BJP unfazed by Sonia aggression?
Parliament continues to be stalled by the principal opposition organization, the Bharatiya Janata Party and it appears that the entire Monsoon session is going to be washed out given the Saffron Brigade’s refusal to give up its demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister. It is evident that the BJP which has been accused of being hand in glove with the ruling coalition on many occasions by several politicians and political analysts is determined to reclaim the opposition space it lost to the civil society segments led by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev. The BJP leaders are trying to ensure that the party emerges once again as the face of the Opposition in this country and therefore as the natural alternative during the next Lok Sabha elections.
However, even many supporters of the BJP feel that it should not hold up the proceedings of Parliament and allow the debate on the coalgate scam to take place on the floor of the House. After all Parliament is the appropriate forum for such discussions. Regarding its demand for the resignation of the PM, the BJP must realise that Parliamentary democracy is also about numbers and as long as the Prime Minister enjoys the confidence of the House, no body can do anything about it. Therefore, if it is so keen to oust the PM, it should go in for a no confidence Motion under rule 196 and await its outcome. The party has already made its point on the coalgate, which should be thoroughly investigated by an impartial mechanism, which could include setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee panel.
The developments in Parliament seem to have provoked the Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi sufficiently and she has been in a combative mood during this session. She first made LK Advani withdraw his remark that the UPA-II was “illegitimate’’ and subsequently told young MPs who met her to take on the BJP head on. On Tuesday, she told her party not to be blackmailed by the BJP and fight it out following which the party spokesperson Manish Tewari said that “lakhs of Congress workers will get on to streets to expose the BJP”. The BJP has not relented and many commentators believe that Sonia’s aggression is a desperate attempt to egg on her party and the allies who have been witnessing things rather passively. “There should have been no need for the Congress President to display such aggression as the task should have been done by her political managers and party leaders both in the organization and the government. The reason she has had to take things in her own hands is because her party seems to have failed her”, a senior leader said on condition of anonymity. The ground level situation in a way echoes the views of this leader since none of the UPA allies nor any senior party men and ministers other than the spokespersons have tried to take on the BJP for making unsubstantiated allegations. The trouble with this government seems to be that it is not doing anything to change the strong perception, which exists against it. And as long as it exists, the government and the Congress party are losing credibility. Most of the time, the government/party appears to be in a reactive mode rather than setting the agenda. The Congress president can perhaps see this and is thus making a serious attempt at inspiring her party men to take on its adversaries. But a lot more needs to be done. Toning up the party with new inductions could be the first step.