In an unedifying spectre of political chicanery the Congress was able to undercut the Opposition unity on cut motions by cutting deals across the board. This has exposed many things- the foremost being the vulnerability of UPA-II in Parliament after claiming that it got a convincing mandate in the May 2009 elections.
This was the first real trial of strength for the Manmohan Singh government. And in every sense the Congress managers repeated the tricks and low political tactics that they displayed in the last phase of UPA-I at the time of voting on the Nuclear Deal after the Left Front withdrew support. Then, Congress managers had meekly defended the unsavoury shenanigans as a one time aberration claiming that the Congress was wedded to value-based politics. Nobody believed it then. But the manner in which the Congress has now perpetuated the sin of devaluing the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the Tax Department for its political ends has permanently damaged the reputation of these important central institutions, whose image of impartiality and independence is cardinal to the credibility of Indian democracy.
After the voting on cut motions, referring to the dubious role played by the CBI, in taming the Congress opponents, the BJP President Nitin Gadkari said, the CBI is now “the Congress Bureau of Investigation”. On the volte-face of the RJD on cut motions, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said, Lalu Prasad Yadav is not with the CPI or CPI(M) but with the CBI. He was hinting at the recent CBI decision not to go on appeal against a trial court order on the disproportionate assets case against Lalu. For long, Lalu has been a beneficiary of the selective CBI pardon on his numerous criminal cases on assets and corruption including the most infamous fodder scam. Lalu is beholden to the Congress though the former has not given him a place on the high table and keeps on repeatedly humiliating him.
The same is the case with Mulayam Singh. He and his family members are also being haunted by the CBI in corruption and disproportionate assets cases. He too gets repeatedly humiliated. But he had to break the opposition ranks along with Lalu for fear of CBI action at Congress bidding.
The most shameful of all is the U-turn of UP Chief Minister Mayawati in a blatant admission of self interest supporting the Congress within a few hours of the CBI giving some temporary reprieve in the Taj corridor and disproportionate assets probes. It was the timely 21-member BSP support and the walk out of the SP and RJD who together count for another 26 members that saved the day for the government. This also shows how unprincipled and weak-kneed our politicians have become because of the corruption they indulge in.
Since the 2009 election the Congress was riding a high horse. Convinced of its invincibility, the floor managers claimed that the cut motions will be defeated by over 300 votes. It is true that no party was too eager to immediately face the electorate by voting out this government. In the end, the Congress after exerting all its ham-handed realpolitik could muster only 289 votes against the cut motions. And for this the party cut all kinds of deals on a party to party, member to member basis. This sort of support on which it is going to depend will make governance a farce. The government with its slender majority will all the time be blackmailed by the smaller parties.
For instance, the Janata Dal(S) of Deve Gowda and the TRS of Chandra sekhar Rao performed a vanishing act to save the government. The role of unstable(politically) Sibu Soren and his act of two-timing was also provoked by sufficient threat and propitiation by the Congress managers. Inexplicably, five BJP members were absent at the time of voting. The party is still inquiring. The Congress is no doubt adept at sleazy backroom methods. The opposition does not possess this killing instinct. Perhaps they choose not to stoop so low. After all politics is not only about clinging to power by whatever it takes. For instance all these learders were under the CBI net in 1999 when the NDA government under Vajpayee faced a no-confidence motion and got defeated by a single vote. The NDA did not try to compromise the CBI to arm-twist and ensure the support of a Lalu, Mulayam, Sibu or Maya. By similar tactics, the NDA could have easily saved its government. In destroying institutions and misusing office to stay in power Congress really has no competition. Which gives some hope for the future.