Friday, July 25, 2008

Indian parliamentary democracy at the lowest ebb

On July 22 governments in two democracies in the world went under votes in their parliaments on issues vital to their positions and both the places challenged by the Leftists formations and at end of the day they emerged victorious. French President Sarkozy put constitutional reform bill into the parliament and got it passed by the margin of a single vote.

The lower house of the Indian Parliament, the Lok Sabha reposed trust in the Council of Ministers led by Manmohan Singh. The ruling dispensation won the trust motion by the margin of 19 votes. The 13-day long drama which was playing over the primetime since the Left withdrew support from UPA reached its climax when three Members of Parliament of principal opposition party BJP rushed to the well of the House with bags full of currency notes during the debate and they alleged that Amar Singh of Samajwadi Party has tried to lure them to abstain during the vote.

The first time in the history of Indian parliamentary democracy, the level of corruption charge have gone so thick inside the House.

Three issues come to the fore after the Left withdrew their support- the level of Parliamentary democracy at the lowest ebb, Indian prime minister's post undermined, and emergence of Mayawati as a leader of third front.

The principal opposition party BJP which is right to the centre and the Left parties which was supporting the government from outside all through four and half years are opposing the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation and voted against the motion. The NDA led by the BJP and the Left front humbled severely in the much-hyped battle. Both the dispensations are in the utter state of confusion and at the crossroads.

BJP doesn't have the substantive point to show why she is opposing the deal. BJP wanted to topple the government and take advantage of the present situation of double-digit inflation and its continued momentum of state legislature victories one after another. It started well but it dragged its feet after the so called third front parties put Mayawati into centrestage and talk of her becoming the PM in case government falls.

Left formations have to fight Congress in the three states where they are ghettoized- in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. So, it was imperative on their part to get rid of Congress and they found the right opportunity when inflation makes people on boil and nuclear deal deadline is at the striking distance.

Now, the UPA has a chance to come clean by putting reforms on higher pedestal- in banking, insurance and pensions etc. But, it is not that everything becomes hunky dory now after departure of the biggest stumbling block. While amending the bill the government will have to really sweat it out and expect no help from the opposition parties in season of distrust and confusion.

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