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October 21, 2007
Organiser Home
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SPECIAL ON 150 YEARS OF 1857
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October 21, 2007




Page: 3/38

Home > 2007 Issues > October 21, 2007

Editorial

Sonia's bravado and big surrender
Congress bows before CPM blackmail. The nuclear deal is dumped for fear of facing people

The fear of a mid-term poll was enough for disciplining the Marxist bully. And the Congress charge that the CPM was more concerned about Chinese interest than national interest in opposing the deal had touched a raw nerve in the CPM leadership. Bengal comrades, getting attuned to the neo-capitalist mould were too accommodating to the Sonia diktat.

Till the other day it looked as if the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh would stake their government for getting the Indo-US nuclear deal through. But suddenly, within 48 hours of calling the opponents of the deal enemies of the nation the Congress has prevaricated.

This is a classic case of chickening out under pressure. The Congress has given in to the Left blackmail. Only the Congress was eager to take the nuclear deal to the people?s court in the hope of winning a mandate on a nationalist plank. This was what some of its friendly psephologists advised the party, warning also that a delayed poll will see the Congress tally tumbling down. But the allies were not impressed. The RJD, DMK and the NCP prevailed over the coalition leader to backtrack. The communists were equally afraid of facing the electorate.

Their fear is understandable, with essential commodities becoming scarce, price rise hitting the common man like never before, with wheat selling at Rs 25 a kilo and onion dearer still, with what face the votaries of aam aadmi face the people? The Left predicament is worsened by the raging rural riots against the CPM supported ration shops in West Bengal. The party?s bourgeois character particularly under the UPA patronage is out in the open. The fear of a mid-term poll was enough for disciplining the Marxist bully. And the Congress charge that the CPM was more concerned about Chinese interest than national interest in opposing the deal had touched a raw nerve in the CPM leadership. Bengal comrades, getting attuned to the neo-capitalist mould were too accommodating to the Sonia diktat. Yet the Congress made a climb down and dumped the deal in the cold storage. After aggressively advocating the deal as the biggest achievement of the UPA, Sonia Gandhi has suddenly dropped it as if it was only Dr Singh?s apolitical misadventure.

But will this restore governance in the country? Will it ensure stability at the centre and ward off mid-term poll? For the last three months the Congress spat session progressed unabated with rumours of a snap poll thickening the political atmosphere. And the central government was practically paralysed.

The Manmohan Singh government was in such a hurry to meet the deadline for the US, that the Prime Minister in a rare show of authority challenged the Left to shut up or get out. Last week Sonia Gandhi, fresh from her US sojourn, took the battle further and declared that the nuke deal was the only salvation for the energy-starved country and those opposing the deal are enemies of both development and the country.

The Left retorted with matching ferocity. But the Congress under pressure from its allies made a hasty retreat and according to reports decided to put the nuclear deal on the back burner.

Who is now the enemy of the nation? Or is it that the lure of power is so strong that the Congress has decided to join hands with the nation?s enemies and shelve the deal altogether? With every passing day it will become increasingly difficult for the Bush administration to get the deal approved by the Senate. There is a powerful international lobby, which believes that India was being given a preferential treatment. This non-proliferation lobby is stronger among the Democrats and in an election year their stridency will only increase. From all indications it is clear that any future treaty on these lines with the US will have more stringent and debilitating clauses against India. This does not mean that we are supporting the present deal.

Few months ago in a cover story in Organiser analyzing the deal thread bare, ex-diplomat O.P. Gupta had suggested the only way for the government was to put the deal on the back burner. He argued that it was too one sided (Hyde Act; Drop it or keep it on back burner, Organiser, 22-7-2007). But the manner in which the Congress has attempted to go on the back foot has exposed it to charges of being a pawn of both the US and the pro-China CPM.

The advise Prakash Karat offered to the Congress was to learn coalition dharma from the BJP, the way in which that party allegedly put its core concerns in cold storage to run the NDA government for six years. The Congress also should forget about the Indo-US deal, he had said. By implication the core concern of the Congress according to Karat is playing the US tune. By agreeing to heed to this advice for running the coalition the Congress has compromised all its self-respect.

But this is only the beginning of the CPM game plan. The CPM has levelled a charge sheet against the Congress accusing it of implementing only pro-rich policies and demanding probe into the wheat import scandal and failure in the execution of the NREG programme. At the end of the day, other than its pet divisive agenda all that Manmohan Singh is left with as his legacy is this unsung deal in the dustbin.




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