Trust Vote: The real issues

Trust vote is turning out to be no less than the general election that in any case is not too far whether the Manmohan Singh led Government wins it or not. No political party is thinking about the nation. An election at this stage would be a disaster when there is global surge in prices and economies world over is dwindling. With the date approaching for the trust vote, the number game is getting sharper. Over a decade ago, the Vajpayee Government fell by just one vote. It’s going to be extremely close.

   The three major parties have different interests in toppling the Government. The Bharatiya Janata Party is taking it as an opportunity to come back to power in spite of the fact that the nuclear deal would have been in place had the party been in power. In other words, the party has no problem with the nuclear deal. Also, its own Adviser Mr. Brijesh Mishra had lauded the deal recently by saying “we couldn’t have got it any better.” Another issue, the BJP wants to take advantage of is price rise. The BJP as well other parties are aware there is no way at this stage to contain the prices even if they come to power. All the developed nations are facing the problem of price rise. Only if someone could come out with an alternative to oil then the prices can be contained. And, this is very unlikely.

The Bahujan Samaj Party that has nothing to do with the nuclear deal is another force with a twin mission – First, to avenge Centre-‘instigated’ CBI investigations against its MPs and second, the realization of Mayawati dream of progressing from being a State power to a Central power.

The Left, the so-called third force, is like a wounded lion bereft of power that it tasted for the first time in six decades. It has now left its ideology behind and hobnobbing with parties that it once said are communal. So, nobody is thinking of the poor tax payers whose money will be spent on the elections.

Admitting that ruling establishment is pulling all stops to get smaller parties and individual MPs to vote in favour of the UPA during the trust vote, Left is also attempting to rally political parties so that the government can be toppled on July 22.CPM general secretary Prakash Karat had a meeting with party’s parliamentary leadership to decide on the strategy inside and outside Parliament.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is not likely to resign before the trust vote but assured his party that he would cast his ballot against the UPA. “It’s all a part of well-thought out plan. We will not lose a vote,” a source said. Senior leaders are also reaching out to various parts of the country to tell people how Manmohan Singh-led government has betrayed the country on the issue of nuclear deal and how it falls short of PM’s promise in Parliament.

As for Left’s efforts to garner support, so far apart from TDP no party has committed. JD (S) MP Veerendra Kumar has also promised support to Left even if party goes with the government. Left is also not relying on Deve Gowda.

But National Conference is undecided. On the other hand Left feels Jharkhand Mukti Morcha cannot be relied upon. Parties like AGP have gone over to NDA and will vote against the government.

Explaining NC’s dilemma, a Left source said, “National Conference does not want to antagonise

Congress before assembly election. NC sees itself as filling the slot left by the PDP in J&K and team with Congress after the election results.”

 

CPM also denied that senior leaders like Jyoti Basu do not agree with party’s stand to vote against the UPA. Calling it “fabricated”, CPM said “such motivated reports are being floated to hamper the rallying of all the forces who are committed to oppose the nuclear deal and bring to book UPA’s failure to tackle price rise and other problems of the people.”

 

But what’s wrong with the nuclear deal? The Prime Minister has said that the deal will open up new possibilities of cooperation not only with the US but also with other nuclear powers like Russia and France. Mr. Manmohan  Singh said that without the agreement trade in dual technologies could not become a reality. The deal, he said protects our national interest, our capacity to use the nuclear power to protect our strategic interests.”

According to sources in Sydney, Australia is waiting for the deal to happen and then reverse its stand on sale of Uranium to India. Australian Foreign Minister Mr. Stephen Smith, according to media reports, said although the Government has a strong policy of not exporting Uranium to non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty signatory countries, the ban could be overturned if the long awaited 123 agreement between India and US was finalised. “If the agreement is passed, we could join the consensus. We will wait for the agreement and then make a judgment. In the agreement, a reference to the section 123 of US Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allows the US and other countries to supply nuclear technology and fuel to India even though it is not a signatory to the NPT.”

The External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the nuclear power offered the most potent means to ensure energy security. “In my view, nuclear power appears to offer India the most potent means to realize its long-term energy security” he said.  Mr.  Mukherjee said “nuclear energy is an option and we shall have to go (for the deal).”  “Given the oil price scenario, we seriously need to consider how our energy basket may be expanded so as to meet the deficit in India’s energy requirement.”

BJP leader Venkiah Naidu had sometimes back blamed the Prime Minister for not obtaining a consensus on the Indo-US nuclear deal before going ahead with it. “The government went the opposite way. It first signed the deal and then sought to have a political consensus and is now seeking cooperation of the opposition” he added.

The Left’s contention is that the Hyde Act does not allow India to pursue its Defence nuclear programme and that the US will interfere with India’s foreign policy.

Even if the US does so it really doesn’t matter because till now it was the Soviet Union who was running India’s foreign policy. It is the shift from Russia to US that is really upsetting the Left.

So, in all situations all parties would have to devise ways to stall elections and save tax payers’ money.

 

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Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 35 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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