Daya Varma and Vinod Mubayi


The performance of the UPA in its second term of government seems to be far worse than in the first term. Although the leadership has not talked much lately about the Maoist “threat”, which is any case more a symptom than a cause, the government has not taken any steps to address the plight of Adivasis, tribals and forest dwellers, whose only friends seem to be the Maoists. BJP-led governments in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and their allied regimes in Orissa and even Bihar are doing whatever they want to, while the Congress leaders are indulging in paying homage to obscurantist, fundamentalist and religious bigots.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Leader Sonia Gandhi went all the way to Shirdi to pay homage to the departed Sathya Sai Baba and thus give extra credit to his vast empire constructed on fraud and obscurantism. The government is unduly scared of an Army corporal turned Gandhian like Anna Hazare who is threatening to free India of corruption, when this task certainly devolves on government. Finally the UPA leaders along with some otherwise busy ministers found hours to plead with the self-proclaimed “demigod” Baba Ramdev, because, for some unfathomable reason, it believes that he has millions of devotees in India and the world who would rise to topple the government should he so decide.  In short, the UPA has stooped to a level of believing in fantasies and is attempting to run a government of over one billion people on its utterly misplaced priorities.


In reality, Ramdev, whose ambition is to become the Prime Minister of India on the foundations of Hindu ethos, Yogic tricks and dubious concoctions cannot win the confidence of the Indian people. Others like him have tried in the past and failed and so will he.


Why then does the government cater to him? We are aware of many instances when a group of people with real concern for India wanted to see the PM or Mrs. Sonia Gandhi but were refused permission or allowed a mere five minutes after going through the horrors of a security check.  This happened in fact to a group which walked all the way from Bhopal to Delhi.


The PM and the Congress leadership claim to be leading a Party which stood for secularism and which at some stage declared India to be a Socialist Republic. On both these matters, no matter how shoddily these promises were implemented, the only allies of the Congress, which believes in secular India, are the left progressives and democrats, including those in the communist parties of all brands, despite the aberrant behavior of the CPM leadership in floating a Third Front or joining hands with BJP in the parliamentary debate on the US-India nuclear deal. The leftists might not be practical on all issues but they are principled nonetheless.


Our view is that the government should completely refrain from catering to the most backward segments of the society represented by Sai Baba and Baba Ramdev types. If Ramdev dies by fasting, which is admittedly highly unlikely as he is basically a coward apart from being a fraud, it will be a great benefit to India by removing another manipulator and trickster from the political scene. The UPA needs to take renewed steps to seek cooperation of the most advanced, principled and organized sections of the society. It took these steps at the outset of its first term but seems to have lost all sense of direction, not to say purpose, in its second term. Maoists will eventually learn from their own experience that they are on the wrong path.  Many of their cadre and middle leaders are sincere if misguided and, potentially, they have a lot to offer the country. Attempts should be made to treat them as a legal party and harassment of their leaders, members and sympathizers should end.


If this road is taken, a victory for a third term of the UPA is very possible. In our view, under no circumstances should the BJP have another chance to rule India and we think the Third Front is as much of a fantasy as Ramdev’s claim of having millions of followers.

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