OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

Time may be running out for Rahul “Godot” Gandhi

The Left parties today stepped up pressure insisting that the Government should not go ahead with the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and take their support for granted as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes a statement on the pact in Parliament tomorrow. CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat asserted in Thiruvananthapuram there was no going back on the Left’s opposition to the deal and tersely reminded the UPA that it is running the Government with the support of the Left. The Left’s warnings come after the Prime Minister called the Left’s bluff in an exclusive interview to a Kolkota based newspaper daring the Left to do whatever it wanted to including withdrawal of support. Piling on to the bark from the Left was mandal messiah VP Singh. Accusing the UPA Government of subversion of democracy, Jan Morcha leader V P Singh today demanded resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for ignoring the concern of the “majority opinion” against Indo-US nuclear deal.

In what was clear of evidence of “all bark, not bite” response from the Left, the CNN-IBN reported that CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the phone and he is believed to have clarified that while their opposition to the deal itself continues, the Left will not destabilise the government. The BJP meanwhile has been sitting pretty taking potshots at the Left for not walking the talk.

Offstumped takes a critical look at the political big picture as the stage shifts to the Parliament this week.

In what maybe another instance of the Law of Unintended Consequences at work, Rahul “Godot” Gandhi must be ruing his stars. If the young Gandhi was hoping to be a player in the 2009 polls he maybe late getting into the game. The nasty exchange between the Prime Minister and Karat may not result in withdrawal of support next but the Prime Minister may have unwittingly served notice on his own government by daring the Left to withdraw support. The state of affairs in Kerala and Bengal will deter the Left from taking any precipitate action right now but let us be clear the wedge has finally been driven. It is a matter of time before the outside support falls apart. In all likelihood the Left will begin with total legislative non-cooperation in Parliament paralyzing the UPA Government from bringing in any new legislation that does not fit the Left’s grand scheme of things. The elections in BJP ruled Gujarat followed by those in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will likely be the tipping point.

The Left’s twin political objectives would be to ensure its leverage in National Politics through its current tally of 60 odd Lok Sabha seats is maintained or improved while the BJP is not allowed to regain its lost momentum. The first objective is in serious doubt of being met under current political conditions in Kerala and Bengal. The second too could be seriously threatened by a Narendra Modi victory in Gujarat. In such a scenario it is likely the Left would look to cut its losses and take its chances with a mid-term poll rather than wait it out till 2009 and risk facing further anti-incumbency  in its pocket boroughs as well as a resurgent BJP that may have retained M.P. and Rajasthan.

Offstumped Bottomline: The countdown to draw of curtains on the UPA-Left Axis of Evil may have just begun with the Prime Minister daring the Left to withdraw support. And that means time is running out for Rahul “Godot” Gandhi to intern. The smart ones will take their cue from Gujarat and get ready for snap polls.


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