India's Congress Government completed two years of rule this week having come into power in May 2004 with just 145 seats in a 500 seats plus Indian Parliament. The fractured election mandate resulted in the Congress Party being able to rig up a coalition with the outside support of the Communist Parties having 61 seats and a disparate group of other small regional parties.
In May 2004 when Dr. Manmohan Singh was anointed as the Prime Minister by the Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, great hopes and expectations were raised that India would be steered towards a more modern, progressive, dynamic and a forward looking visionary future.
This week the Congress Government celebrated two years of its rule alongwith its coalition partners at a formal political function amidst much claims of successes in governance. There was a lot of back-slapping and mutual back-scratching and claims being made that on a report card of 10 points it would give itself 6/10 or 7/10. It was surprising as the national backdrop to these celebrations provided a dismal picture as follows:
India stood badly divided on the 'reservations' issue.
Doctors were on strike all over India on the above issue.
The stock-market went into a severe nose-dive crash.
India was reeling under severe power cuts of electricity.
Ethnic genocide of Hindus was taking place in Doda and Jammu by Pakistan-controlled terrorist groups.
Pakistani sponsored terrorism continued unabated in Jammu and Kashmir.
Huge caches of illegal arms and RDX explosive were seized from pro-Pakistani sleeper cells in Western and Southern India.
One could go on enumerating such incidents which were reflecting that India stood besieged both from within and without and that the Government in power was becoming ineffective to deal with this worrisome state of affairs. Let us delve a little more on the failures of this Government across a wide front of issues.
In the foreign policy field, under this Government, India's national security interests stood severely compromised by a policy of drift under Communist Parties dictates so as to facilitate a backdoor entry of Nepal's Maoists insurgents into the political system and their eventual capture of the political system there. This Government's pro-US policies are constantly under attack from its main coalition partner ' the Communists. Pakistan is being molly-coddled by this Government despite its unrestrained proxy war and terrorism against India. This is one aspect which enjoys the Indian Communists support, probably as it is in convergence with Chinese aims. In Sri Lanka one again finds India's foreign policy adrift this time under the compulsions of its Tamil coalition partner and another Nepal is in the making. India under this Government in the foreign policy field has nothing much to show or claim credit after two years of governance.
In the internal security field, the situation is of grave concern. India under this Government has not firmly told Pakistan that no peace dialogue will take place until Pakistan ceases terrorism incidents against India in which scores of innocent Indian lives are lost every other day. On the contrary , the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers come up with a constant refrain after each terrorist massacre that: 'This will not be allowed to interrupt the peace dialogue'. Rather strange that an Indian Government should allow unending atrocities against its citizens.
More graver is the spread of Maoist and Naxalites war groups gaining control over wide areas in Andhra, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and even in Maharashtra. In fact it is a long contiguous corridor that has emerged from Andhra in the South to the Nepal border in the North. The Government writ does not run in these areas and it is a poor reflection on this Government in terms of internal security management and maintenance of law and order.
In India's domestic political field what marks the Congress Government's two years of rule are constitutional improprieties, destabilizing non-Congress Party State Governments and Indian Muslim minority appeasement policies. The latest addition is the controversial 27% OBC quota reservations in institutes of higher education and thereby stifling merit. In brief the socio-political policies are being determined by this Government not by higher aims of improving India's social fabric but by narrow political aims of capturing minority and OBC vote banks for the coming elections. The overall result of all this would be more social divisiveness than that existed in the old caste system; and in fact the caste system is being perpetuated by such reservationist policies. In fact the politicians are oblivious to a mass backlash that could emerge as a result of such short-sighted policies.
In its much vaunted concern for the farmers and India's poor there have been a lot of 'yojanas' (projects) carrying high sounding political names but poor on delivery. Farmers' suicides have not abated in these two years and the poor man continues to groan under rising prices.
The Congress Government as it would be seen has had no time to devote to the management of national security, foreign policy, internal security or economic betterment. All its time has gone into focusing on divisive policies. Even under British colonial rule was there ever such a focus on divisive policies.
Finally, all that one can say after the above survey, is ,that the Congress Government's two year report card is poor and at a very generous rating it does not deserve more than 3/10. Its report card is politically bleak as the Congress Government failed to enthuse and stir the Indian nation towards higher achievements; all that it has offered has been politically and socially divisive policies that have divided India rather than uniting India.