Gowda's Winter of Discontent
In all likelihood the current session of parliament will show Gowda how severe the coming winter of discontent is going to be. The chill in his relations with his Congress mentors might touch sub-zero levels when the invoking of Article 356 in UP comes up for parliamentary approval. Either he has to let BJP form the government or be pushed to the brink by the Congress to secure this approval. The UP imbroglio might have well begun the countdown for the present arrangement.
Though caught in an escalating civil war between Rao and Kesari, the Congress is getting its act together and there was unanimity behind the warning notice it put out before the UF government not to take its support for granted. Either way the implications for UF are ominous.
The CPI(M)-CPI could no longer hide their marginalisation and have stepped up their public criticism but are still sulking as they are unable to extract from Gowda a single commitment on their points of criticism. The issues of federalism, the infighting in Dal etc. are only putting greater stress on the already strained seams. Scams and courts continue to be dark horses on the political chess board adding to the overall uncertainty.
BJP, the 'caged lion', has already hit the bottom in its downslide and it is only a matter of time before they uncage their saffron hordes to go on a rampage.
The first two quarters in the fiscal year unmistakably show that the economy is heading for a recession. Even if Chidambaram is lucky enough to present his second budget he would be facing an uphill task will all the controversial aspects of liberalisation, shelved for a while, demanding immediate decisions.
The ruling class establishment, which earlier showed a touch of realism willing to give UF a chance, is now aghast at the fact that trouble-shooting, adhocism and paralysis have become the order of governance. Keen observers cannot fail to note the increasing stridency with which Left is being targeted - by all shades of liberalisers from all ruling class parties - for attack, holding it primarily responsible for the ills of UF. This is how a new polarisation is being prepared for a more stable arrangement, be it VP Singh formula of Congress-Dal unity or a direct Congress takeover or mid-term elections. Is it not hightime that we, the Left, should also get our act together and come up with bold steps, both in the extra-parliamentary and the parliamentary arenas - that can match the full gravity of the unfolding national crisis?