The demise of the UF government owing to the withdrawal of the support by the Congress is in a way a mercy killing. Having entered the intensive Care Unit the day the Jain panel findings were reported by the press, there was really no way the government could survive. Even so, nothing can justify the torment and pain which the nation has gone through during the last weeks, despite the situation reaching the point of the inevitable has only exposed the chinks in the armour of the various political parties, especially the Congress, that has emerged as the villain- a very clumsy one at that.
Sitaram Kesri’s claim to the form an alternative government is pure bluster. The lollypop may gladden the hearts of his party MPs temporarily, but the bluff is bound to fall flat on the day of reckoning. The misplaced optimism on the part of the hawks about the entry of Sonia, has landed them in an unenviable situation. Their unhaste in pouncing on a dicey election issue has blinded them to certain embarrassing realities, especially the fact that it was their government which was at the helm form the last five years, during which very little was done to facilitate speedy investigation onto Rajiv’s assassination. While their keenness to place their fate in the hands of Sonia is obvious, the vice-versa need not be true, which probably explains the former first lady’s reluctance to take the plunge and no one fault her too. The undue delay in pulling the rug after an initial rush of blood is plainly due to the lack of a favourable response from 10 Janpath, which they took for granted.
Also, Congress has not emerged as anyone’s favourite by stalling Parliament and thereby governance, thus disinclination to even entertain a debate on the Jain Commission clearly exposes the party’s apprehensions about its own lapses in the past coming under scrutiny. Admittedly, the Congress too has cupboard which it can ill afford to display in the present circumstances.
The United Front, by itself is a purely post election phenomenon, a loose coalition of disparate elements with no ideological consistency, formed with the sole aim of keeping the BJP and the Congressmen’s known inability to survive without power, combines with their chagrin at propping up a gangup which professed anti-Congressism as a mantra, the UF was doomed from the beginning. Very part in the UF had fought the Congress in the polls, and a few of them have even fought one another. By refusing to help the Congress to form the government after the fall of the BJP’s 13-day wonder, but accepting the support of the same Congress to run the show was inherently a shameful aberration. Still, the arrangement, though fraught with the prospect of collapse any time, could pass muster because of the unanimity in keeping the BJP out. Also there was the hope that no one would dare precipitate things owing to and all pervading reluctance for a snap poll, which all parties dreaded.
The Congress which was only biding its time for want of an issue has acted when it found one, though everyone may not believe that the party could be resurrected solely on this count. Prime Minister Gujral is no doubt a man of decency and dignity but he is certainly not so naive as to expect the same virtue in others, especially the Congress. Nor are his own constituents a virtuous lot. The veritable group of specimens which he heads are together for power and power alone and not because of any inherent qualities that are worthy of acclaim.
The DMK’s past cannot be wished away and is certain to haunt the party forever. The TMC is Congress with a different name and if the latter is bad the former should also be so. They were as much a part of the omissions and commissions of the earlier regime, and yet they are not taboo, not to the Communists, not to the Janata Dal, the parties which opposed the Rao rule tooth and nail. Most of the present Ministers of the TMC were Ministers then too, but yet the contradiction went deliberately unnoticed. The TDP of Babu Naidu owes its existence to NTR whom it back stabbed, for whatever reasons. Of Mulayam and Laloo the less better. The Janata Dal, the brainchild of the fatalist called V.P. Singh, carries in its every move the unmistakable stamp of its ideologue who is synonymous with confusion and hypocrisy. The self-proclaimed secularist would have no qualms about running a government with BJP support nor would this paragon of social justice flinch when several youth of the nation went up in flames owing to his adventurism on Mandal report, which was given life just to divert his tormentors. The Left, of course, has been rarely right, except theoretically. Their steadfast refusal to see reality and keep up with global developments has already rendered them as antiques, but for a few pockets of influence. Their blind anti-Congressism has singularly led to the growth of the BJP, whom too, they detest. Still they backed V.P. Singh, who also had the support of the BJP, when the comrades opted to put their avowed principles in to cold storage. It has been lying there since, as is obvious from the fact that they were part of the Congress, their arch enemy from the time immemorial. And inside the government, too their role has been none too praiseworthy, blocking governance and reforms at every available opportunity.
This motley crowd deserves no sympathy. If the Congress has backstabbed true to its character, the UF deserves to be dumped true to its destiny. For if it was not today, it would have happened tomorrow, may be for a different reason.
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