay in power. Inspite of these kind of lopsided support,UPA is sure to be thrown out in 2014!

from:  gowrishankar
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 07:20 IST

Blatant corruption in office can't be rewarded by another term in office by any Government, be it State level or Central. The people of Karnataka showed that. If the voters do not take it as a serious issue, they are complicit in promoting the cancer of corruption that will be the death-knell for the system of Democracy in any country. Combine this with nepotism and cronyism and the end will only be sooner. Minimizing and normalizing with any other arguments of a serious problem will not abate the final outcome. These ills are not minor issues and the voters have to have the courage of conviction to act against such decadence for the health of the country.

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 07:12 IST

The article itself has answer. The reason why BJP kept quite is sensible. They definitely would not have succeeded. They have seen as to how BSP and SP helped the government to get over. Therefore what purpose it serves to topple the government or to bring down the government except getting a name that BJP is after power though it is true. As long as there are leaders like Ms.Mayavathi, Mr.Mulayam and Mr.Lalu there is no possibility of stopping a government of this nature. That is democracy. The parties of BSP, SP are not scared of public opinion because they know their voters are not that much educated to understand that the party to which they are voting is helping a corrupt party to rule. They will continue to vote. May be the backwardness of the place is responsible. BJP if it want to succeed it has to do something to improve the status of such places and should believe in leadership as in Congress where they believe in Sonia whether she really has leadership quality or not.

Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 07:02 IST

Unfortunately, what was said before is true...BJP still needs to become a truly national party. While Modi may help, BJP needs to truly recreate itself. I think one step should be rather than cry about issues no one truly pays attention to, the BJP should coordinate development efforts in all the states it holds power...Benchmarks for eoonomic and social progress, rewarding those who perform well, etc. In other words, it needs to prove itself through concerted action since old fashioned identity politics may not work for it anymore. Modi's popularity is due mostly to his development and not Hindutva, and BJP must transform itself in same way

from:  Vijay
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 06:56 IST

I agree with Mr. Shridhar's comments. BJP has little to show that it cares for every common man in the country except shrill voices on TV blaming UPA for everything that is wrong with the nation. If NDA can unite under Mr. Modi perhaps there is a chance there will be a two way contest in 2014 and hopefully regional parties will be marginalized and made inconsequential.

from:  M Satwalekar
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 04:27 IST

A good article. There is no doubt that UPA has made some mistakes, knowingly or unknowingly, but it has certainly kept the coutnry progressing - positively. I think the biggest achievement for India has been that UPA is an inclusive government. I wish Dr. Singh and party to clear up corrupt elements and go for another term. India needs people like Dr. Singh.

from:  Ozair Akhtar
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 04:09 IST

This is a timely article. The reality is that, despite all their faults,the Congress is the only national party. The BJP somehow got into power, but has never seemed to capture the national stage ever. People fondly talk about Vajpayee being a sincere and decent man, but that is where it stops. the BJP has become irrelevant in contemporary India, where the future rests with the young people who want stability and inclusive growth, and have little time for Rath Yatra and RSS rheotoric. There is no question that TV channels love airing the constant griping by BJP spokesmen, but why they cannot muster enough support to throw out the 'crooks', is never answered. In my view, much is made of the scams in UPA 2, but the reality is not lost on the people. Despite corruption, which is an Indian trait, not limited to UPA, the Government has provided growth and stability in troubled time. Show me one country that has done better, except China,which is a lousy role model

from:  Sridhar
Posted on: May 30, 2013 at 02:56 IST
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