Posted by : Shoumik Das Tuesday, May 28, 2013

By Gautam Mukherjee
The bizarre display of strained bonhomie and brazen self- congratulation put up by the denizens at the apex of UPA II, namely the ‘triumvirate’, as Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid describes Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, singularly fails to impress.
That it reminds one of Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, the original triumvirate that ruled Rome, all vying for the laurel wreath that eventually went to Julius, is no doubt a mirage of inappropriateness here. And this despite all the protestations of essential harmony between ‘Church’ and ‘state’ as it were.

Because here, the Prime Minister is a seat-warming facilitator to all the fabulously rich Crassus’s. Nothing like having an ostensibly clean man at the helm that enables all the looters. Caesar today is actually Calpurnia, totally above suspicion, at least mention thereof, and Pompey is Hamlet, wondering if it is worth his while turning into Julius.
Communist leader Sitaram Yechury, not given to strong language, says a minority Government is surviving with the help of the CBI. By this he means that the CBI is being used to menace both the SP and BSP leadership because they are people who have massive corruption charges against them. And so, they are constrained to prop up the minority Government. At least till they see their way clear. And loyal general secretary Digvijay Singh does not think it is at all a good idea to render CBI autonomous no matter what anyone else says.
The BJP meanwhile is beefing up its arsenal for an assault on Uttar Pradesh, with both Prime Ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi and his trusted aide Amit Shah concentrating on raising its tally there in the coming General Election.
The idea being that if Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh fall into the BJP lap, as they well might in the forthcoming Assembly election preparatory to the General Election; then wresting a larger number of seats in UP too, at the General Election, could make the road to a minimum of 175 seats for the NDA somewhat easier.
The adage is: “He who controls UP with its 80 Parliamentary seats, controls the Centre,” and Mulayam Singh Yadav knows this one very well.
But all these moves are probably wishes looking for horses. What is glaringly bad here and now is the UPA II report card on completion of nine straight years in power. But nobody seems to have noticed within the portals of power.
It is almost as if the Congress and its allies are daring someone, anyone, to put them out of their misery. The burdens of high office have worn them down. And yet the Opposition and the contenders, even the pretenders, are still at a loss. They are too busy setting their own houses in order and adjusting their draw strings.
They cannot, it is clear, do much to exploit the dismal performance of the ruling dispensation in all matters economic, political and even social. That will fall to the wisdom of the voting public.
Meanwhile, the UPA report card is a shabby effort made sleazy by the indictment of not just civil society, the courts of law, and the media, but the bitter truth.
It is a harsh reality, of inflation, falling growth figures, dwindling investment, calumny, and worse-ridicule. But the Congress Party head said she is very satisfied by the performance of the Government, and that the Dilliwallahs do not understand just how much the UPA regime has, in fact, succeeded.

This kind of propaganda-speak comes forth because Sonia Gandhi lives in a time warp at Indira Gandhi’s elbow, and believes India still lives in its villages, and the villagers like her and her party just fine. So all is well.
But in Indira Gandhi’s time the villages accounted for 80 per cent of the population, and not the 53 per cent it does today. And they, nice peasants, were content with a lot less.
There was no urban vote to speak of in the time of Mrs Indira Gandhi. Ah, but there is now, over 40 per cent worth, both knowledgeable and aspirational.
And in a fragmented polity, with many regional parties claiming their share, both the BJP and the Congress will have to take what they can get, wherever they can get it.
Sonia Gandhi’s attempt at rural bravado seems to suggest she concedes the urban vote. But can Congress and the UPA win without it? Win meaning form a viable coalition they can lead. The answer is, actually, no.
The polls say Congress and its allies cannot win. So like the millionaires on the Titanic after it had struck the iceberg, their spokesmen and their PR agents speak of unfinished business, and try, weak as green tea, to pour scorn on a divided Opposition, praying all the while, no doubt, that they stay that way.
Therefore the wishful horses are just as popular with the Government as they are with the Opposition. The economic data is dreadful. Enumerating the ways is horrifying. Other matters, governance, reputation, truth, lies, all of it is in flux and chaos. This is Tsar Nicholas and his Tsarina in the grip of Rasputin. The end is not going to be pleasant.
Meanwhile, like a taped message looped to repeat endlessly inside a marionette, the PM intones:
“The economic situation is turning around. Inflation is coming under control. The fiscal deficit is being brought under control. The current account deficit is high, but we will bring it down gradually.”
The marionette intones a lot more: about agriculture, the GDP, food grain production, scams, natural resource allocations, transparency, quality of governance, foreign affairs, even relations with China.
And guess what? It says everything is alright and going to get even better.

Source : Niti Central 

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