Friday, July 27, 2007

BJP stands small after UPA’s trust win



P
olitics always means the unexpected. Though the citizens are not part of that uncertainty bound drama, knowingly or unknowingly, everyone becomes a party to that, indulging in speculations and calculations. This was proved on Tuesday, when the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in India proved its majority in parliament. The unusual smile that was seen the day before the crucial trust vote, on the face of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a rarity, spoke of that unexpected victory awaiting UPA government.
When the Left parties withdrew their support to the government on July 8 on the grounds of opposition to Indo-US nuclear deal, not even a splash of an idea of the government seeking trust vote came to them. They were under the impression that the government, which has become a minority government, will quit on moral grounds and go for snap polls. But the unexpected happened. The Congress party confidently stood for the deal and decided to prove majority in parliament. Here the Left stumbled upon their own calculations and failed to realise the extent to which the Congress party is able to play when it comes to realpolitik situations. However, all went in favour of India’s grand old party.

Political mileage

After a day of trust there is no doubt about the political mileage Congress achieved from the entire high-voltage political episode. But the Left stands a step ahead achieving their farsighted aim of a possible Third Front. But the main opposition-BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) who is criticised for their communal politics, and its prime ministerial candidate LK Advani who is pinching hopes of forming a BJP government at the Centre for the second time, emerge as the biggest losers. The party has suspended its members and sought the cancellation of parliamentary status of those who had defied the party whip and voted for the UPA.

Even before the trust motion was put to vote there were speculations about some BJP members voting for the UPA government. The Congress spin doctors even came up with exact numbers also. They were confident about 10 opposition members who were going to abstain from voting. Of them the biggest who gave a shock to NDA were the BJP members themselves. The shock was seen on the face of Advani when the trust vote result was splashed in the electronic metre.

As many as five are seen to have cross-voted while five skipped the trust vote itself. Is it money or ideological difference, what made the BJP MPs susceptible to poaching from Congress camp is still unsure. But it should be noted that three MPs among those who defied the party’s whip and voted in favour of UPA is from the south Indian state of Karnataka where the saffron party has opened its first government. This will affect the party’s ambition and image in South Indian states. 

The other skippers are from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. The party has suspended its Gujarat member already. The Uttar Pradesh member joined Amar Singhís Samajwadi party even before the vote. This simply means that in the coming days the party has to face these kinds of dropouts or poachers. If the Trust Vote has given a blow to BJP, to the Left it has become a blessing in disguise. No doubt, the Communist party and Prakash Karat, the Marxist mastermind behind the anti-Indo US nuclear deal campaign invited shame of trying to pulling down the government. Nevertheless, they saved their face by sticking to their political ideology of anti-US strategy. 

But the Left has gained an unexpected move, which may worry the Congress party in the fast approaching general election. The Left partiesí long time aim of forming a Third Front is finally taking place. As Karat has earlier said,” a Third Front will be formed in the course of time,” the confidence vote eventually helped them accumulate the support of other parties who oppose the nuclear deal and mainly, Sonia Gandhi led Congress party. They are tirelessly conducting meetings with like-minded Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, former prime minister Deve Gowdaís Janata Dal, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party etc and have decided to conduct nationwide protest against the Central government. 

Though the agitation may not have much impact on the government now it will definitely put the Congress party under pressure not to lose their grounds. Moreover, the Left and its allies will get more strength to attack the BJP in terms of their communal policies. They will also portray the Congress party as pioneers in horsetrading. In short, the win in the House has given greater responsibility to the Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi in terms of going ahead with the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal and gaining the common manís support to make the deal happen. More hectic days for Congress party to come.

No-confidence motion

Moving the no-confidence motion in parliament, Manmohan Singh himself has assured the house that the deal will be discussed in parliament before the government goes ahead with it. But the political turmoil awaiting the house over the deal seems it will be  difficult for the government to make its stand clear before the members of parliament.
Apart from the deal the Congress is bound to face questions of horsetrading, bribery and threatening that the party has succumbed to win the necessary votes to prove majority when the parliament meets. It is expected, that however hard they try to convince about clean hands in the confidence vote, they cannot escape easily from the allegations. They played a big game before the eyes of not only its one billion citizens, but the entire world. For the time being the winner takes it all. But eventually the winner has to bear its after effects also, either good or bad. And it does not need much time.

The General Elections which will be held in the first half of 2009 will decide whether the nation stands with the Congress party like the parliament members who helped the party to survive and complete its term.We all know that every end calls for a new beginning which will pave the way for more developments. The high voltage realpolitik stage set in India over the Indo-US nuclear deal has not yet drawn its final curtain.The play is continuing off-stage.

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