The NCP, which is contesting 22 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and hopes to see its leader Sharad Pawar on the Prime Minister'schair, has clarified that Dr. Manmohan Singh is not the Prime Ministerial candidate of the UPA but he is the candidate of the Congress Party. This clarification came as a response to the Congress claim that Dr Singh is the UPA candidate for the top job. On the occasion of the release of the Congress manifesto last week, Sonia Gandhi, answering journalists? queries, had said that Dr. Manmohan Singh would continue to lead the UPA.
After sharing power for five years, the UPA has dispersed like a crowd in a market place watching black magic. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, the two most loyal supporters of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, were the first to abandon the sinking ship. They humiliated the Congress by offering just three seats out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. The Congress retaliated by admitting all Lalu-baiters in Bihar including Lalu'sbrother-in-law into the party and fielding them against the erstwhile UPA partners. After a five-year stint it is legitimate for the people of India to expect the UPA to go to the polls together and seek a verdict on its performance. The break-up of the entire UPA team only vindicates the general belief that the UPA was nothing but an opportunistic arrangement to loot and scoot without even the slightest pretension of unity of purpose or ideological cohesion. So the parties that fought against each other in states in the 2004 Lok Sabha election came together after the results were out to form a government. The Communists who brokered the uncouth deal were the ones who realised early the futility of continuing to foist the supine arrangement upon the country and parted ways six months before the election. Now they are the most vocal critics of the UPA betrayal. They allege, the dispensation they spawned was the most anti-people, pro-rich and a stooge regime of the US. Not many will disagree.
Samajwadi Party, the outfit that came to rescue the crumbling edifice of Manmohan government after the Left withdrew support, is now so totally fed up that in the company of Lalu and Paswan it is playing mid-wife to an alternative to fight the Congress in the Hindi heartland. The NCP, another fair weather partner of the Congress, is now scouting for support from all and sundry to corner Manmohan-Sonia team in the hustings. In the South the PMK, another partner of the Congress, has deserted the UPA to join the rival front. It all shows that from the very outset, the UPA was a plate of unpalatable personal agenda of its numerous fragments. The partners might be thinking that all the blame for the UPA mis-rule and corruption will go to Congress and after the poll again with more partners and a new name plate they will come together in the facade of secularism and keep the country yet again a hostage to Islamic and evangelical fundamentalism and Communist obscurantism. They are the dark forces pledged to make the progress of the country difficult. They work overtime to divide the country on caste, religious and regional lines as they have no other political goal or development agenda. It is astonishingly strange that after five years in power in the name of UPA at the time of election they are not accountable to the people. It is for the people of India to ensure that they will not give another chance to these brazenly unprincipled toadies and elect a stable government for harmony and progress.