Just last year the Congress was voted back to power. It was liberated from the clutches of the Left Front. The opposition was in disarray. The UPA government appeared strong and stable. Today the opposition continues to be in disarray. But the UPA government appears vulnerable. It could even fall. How can this happen?
Less than a year ago the government appeared strong because the economy looked sound, prices were stable and most opposition parties were impotent. Opposition leaders could be blackmailed by the government through misuse of the CBI. The CBI is misused not by launching prosecutions. It is misused by withholding prosecutions. The threat of prosecution is held as the Damocles sword above the heads of vulnerable opposition leaders to blackmail them into submission. Timing is at the heart of the strategy for misusing the CBI. Now things have changed.
Prices have spiraled to unbearable heights for mass of the people. The corruption and mismanagement of those in authority has been spectacularly exposed by the Commonwealth Games scandal. The misgovernance and threat to national security is highlighted by worsening in Kashmir and Maoist held areas. And opposition leaders are sick of being victims of blackmail through misuse of the CBI. In misuse of the CBI there has been overkill. Opposition would like to stop the government’s misuse of the CBI. Opposition itself would like to misuse the CBI by seizing the government. It could possibly muster the numbers to topple the government.
Opposition leaders could conceivably have mustered numbers earlier too. But they were inhibited by the fact that there is no single leader who could unite opposition parties to form an alternative government. The fear of a mid-term poll restrained the opposition from any precipitate action. The opposition still does not have a leader who could lead an alternative government. But that does not matter any more. Galloping inflation and collapsed governance have changed ground realities. The opposition no more fears a mid-term poll as it did earlier.
Barring the Left, by today’s calculations each opposition or UPA dissident party believes that in a mid-term poll it would increase its tally in parliament at the expense of the Congress. That is why the UPA government has become vulnerable. If a calamitous event like the failure of the Commonwealth Games occurs the possibility of government falling before this year ends can no longer be ruled out. The rest of this year should be watched closely.