In the second year of the Congress Government’s second tenure in governing India it is hard to find any achievements worthy of praise or offering bouquets. On the contrary there are more brickbats that can be showered on Dr Manmohan Singh’s Government. Even if some other Congress luminary had been in office, the record would not have been much better. The problem is fundamental in that the malaise that afflicts the Congress Party is systemic.
As the Prime Minister sits down with his UPA II colleagues for a celebratory dinner, the rhetoric that would flow profusely will not drown the dismal record of the last two years from national security, internal security, galloping inflation, unprecedented corruption and to foreign policy failures.
|Despite a renowned economist as India’s Prime Minister for the last eight years, the Government has not been able to regain control of the national economy. Inflation is at galloping rates and the prices of essential commodities for the subsistence of the common Indian are spiraling daily.
In terms of national security, India today has to face two major adversaries, that is China and Pakistan and the Government too belatedly recognizes that their strategic nexus is a matter of concern for India’s national security. More so as China affects an obtrusive military presence in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the Northern Areas. Both China and Pakistan have outstripped India in terms of military buildup and nuclear weapons arsenal. India in the last eight years has yet to make commensurate gains in her war preparedness to meet this combined challenge from China and Pakistan.
The internal security of India seems to be frayed with the Congress Government yet to gain mastery and full control over the situation. In this case India cannot fully blame outside forces for the troubles as predominantly Indian internal security threats arise from political misgovernance. No worthwhile political outreach is visible from India’s political leadership to soothe and allay the disaffection in the restive regions. Afzal Guru and Kasab are living reminders of the impotence of the Indian State in imposing timely deterrence on confirmed terrorists and murderers of innocent Indians.
Despite a renowned economist as India’s Prime Minister for the last eight years, the Government has not been able to regain control of the national economy. Inflation is at galloping rates and the prices of essential commodities for the subsistence of the common Indian are spiraling daily. The constant refrain from the Government is that all this is due to forces beyond Government control. Is that so, really? In the last two years without the Leftist Parties impeding the Congress Government’s economic policies, the record should have been different.
Under the Congress Government II, India has witnessed unprecedented corruption scams and financial bungling running into lakhs of crores of rupees, something never witnessed before. The scamsters are not being brought to speedy justice by Fast Track Courts as any such moves are reportedly being impeded at the the instance of political bigwigs who fear that ultimately the buck may stop at their doors. The Prime Minister’s common refrain that all this arises from compulsions of coalition politics is a feeble argument.
In terms of India’s foreign policy failures the accumulated results of India’s flawed policies of the last eight years of Congress rule are now coming to roost. Pakistan which has been the pet obsession of the Indian Prime Minister without paying heed to the imperatives of India’s national security requirements has become even more recalcitrant. The Indian Prime Minister’s appeasement inclinations towards Pakistan have emboldened to perceive India with disdain and political arrogance.
India’s relations with China in terms of strategic and military terms have become tenser as India’s policy establishment belatedly realizes that its conciliatory policy initiatives towards China have not borne any fruit.
India’s foreign policy failures under the Congress Government have addedly arisen from the present Prime Minister’s total tilt towards Washington where a propensity had developed to view all foreign policy challenges from Washington’s perspectives. The result has been a singular preoccupation with Washington at the cost of neglecting India’s traditional friends.
The question which some may ask is that if everything is so bad with the Congress Government, then how could the Congress Party have been voted back into power for a second tenure? The answer is simple because in 2009, it seemed that ‘there was no other alternative’. But people have now started looking for alternatives as the results of Sate Assembly elections in Tamilnadu, West Bengal etc would indicate.
Indians can only hope that the Prime Minister would be able to remove the blinkers from his eyes and recognize that he is in a state of severe disconnect from the issues and challenges that confront India.
Spate of Controversies during UPA's Second Term
The second term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has been marked by a few successes in assembly polls and a spate of controversies, including the Adarsh housing society, 2G spectrum and Commonwealth Games scams. The controversies have led to resignations and arrest of some high-profile politicians.
Timeline of major events during UPA-II
- May 22, 2009:
Manmohan Singh takes oath as prime minister of second UPA government.
- Oct 22, 2009:
Congress wins polls in Arunachal Pradesh, emerges single largest party in Haryana; wins polls in alliance with Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.
- Dec 23, 2009:
Congress-Jharkhand Vikas Morcha Alliance wins 25 seats in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly.
- April 1, 2010:
Right to Education becomes a fundamental right.
- April 18, 2010:
Shashi Tharoor resigns as minister of state for external affairs following controversy over his mentoring of Kochi Indian Premier League franchise.
- Nov 9, 2010:
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan resigns over Adarsh Housing Society scam.
- Nov 9, 2010:
Congress removes party MP Suresh Kalmadi as secretary of parliamentary party following allegations of corruption in the preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
- Nov 14, 2010:
DMK's A.Raja resigns as communications and IT minister over 2G spectrum scam.
- Nov 16, 2010:
Comptroller and Auditor General's report on 2G controversy tabled in parliament.
- Nov 24, 2010:
Congress fares poorly in Bihar assembly polls getting only four seats.
- Jan 19, 2011:
Supreme Court expresses displeasure over the government's reluctance in coming forward with full information on the black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks.
- Jan 19, 2011:
Prime minister carries out first reshuffle of cabinet.
- Feb 17, 2011:
Government cancels controversial S-band spectrum deal between Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation, and private firm Devas Multimedia.
- Feb 24, 2011:
Joint parliamentary committee (JPC) formed to look into the 2G spectrum controversy following opposition's relentless demand that led to wash-out of winter session of parliament.
- March 3, 2011:
Supreme Court quashes appointment of P.J. Thomas as central vigilance commissioner over the appointing committee not considering relevant material, including a pending criminal case against him in the Palmolein import case.
- April 9, 2011:
Government forms joint drafting panel on Lokpal Bill following a fast by social activist Anna Hazare.
- April 25, 2011:
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrests Kalmadi over criminal conspiracy in buying timing, scoring and result (TSR) systems from a Swiss company at an inflated cost.
- May 13, 2011:
Congress wins elections in Assam, Kerala; loses Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and by-elections in three states; wins in West Bengal as junior partner of Trinamool Congress
- May 20, 2011:
DMK MP and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi arrested for involvement in 2G spectrum scam and sent to Tihar jail.
Cartoon by Prof. Mahendra Bhawsar
Spate of Controversies - Source IANS