August 3, 2008

Will Congress and BJP ever have the guts to join hands to avoid such shame in future?

The trust vote is finally over and the Congress managed to pull through! But then even before the trust vote took place it was more than a foregone conclusion that this trust vote on whether the government has the numbers in the parliament to take forward the nuclear deal, had less to do with the nuclear deal in reality, and more about the realignments of fringe political parties whose numbers are increasing by the day. It was also a foregone conclusion that for the likes of Samajwadi Party (SP), the imperative to see through a victory of the Congress -led government was more crucial than even for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his party, because SP is well aware of Mayawati’s growing prominence, and what it means for them. It was also a foregone conclusion that the Left, which has got used to taking the government to ransom, their opposition with the deal had more to do with continuing their uncompromising attitude than to collectively evolve a solution to the impending energy crisis of the country. And it goes without saying that for the innumerable single MPs, whose votes became critical for the continuance or collapse of the government, it was more of a god sent opportunity to make some quick money (which even by any conservative estimate would be nothing less than a few croresper head, as per media reports).

Consider Shibu Soren, – a convict in a murder case – all through the two days of debates in the parliament, cameras caught him happily dozing or rather sleeping, indicating the complete lack of interest he has in the subject matter of nuclear deal. His entire interest in the vote of trust was to make sure that he gets his pie, which among others things includes getting back his Coal Minister's seat, demand for getting some for the border districts of West Bengal and Orissa into Jharkhand, and almost securing the Deputy Chief Minister post in Jharkhand for his son. Similarly for Chandra Shekhar Rao of Telengana Rashtra Samity (TRS), his single-point agenda was to have the separate state of Telengana. His recent drubbing in the by-polls just passed made him realise that diluting that cause is suicidal for him. So like Shibu Soren, he too was not much bothered about the nuclear deal. His condition was simple. If UPA agreed to his demand of Telengana, he votes!!

More intriguing than this is the fact that Mayawati suddenly started cherishing the dream of becoming a Prime Minister, fuelled by the mollycoddling of a beleaguered Left. And then she started getting together a coterie of fringe players like former PM Deve Gowda, Ajit Singh and Chandra Babu Naidu who with a mere 2 or 3 MPs were dreaming of running the country. In fact, on 21st July when the debate in the parliament started, she called for a press conference saying that the moment this deal will be put through, US would attack Iran. She was visibly nervous because for the first time she was talking about international issues (a must for a prime ministerial candidate)!! All in all every small party thought it was their chance to blackmail someone or the other or hold some one or the other to ransom and get a pie of the cake. And on the final day of voting what happened with bundles of notes being shown in the parliament was nothing short of an international shame for the entire nation - it was literally a case of democracy being raped.

And while the entire drama unfolded, I was left asking a question didn’t we as Indians deserve more than the entire nation being held to ransom by Lilliputian parties and their non-patriotic personal agenda? And a question that flashed up in my mind in past again flashed across. I had written in my edit a few issues ago, what if for the sake of the nation and stability, the Congress and BJP went in for a grand alliance??

The fact is that even though the BJP had reservations about some provisions of the deal, but in his speech in the parliament, LK Advani made it amply clear that if his party is voted to power it would renegotiate the deal but would not scrap it. He spoke in even more clearer terms that his party is not averse to strategic relations with US either. In fact if one goes by modern history, the on going process of the nuclear deal is actually a continuation of the legacy which was started by the BJP itself. And Congress was kind enough to admit it too and give credit to BJP. But the similarity in this aspect apart, the fact is that these are the only two parties with some sense of national policies, national leadership, they both have mature politicians who can run the country with a semblance of a vision at least.

In fact through this entire episode what has become more evident is that other than Congress and BJP no other political party in India has any sort of national vision. Either their entire political proposition is fixed on some petty regional issues or a prisoner of some obsolete ideology and a collective antipathy towards Congress or BJP. It goes without saying that UPA could not have won the trust vote without the tacit support from BJP which literally didn’t want to topple the government. The Leader of the opposition had clearly stated in his speech in parliament that his party doesn’t want to destabilize the government even though they would vote against the government.

Therefore if India has to go forward both strategically and socially the time has come for BJP and Congress to think of coming together whenever required, to save the country from the dictums of fringe parties and single agenda entities, who are bereft of any vision about the future of the country. Hope that day comes soon enough when BJP and Congress work together to form a government in times of such crisis in a mature display of nationalism instead of letting the nation fall prey to such shameful acts horse trading and personal agenda driven politics. I believe the nation would not mind even seeing Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime minister for two and a half years and then Shri Lal Krishna Advani for the next two and a half years instead of being subjected to such pathetic circus. This would any day be a much better alternative than having the a third front, or any of them being in power supported by such immature blackmailers who only have nuisance value at the Centre. Actually if one closely analyses the NDA and the UPA regimes, it becomes evident that on most policy matters, they have taken an almost identical stance during their respective tenures. Both the parties have been reform oriented with a strong focus on economic growth. Starting from the Golden Quadrilateral to the nuclear deal, both the parties have been maintaining almost a uniform stance. And the economic performance of the country has also seen almost similar trends in their respective tenures. And as for the allegation that Bjp is a Hindu party, well one cant deny its slightly true but the fact is that it is mostly a communist manufactured conspiracy against them. When in centre they gave no display of hindu fanatism as some of regional parties are doing at a state level – in fact most of them are far far worse and fascistic. Congress and BJP – I ve said in past too – and I repeat again can surely think of joining hands together at times, to give India the respect it deserves. It only requires mature vision, self belief, guts and commitment to the nation more than anything else.

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