Prakash Karat knows Sonia Gandhi better than Manmohan Singh. The virtual PM of India believed that the UPA chairperson would let go at least another year of the goodies that power is delivering to her and instead spend huge amounts on a Lok Sabha, just so he could keep his promise to George W Bush. He ought to have known better.
Of course, had Manmohan Singh himself had any backbone, he would himself have quit rather than turn into an international laughing stock, but Sonia of the Maino clan has chosen her man well. If he had had any backbone at all, he would not have tolerated the fact that every one of his ministers reports to 10 Janpath and not 7 Race Course Road. In the only ministry he holds, coal, it is the writ of Sushil Kumar Shinde and Ahmed Patel that runs.
Last week, the so-called empowered committee of the ministry allocated a slew of coal blocks. Not surprisingly, those who were in a position to speedily set up power plants were elbowed aside by others with greater relevance to AICC treasurer Motilal Vora. The ?honest? Manmohan Singh will naturally put his dhobi mark on this and any other file that his ?Madam? has an interest in
Karat knew better. He put his party'sfuture on the line by betting that Sonia Maino would blink at the thought of losing the benefits of power, and blink is what she did. After deceptively roaring in Haryana about ?anti-national? elements, she slunk back to her government-provided mansion and unfurled the surrender flag. It is now clear to the public what was transparent to those around Sonia, that the only ideology motivating her is the desire to remain in power. And now, it is equally clear that Manmohan Singh has the same ?ideology? as his ?Madam?
Why did Sonia and Manmohan go ahead with a nuclear deal that would have forced the country to abandon its quest for self-sufficiency in energy and degraded its capacity to respond to a nuclear first strike? Because to the Sonia-led UPA, India comes last. The interests of every other country come before those of the land that has been placed in their hands by the 2004 verdict. The latest stock exchange meltdown?that has cost hundreds of thousands of small investors their savings?is another example. Finance Minister Chidambaram knows that his ?Madam? values the interests of other countries above those of India, and therefore made the amazing statement that ?too much capital? is flowing into India.
The bureaucrat backed by him to run SEBI, an individual who has not managed even a teashop, and is therefore completely unqualified to understand the problems of industry, obliged by publicising a measure that both knew would send markets into free fall, which is what happened. An enquiry into just which sons, sons-in-law and associates of VVIPs were upset that the market had risen sharply just after they had bailed out, and were wanting to buy back the shares they had then sold at a lower price, an opportunity provided to them courtesy of SEBI, would be instructive. However, it is unlikely that this probe will happen under Chidambaram'swatch, for the minister seems interested solely in arming his officers with greater and greater powers to harass the taxpayer. All the better to go after those who oppose his ?Madam?.
At the precise moment when India is on the cusp of catching up with China in capital inflows, these have been halted by Sonia'smen, who are also seeking to block money from the Gulf countries into India at the exact time when the sheikhs are seeking to diversify their investments from their reliance on other markets. There is no doubt that warm smiles will greet the lady in Beijing when she goes there shortly
The numerous policy moves announced during 2004-07 that pulled the market down will have a blowback in the form of angry voters who will take revenge on the Congress Party for costing them their savings. Small wonder that Sonia is not at all happy that Justice Kuldip Singh'smeticulous report on delimitation of constituencies is likely to be presented well before the next elections, for his recommendations can be expected to redraw constituencies on lines that better reflect current demographic trends. In other words, urban areas will get more weightage, places where the Chidambaram blight has hit the hardest
While Manmohan Singh is getting the blame for seeking to gift Siachen to Pakistan (as Sir Creek may already have been) and Kapil Sibal for not yet establishing India'slegal rights over an expanded coastal zone, the reality is that both are only following the cues emphasised by their ?Madam?, who cares not at all for such matters, even though they are vital to Indian interests. Had the NDA and the Left not drained Sonia Gandhi of her resolve, the country would have had to spend Rs 26,000 crore constructing a dedicated nuclear re-processing facility that would effectively be under outside control.
Had Sonia or Manmohan put Indian interests first, they would have sold the 500MW nuclear reactor that has been developed by the country'sscientists and erased the nuclear fuel deficit by re-processing the spent fuel accumulating in a toxic way from Tarapur. They would not have halted?as is reported to have happened?the development of the Agni missile to stop its range crossing 5500 kilometres. Prakash Karat has shown that Sonia and Manmohan put power before principle. All that remains is for the people to make their choice when the next opportunity comes.
During the stormy days of 1995, when Arjun Singh, N.D. Tewari, Natwar Singh and Shiela Dikshit broke away from the Congress Party so that Sonia Gandhi could teach them a lesson, they waited for her to show up at the New Delhi stadium where they were holding a massive meeting to celebrate their future success in defeating the Congress Party. They waited and waited and waited, only to finally realise that the person on whose behalf they had split the party was not coming. Sonia, then as now, did not want to take any risk. After all, she needed Narasimha Rao, who had allowed Ottavio Quattrocchi to escape and began treating her in the Empress of India mode that all successor regimes have followed ever since, substantially beyond the requirements of security and protocol. Today only Shiela hangs on to her job, under attack each day from party colleagues who would keep quiet at the slightest frown from Sonia. Both Tewari and Natwar Singh have been cast out, the latter now left in a limbo that has gagged him from participation in parliamentary debates, despite his brilliance as a speaker, and with the threat of jail hanging over the head of himself and close family members.