Friday, May 1, 2009

Starved for Choice

At a time when another hung parliament is very much in the offing and the need for the hour is for the two major parties to display their national credentials and appeal, both the Congress and the BJP have gone and shot themselves in the foot.
The fact is that, despite its completely sycophant culture and dynastic obsession, the Congress is still the most acceptable national party. But time and again it fails to behave like one. The decision by the Law Ministry to recommend to the CBI to withdraw the Red Corner Notice against Ottavio Quattrocchi is the latest in a series of calculated moves by successive Congress governments to bury the Bofors case once and for all. But the timing couldn't be worse. It has brought the Bofors scandal, which was a complete non-issue at the beginning of this election season, front and centre. Various Congress spokepersons have been running from televised debates to press briefings, crying themselves hoarse that this latest decision has nothing to do with the Congress party or Madam Sonia and that various non-Congress governments have also not been able to bring the Bofors case to any sort of conclusion. But the fact remains that every single step taken to free Mr Quattrocchi from the clutches of Indian law has been taken during Congress rule, be it the defreezing of his London accounts or his much delayed and bungled up appeal for extradition in Argentina. And given that Mr Quattrocchi's connection with India is based entirely on his ties with Sonia Gandhi, its obvious where the pressure on the CBI comes from, whatever Abhishek Singhvi may say.
The BJP claim to be the only viable alternative to the Congress with pan national appeal. But the recent directive by the Supreme Court to probe Narendra Modi's role in the Gujarat riots is a slap in the face of those nationalistic ambitions. As long as the BJP believes they can get away with their rabid Hindutva politics as symbolized by Mr Modi they will have absolutely no chance of ever coming to power on their own. Obviously there is a need and space for a right wing conservative party in India's political spectrum. But not for one that denies basic fundamental rights to a section of our citizenry based on their religion. And definitely not for one that seeks to promote as a future Prime ministerial candidate, a man who failed to provide law and order during the worst genocide in Indian history; however much he may have worked for development thereafter.
Thus both these parties, have by their actions, opened the doors for the most lumpen elements of Indian politics to have a shot at power at the Centre. And given the current global scenario and India's slow but steady rise to a position of eminence in international affairs, a Third or Fourth front government ruled by the likes of Ms Mayawati or Mr Laloo Prasad is the last thing India needs.

1 comment:

kriskingle said...

absolutely spot on with the quattrochi observation. but i seriously think the era of single party politics at the national level in india is over. ten years of coalition rule, under the NDA and the UPA,has shown us the pros and cons of coalition rule. so,even though, as you say, there is a space for a national representative that satisfies a mandate of moderation and puts practical considerations of economy and foreign policy over jingoism of any sort, it need not necessarily be a single party. even a coalition of different regional parties, bound by common national interests, or more idealistically, ideologies, canbe a viable alternative. i prefer the NDA's adult approach to the UPA'schildish squabbling for power and ego, but a really ideal coalition would be one that brings together the developmental strategies of modi, the business model of laluand chandrababu naidu, the foreign policy of jaswant singh, the financial thought of chidambaram or manmohan singh, and the unifying power of amar singh. i cannot find a place for naveen patnaik, though.i feel he can play a bigger role on the national scene.