The unceremonious exit of the CPI and the CPI(M) from the AIADMK alliance (“Clarity on alliance emerges in Tamil Nadu,” March 7), subsequently pushing them to go it alone in the coming parliamentary election, is a development that has caught many by surprise, especially those of us who were looking forward to finally having a third alternative. “Cartoonscape” (March 7) said it all. Once again, the development shows that in politics anything can happen at any time — there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.
The Congress and the Left now find themselves without political friends. The leaders of both parties must be ruing the day they needlessly parted ways at the fag end of UPA-I. Then, UPA-II suffered two far-reaching and adverse consequences — the liberal-leaning NAC on overdrive as far as welfare schemes were concerned, since the Left was not there to share credit for such largesse, and the nation’s fiscal economics being turned on its head even as adverse external and global factors induce monetary and systemic shocks. In UPA-I, the Left was the government’s conscience keeper. In UPA-II, there was none in its fold to practically raise Cain over corruption. The Congress has only itself to blame for losing a dependable ally and finding itself in an administrative stasis, losing command over a disillusioned bureaucracy. The rest is there for all to see — governance that is now adrift and a low-profile Prime Minister at sea, much like a gentle family physician just not cut out for decisive surgical interventions, and helpless about the Congress’s steep decline.
Thanks to corruption of unimaginable magnitude, people are now more aware of the ups and downs of coalition politics and governance. Development-based issues will now be evaluated. With a rejuvenated BJP, the UPA on the backfoot, the AAP the new kid on the block, and the advent of NOTA as a new election weapon in the hands of voters, parties must realise they are now on our watchlist. Voters must now choose clean candidates who can spell progress.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj opposing the party’s ties with the tainted is a welcome step (“Sushma opposes merger of BSR Congress with BJP,” March 7). While she may have tweeted and written about this, she should take this a step further by insisting that the leadership act against candidates with criminal records. In this context, one recalls the Congress vice-president’s call to deny the ticket to candidates with criminal records. As the principal national parties, the BJP and the Congress should set an example on this matter; other parties will follow suit. On its part, the electorate should elect only the best among candidates in the fray irrespective of party affiliation. Voters must not hesitate to exercise the NOTA option. Let the 16th Lok Sabha begin on a clean note, with parliamentarians being competent, clean and men and women of integrity.