UPA wins vote, loses credibility
2 May 2010, 0103 hrs IST,Raghu Krishnan,ET Bureau
The Congress-led UPA coalition government has defeated the cut motion
moved on the finance bill by a majority of over 80 votes in the Lok
However, in the process, the Congress appears to have struck quite a
few back-room deals with regional parties.
Consequently, 21 MPs of the Bahujan Samaj Party voted with the UPA
even while AICC(I) general secretary Rahul Gandhi has launched a
campaign in Uttar Pradesh against the government of Chief Minister
Mayawati who has been spending thousands of crores of rupees of public
money on putting up statues of herself along with icons like Ambedkar
and Kanshi Ram.
Media reports talk of a deal being struck whereby the Central Bureau
of Investigation would go slow on the disproportionate assets case
against Mayawati in return for her party's vote against the cut
Even more bizarre, however, was the appearance in the Lok Sabha of
Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren to vote against the cut motion.
It has been four months since Soren was sworn in as the chief minister
of Jharkhand at the head of a coalition including the BJP.
The Congress had then assumed the moral high ground by stating that it
could have formed the government if it had wanted to but that it had
refused to get into a deal with Soren who had had to resign from the
UPA national government a few years ago after being convicted on a
charge of murder.
In the summer of 1999, the NDA national government led by Vajpayee had
been defeated by just one vote in the Lok Sabha. At that time,
Giridhar Gamang had cast the crucial vote even though a week or two
had elapsed since he had been sworn in as chief minister of Orissa.
In the uproar which followed, India's Grand Old Party had claimed that
Gamang's vote was in order since his resignation from the Lok Sabha
had not yet been accepted. Ethical standards appear to have further
nose-dived over the last decade as indicated by Soren voting in the
Lok Sabha almost four months after he was sworn in as the head of the
JMM-BJP government in Jharkhand!
The Congress claim that Soren was part of the UPA pre-poll alliance
which was re-elected in the Lok Sabha polls of 2009 sounds not just
hollow but schizophrenic! At least Gamang was part of the Congress.
Whereas Soren voted with the Congress-led UPA national government
while heading the BJP-supported ruling coalition in Jharkhand!
When the UPA resumed office in the summer of 2009, TV news-channels
quoted sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as indicating that
the new government would not include ministers who had come under a
cloud of corruption during their first tenure. However, when push came
to shove, the DMK had its way. Since then, there have been reports
that the PMO was itself monitoring the auctioning of 3-G spectrum to
ensure a fair and transparent process. Hopefully, there will be no
further dilution of norms in the wake of last Tuesday's defeat of the
The Congress could say the BJP did worse when it was in power.
However, ruling party ministers have taken a Constitutional oath to
serve the people of India. If soldiers can die for the country, why
can't politicians live honourably!
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