<b>It’s time for the UPA to quit</b>

It’s time for the UPA to quit

MV Kamath

$img_titleHow long, Lord, how long are we to continue to suffer UPA rule over the country? Every indication suggests that the people are tired to UPA rule under the leadership of the Congress. The CNN-IBN poll made it very clear. Over 60 per cent of the people want a change of government, or, take the Hindustan Times-CFore Survey. It showed that 52 per cent of those polled thought that the performance of the UPA-2 government was average and 20 per cent actually thought it was “bad”. As many as 43 per cent felt the Congres is to be blamed for the drift in governance and 33 per cent attributed it to “coalition compulsions”.
In other words, who ever is to be blame, some 76 per cent believe that there is a drift in governance. When asked who would one vote for if elections are held now, 39 per cent gave preference to BJP/NDA and only 34 per cent to Congress/UPA. While 54 per cent among BJP supporter thought Narendra Modi will make the best Prime Ministerial candidate, 47 per cent among people who voted for the Congress/UPA in 2009 also felt Modi would be the best Prime Ministerial candidate. These statistics are highly revealing. And what bothered people most? Inflation (34 per cent), Corruption (32 per cent), lack of Job Prospects (24 per cent). As Hindustan Times – C Fore Survey put it, “if elections were held tomorrow, more young Indians would vote for the NDA than the UPA”. And what are the reasons for government paralysis? Mentioned are the 2G Scam, the Commonwealth Games Scam (remember Suresh Kalmadi who is out on a bail?), the Antrix Decas Scam, the bruising, bare-knuckled scrap with society over corruption in Public Life, a string of political and electoral setbacks in crucial states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, and high-profile personality clashes. And think of these things. According to a study conducted by a Pune-based reputed company called India Forensic, in the last one decade, most of it under UPA rule, the menace of corruption has reached a sum of Rs 15.55 lakh crore (Rs 1,555,000 crore)! Responsible for the loss to the Indian economy of Rs 22,528 crore have been crimes like commercial fraud, smuggling, drug trafficking, bank frauds and tax evasion. Declaring the allocation of 2G spectrum by the Congress-led UPA government “illegal”, and an example of the arbitrary exercise of power, the Supreme Court has cancelled all 122 telecom licenses allotted to 11 companies during the tenure of former Telecom Minister, A Raja who has been released on bail after serving 15 months in jail. Poverty in the country is rampant. The poor are getting poorer and the rich, richer. One industrialist gets Rs 24 crore per year: or is it per mensem? There were 16,196 farmers’ suicides in India in 2008 alone bringing the total number of suidide since 1997 to 199, 132! At least 17,368 farmers killed themselves in 2009. According to a well-known study conducted by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) while the number of farm suicides increased since 2001, the number of farmers has fallen, as thousands of them have been abandoning agriculture in distress; then take another study: in India, the total of forex stock and commodity market speculative money is Rs 685 lakh crore. it has outstripped the real economy by almost seven times. In Congress-ruled Maharashtra, just in the collection of road toll, the loss to the government is over Rs 5,000 crore. if the Government is aware, it doesn’t seem to be interested in rectifying the situation.
Forget the Adarsh Housing Scam in which a previous Chief Minister is allegedly involved. What is worse, is the growing distance between the Armed Forces and the governing class, both of which are at loggerheads with each other. According to a top-ranking retired officer, BS Raghavan, “there is wide-spread resentment in the army that while the Defence Forces deal ruthlessly with misconduct and dereliction of duty, there is no accountability and regard for scruples on the civilian side” and “those accused of grave crimes and misdemeanours in the governing (civil) class, not only go scot-free but even come to occupy highest pedestals of power and authority” and a retired Air Marshal and former Director-General, Defence Planning Staff is quoted as having said that there is a “widening chasm and lack of harmony” between the Defence Forces and civilian establishment”. Is Mr A.K. Antony who wears a dhoti, south Indian style, while attending Armed Forces meetings aware of that? According to Raghavan, if this chasm is allowed to continue “with the same intensity, national security itself is bound to be imperilled”.
The corruption in the judiciary is now old hat but it shows how even the top judiciary under the UPA government has been affected. Administration hardly seems to exist. Several senior IAS officers have been put under the scan including the Home Secretary of the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Senior civil servants are taking their own time to declare their assets. The poor management of the nation’s air lines is there for all to see. Pilots have been on strike for days causing the country hundred of crores of rupees loss each day. In the field of transport, the death toll from railway accidents has remained above 300 in each of the last two years and the casual attitude towards safety has resulted in 14,670 railway personnel killed! Indian economic outlook has been downgraded by Standard & Poor and the Rupee has tumbled to its newest low, closing 11 per cent since March. The Rupee has now been tagged as Asia’s “worst performing currency”, hitting as it has to an all-time low of Rs 56.22 against the US Dollar. And we have an economist as our Prime Minister. Instead of fighting corruption, the Lok Sabha has put the Lokpal Bill into storage for hibernation. According to a Team Anna activist, Arvind Kejriwal, if there was a proper Lokpal bill cases against as many as 14 cabinet Ministers would have been registered. Even as it is, it is a well-known fact that as many as 162 MPs have criminal charges against them which include 20 with attempts to murder cases. It is time the public demands fresh elections to the Lok Sabha. Enough, as the saying goes, is enough. India’s world reputation has descended to the nadir. We have to recover our self-respect and our strength to stand up to bullying by the United States on the issue of Indo-Iranian trade.

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