NEW DELHI: Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani on Monday said there were indications that general elections, scheduled for 2009, could be held some time this year itself.
Participating in the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address to Parliament, Mr. Advani said that even if elections were held next year or this year, it could be the last Presidential address to Parliament.
“There is growing uncertainty. If uncertainty increases, instability also increases. And an unstable government cannot do justice with the administration,” Mr. Advani said. The BJP leader put the government on the mat on what he alleged were failures in controlling prices, containing inflation and in the areas of internal security, women’s reservation and the Telangana issue.
Both Mr. Advani and CPI(M) member Mohammad Salim, who also participated in the debate, criticised the UPA government for not making any budgetary provisions for waiver of loans of farmers.
Maintaining that he fully supported loan waivers for indebted farmers, Mr. Advani sought to know why provisions were not made for the purpose. He was also unsparing in his criticism of the government for its “failure” to bring in the Women’s Reservation Bill and carve out from Andhra Pradesh a separate state of Telangana.
On both the issues, where he quoted from the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA government, Mr. Advani admitted to corrections made by the Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh.
“We are ready to support the government on the women’s reservation issue. Whether it wants to bring in the original bill or enact the suggestions made by the Election Commission [that political parties reserve one-third seats for women],” Mr. Advani said.
While lauding the government’s aim of having a double-digit GDP growth rate, he found it disturbing that 20 richest Indian families earn more every year than 30 crore poor people. “Such growth cannot be called inclusive growth,” he said.
Admitting that the NDA government had committed a mistake by giving the slogan of “India Shining,” Mr. Advani said that probably “India Rising” would have been more apt.
On the Telangana issue, Mr. Advani blamed the Congress-led coalition for “compelling” the TRS MPs to offer their resignations. It prompted heated exchanges between BJP and Congress members in protest and Jairam Ramesh saying that the CMP had only stated that the UPA would strive for a consensus on the issue.
Mr. Advani said the NDA government had supported the demands for creation of separate States of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh only after the Assemblies of States which were to be affected supported the demand and passed resolutions.
Earlier, initiating the debate Congress leader Ajit Jogi said the minimum support prices of wheat and paddy had been raised by the UPA government several times. He said the loan waiver amounting to Rs. 60,000 crore would provide relief to the small and marginal farmers.