Monday, May 23, 2011

An occasion to Commend UPA-II

The second anniversary of UPA-II just went by. And to celebrate the momentous occasion the government had a quiet coalition anniversary dinner on Sunday. It was also celebrated at Tihar in a more subdued manner where the other ‘stalwarts’ associated with the present UPA had their dinner.

And this pretty well sums up the overall scenario. Governance and corruption have always been complementary to Indian political system but never have we seen their public display of affection as openly as we see it now.

When Manmohan Singh took oath on May 22,2009 as the head of UPA –II one would have expected that he would go all out on improving governance because this time he didn’t have to deal with the tantrums of the Leftist. The more than comfortable majority that they UPA got was seen as the kind of political platform that government needed to further its political, social and economic policy.

Did they achieve those goals?

What they achieved in this two year and would that count as a respect to the political mandate that they got from the mass is something that I leave upon the readers to decide.

Remember the gruesome attack on Mumbai? Many political pundits and amateurs analyst said that this was the last nail on the coffin for the Manmohan Singh led UPA-I and it should forget the general election of 2009 and instead focus on 2014. The fact that the Maharashtra Congress Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister managed to cling on to their chair for long even after the bloody slap on the face of ‘rising India’ didn’t help the image of UPA.

But the ever unpredictable ‘Janta-Janaradhan’ had other ideas as it voted Congress back into power. And Manmohan Singh was back at helms. And back was Vilas Rao Deshmukh, who was promoted as a Union Minister and also rewarded was Shivraj Patil by way of being appointed Punjab governor.

And what did we see next? Let’s say in between May 2009 and May 2011? 

In a nutshell we saw, Shashi Tharoor resigning from MEA over the IPL controversy, Maharashtra Chief minister Ashok Chavan resigning over the Adarsh Housing scam, India making news internationally thanks to  Common Wealth scam and the bearded Suresh Kalmadi, the ‘discovery’ of the 2G scam leading to A.Raja and Kanimozhi going for a walk at Tihar, the more than amicable Antrix-Devas S-band deal, the high profile P.J Thomas fiasco, the government love for the black money hoarders and the subsequent spanking by the SC .

And please keep in mind when I use the word ‘resign’ that doesn't mean they took up the moral responsibility and resigned but they were forced to resign, not by their political bosses but because of the pressure built up by the mass and the media.

So it won't be an exaggeration to say that we were treated to a spectacular display of UPAs love for the Corrupt and Corruption.

To top it all we were also privileged to see the government’s discomforts in India rising against Corruption.
And all this happened in two years time. 

But then surely UPA might have done some good for the country, after all even the East India Company did some good for the native ‘India’.

Political scientists and economist have said that the performance of the government should be judged on three aspects: one is governance, the other is economic liberalization, and the third is inclusive growth.

When we say governance, we should thank the UPA-II for appointing someone like P.J Thomas as CVC, because he had seen and experienced corruption personally and up-close, it’s a different matter that the learned Supreme Court chose to ignore this qualification. The UPA also did well to propose the name of Binayak Sen as a member of the Planning Commission's steering committee on health for he has seen what the ‘the oppressed and the weak (naxalites) need. We should also thank the UPA that your or my name was not in the list of India’s most wanted that was handed over to Pakistan or I would have been sitting in some dingy jail of Karachi rather than writing this and you would have been sitting with some Pathan police guy at an outpost in Rawalpindi.

Now let’s talk about economic liberalization. UPA’s policy did manage to economically liberate the few that it considered meritorious. The names of A Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Karunanidhi comes to mind. 

It allowed these ‘oppressed’ section of the society to get freedom from the clutches of poverty that had hindered their growth.

And as for inclusive growth, the least said the better. 

This term has got a new definition and a new population segment in these two years. Now when we talk about inclusive growth we need to discuss it through a complete perspective.

Inclusive growth in the  schemes of the present government has now been limited to the few rich and prosperous. For the likes of Raja and Kalmadi. 

They have been spared the 'comforts' of paying for the high petrol and domestic gas prices and they have also been kept out of the sting of what the economist call ‘inflation’.These ‘comforts’, the eye catching double digit inflation have been kept aside exclusively for the working class. It’s exclusively for the middle class.

But for all these comforting 'truths' we need to thanks our prime minister, Manmohan Singh. For he is doing all this for the “Aam Aadmi’.

After all it’s not every day we have a PM who has been a governor of the RBI. Sure he understands the intricacies of economic better than you and me.

Open your eyes and keep everything else aside as the magic of UPA-II has just begun, the three years ahead will bring such spectacles.

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