Why is the BJP scared?
The beginning of the monsoon session has been stormy and there are likely to be more fireworks as days go by. There have also been unsubstantiated allegations of a tacit understanding reached between some leaders of the Congress and the BJP to ensure that things do not go out of control. This suspicion is reflected in the price rise debate agreed by all sides where there is also an understanding it seems that no one will ask for voting.
But even an independent member can force a division in the House if the discussion is under rule 184. Personally, I do not believe that Parliament can be equated to a WWF wrestling match where everything is pre-fixed by some players of the treasury and opposition benches. If that was so, the final conclusion of the cash for vote scam currently under investigation can hurt many top leaders on different sides.
But coming back to the current session, I think if the opposition parties manage to coordinate their efforts, there is enough ammunition to target the government, which is reeling under the multiple scams and scandals that continue to hit it. It is also the failure of the government to tackle the rising prices that continues to make it look vulnerable.
Dr Manmohan Singh is certainly in a combative mood and has indicated that he was not scared to discuss any issue. He knows in his heart of hearts that since he is himself not personally involved in any financial irregularity, he can take the floor and bat for his side.
But what has amazed me is the casual approach of the main opposition party—the BJP in attacking the government. The Saffron brigade wanted and got the ruling dispensation to agree to a discussion under Rule 184 on the Price Rise and corruption issue. The proposed resolution leaves a lot to be desired if one was to look at it from the opposition’s perspective. Had the BJP been serious, it should have moved a no confidence motion under Rule 196 to drive home its point. A No Confidence Motion has to be always taken up on top priority and it involves voting. On Price rise and corruption, even the Congress allies would find it hard to argue on behalf of the government. In any case, it could have been interesting to ascertain which party stands where on this subject. No one may expect the government to fall but there could have been some uncomfortable moments for the UPA dispensation.
The BJP it seems was not prepared to go for a no confidence motion since it was not sure whether all its allies would support such a motion. There are also apprehensions that many in the party opposed to the coterie that controls its functioning could have struck a dissenting note. The BJP leadership appeared to be reluctant to rock the boat since it is scared of facing the elections if such an eventuality was to arise. The crisis of the leadership remains unresolved and as there are bound to be too many claimants for the position of the party’s nominee for Prime Ministership.
Therefore status quo suits virtually everyone. There are signs of revolt within the party already and in Karnataka, Yedurappa has had his way in getting Sadanand Gowda, his nominee as the new Chief Minister. He had earlier made it clear that if the Delhi coterie tried to foist someone in the state, he would not be a silent spectator. He had warned that unlike many others who built the party in different states, he would resist any attempt to marginalize his supremacy. His reference was to the sidelining of Madan Lal Khurana in Delhi, Kailash Joshi in Madhya Pradesh, Keshubhai
Patel in Gujarat, Chaman Lal Dogra in Jammu and Kashmir and Shanta Kumar in Himachal Pradesh. Therefore it will now be interesting to watch what happens inside the BJP as we all know that the Congress is also bleeding due to self inflicted wounds.