When I wrote about the run-up to the polls, I had no idea it’d be this close. This Pioneer edit puts it well and powerfully. The end to four-and-a-half years of non-governance seems close. A must-read.
The corpse is dead
The Pioneer Edit Desk
Left ends support to Government
After hoping against hope that its alliance with the Congress, that has kept the UPA in power at the Centre since the summer of 2004, will not break over the Prime Minister’s strange obsession with the India-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, the Left has at last had to walk out of a marriage corrupted by infidelity. The alliance could have ended — and, in a sense, it did — last year when the Prime Minister threatened to resign rather than succumb to the Left’s pressure tactics, which some would describe as no less than political blackmail. An irresolute Prime Minister may have then given the impression that he was reconciled to his dream not coming true, causing the Communists to strut around triumphantly, but the persuasive charms of the US have clearly proved to be stronger than the restraining influence of the Left. A year ago the Left could have walked out of its alliance with the Congress and seized the moral high ground; today it has been duped and dumped as so much disposable baggage. Few tears, however, will be shed for the Left whose duplicity is as staggering as the deceit of the Congress. If the Congress’s claim that it is pushing the nuclear deal on account of ‘national interest’ rings hollow, the Left’s insistence that its opposition to the agreement is on account of its ideology is equally unconvincing. Had Mr Prakash Karat and his comrades been so mindful of their ideology, such as it is, they would not have joined hands with the Congress in the first place. The Left’s justification of the alliance as a tactical move to keep ‘communal forces’ out of power was, and remains, no more than bunkum. It wanted power without responsibility and so it extended support to the Congress-led UPA Government. Now that it is being denied that power and deprived of its veto, the Left sees no point in remaining with the Congress. On Tuesday, Mr Karat looked grim while announcing the Left’s decision to withdraw its support to the Government. Perhaps he realises that joyless days lie ahead for the Left.
It is only right that the Government should seek a trust vote in the Lok Sabha before it proceeds any further with the nuclear deal. Towards that end, the Congress has started stacking up numbers in the Government’s support; given the absence of ideological pretensions among those whom the Left considered its ‘natural allies’ till recently, the Congress’s task is unlikely to prove to be difficult. The Samajwadi Party has made amends with 10, Janpath and disowned the past utterances of its leaders which were none-too-flattering. Others are preparing to do business with the Congress, provided the terms and conditions offered to them make the deal acceptable. A sulking Left will not exactly be missed. But irrespective of whether or not the Congress is able to win the trust vote in the Lok Sabha, the arrangement that ruled India with disastrous consequences for the past four-and-a-half years has breathed its last. Those with a macabre sense of humour in these difficult days of skyrocketing prices and collapsing governance presided over by a Prime Minister who can think of nothing else than formalising the nuclear deal, would suggest that the Congress-Left alliance has really been dead for more than a year now. The corpse of crass opportunism formally died on Tuesday. Nobody is grieving over this well-deserved death.