After the 2G muddle, Coalgate and the announcement of anti-poor measures clearly aimed at placating big business, I wonder how anyone can argue that “the Congress government headed by Manmohan Singh alone has the clarity … to cure the system …” (“An opportunity, not a crisis” by Harish Khare, Sept. 20) No matter what he does, Dr. Singh is a propped-up Prime Minister who derives his power from Sonia Gandhi. What Indira Gandhi did when pushed to the wall and the heavy price the nation had to pay should not be forgotten while advocating a muscular approach to governance.
The present crisis — Mamata Banerjee’s withdrawal of support to the UPA government — was caused by the government’s capitulation under pressure from abroad and its insensitivity to the compulsions of coalition politics. The issues raised by Ms Banerjee are certainly more important than a debate on the manner in which she has used her “veto” in the past.
It is not the question of whether a party with just 19 MPs should be allowed to ride roughshod over a party with more than 200 MPs. The Congress has just 205 members and cannot take decisions on its own. And parties with 19 members (TMC), 18 members (DMK), and 9 members (NCP) have the power to block its decisions. The right thing to do is to carry them along so that embarrassing situations do not arise.
But the Congress behaves as though it has a majority. It is prepared to deal with the SP and the BSP but ignores its allies. It came to power campaigning against “India Shining.” People voted for it thinking the aam aadmi would be its priority. But now its policies are turning out to be pro-rich and anti-poor.
The present crisis at the Centre has been triggered by the Congress’s intransigence on carrying forward its agenda of neoliberal economic policies at any cost. Ms Banrejee has done the right thing by withdrawing support to the UPA government. One wonders how any coalition partner can remain silent when the main ruling party heaps misery on the common man. The increase in the price of diesel, the cap on LPG subsidy and FDI in multi-brand and single brand retail will only push the common man to the abyss. The steps will certainly not lift the country from the economic crisis and political chaos.
J. Anantha Padmanabhan,
Ms Banerjee’s decision may be seen as a destabilising move by the pro-reform sections. But she has given an expression to the hitherto unexpressed rage of the country’s poor. “Big bang reforms” are a euphemism for the gradual sellout of our economy to the capitalist class and rich nations. Did our strong fundamentals never present Dr. Singh with the opportunity to improve agricultural production, generate employment and correct the supply constraints?