Will there be a mid term poll?
A mid term poll to the Lok Sabha seems to be inevitable. This has been my view for the past several months and with each passing day, this belief is getting strengthened. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh has now accused the BJP of trying to force an early election. This allegation perhaps also exposes his anxiety given that credibility of his government has reached an all time low. Singh should realise that the BJP is incapable of forcing a mid term poll since its own house is not in order. If elections are held in the next six months, the BJP’s plight will be only slightly better than that of the Congress whose government has been facing one scam after the other during the past two years. In fact after seeing some of the debates in the Lok Sabha, especially the one on price rise during the monsoon session, a perception was created that the BJP and the Congress were hand in glove since neither wanted to disturb the status quo.
Therefore if a situation has arisen due to which a mid term election looks a possibility despite the fact that there are more than two and half years of the government’s tenure still to go, it is because of the Congress party’s own malfunctioning. It will be these internal contradictions and intense power struggle, which will lead to early elections and not any action of the BJP. Historically, whenever the Congress has lost power, it has been because of its own squabbles. The examples of 1977 (the walkout from the party by Jagjiwan Ram, HN Bahuguna etc to form the Congress for Democracy became the main booster at the right time for JP’s movement soon after Elections were announced at the fag end of the Emergency), 1989 (VP Singh, Arun Nehru etc walking out) and 1996 (formation of Congress-Tewari and revolt against PV Narasimha Rao) are for everyone to see. There maybe no VP Singh now to rock the Congress boat but it has started sinking under the weight of its own scams and inept handling of various issues. The UPA government is likely to be a victim of its own doings rather than those of the opposition parties. The Opposition is merely going to take advantage of the situation and drive the nails in the coffin of the alliance.
In the latest instance where all hell has broken loose after the ‘discovery’ of a new note on the 2G scam, which lays the blame on the door of then finance minister P.Chidambaram, the role of the PMO has come under scrutiny. It is being said that the then Cabinet Secretary and some officials of the PMO had influenced the drafting of the note. It is being alleged that this note was ‘leaked’ out to pit two Cabinet ministers (Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee) against each other. The then Cabinet Secretary and some officials had insisted that certain points discussed during meetings should not be put on record. However, some over cautious and diligent officials attached to Mukherjee put everything on record in their files. The Cabinet Secretary and PMO officials it seems were unaware of it. But when things have come out in the open, these notings and some other communication exchanges seem to have bailed out Mukherjee while putting the PMO in the dock. According to reliable sources, Mukherjee told the Prime Minister in New York that such and such things were discussed in meetings attended by such and such people. He also told him exactly who said what.
Obviously, the note has now put the central government in a fix. Certain sections of the media are trying to give the Chidambaram angle while others the Mukherjee angle. What is most important is the PMO angle, which has the biggest role in the preparation of the note. It is because of this that the government is facing a big danger.
Another dimension to the entire controversy is that so far in the 2G scam, it was only the DMK that was facing the flak. But according to the latest note, the Congress too seems to have come under suspicion. Overall the credibility of the Central government is so low that no one is willing to accept what various ministers wanting to defend Chidambaram have been saying. The home minister who was then the finance minister finds himself in a very unenviable position. In fact, his position is getting very vulnerable and it will take all the combined might of the Centre as well as generosity of the Apex Court to keep him out of the blame game.
On top of it, the Congress leadership is facing its biggest challenge in how to deal with the latest crisis. Sonia Gandhi has been unwell and despite all the efforts of some top Congress leaders to project that she was totally on top of the situation, we have to understand that she cannot perhaps devote as much time to the party affairs as she would want to.
The crisis is deepening and the country is possibly heading for a mid term election in 2012. This note has ensured that the winter session later this year will not have much business transacted the way things stand today. Of course two months is a long time in politics but the government is in real trouble regardless of what happens in the 2G-scam proceedings. It is on account of loss of credibility and failure to govern coupled with the unearthing of so many scams.
The Prime Minister is right on the possibility of the mid term poll but if it happens, it will be because of his and his government’s overall failing. We have to now figure out if the mid term polls will be held in the first half of 2012 along with the state assembly polls or in the second half. Will the new President and Vice President next year be also elected by a new Lok Sabha?