Celebrating second anniversary of its second term, the UPA government is presently going through very tough time. The Assembly elections of five states indicate that the Congress leading the UPA government is losing its hold on states. In a bid to firm its hold on the states, the Congress seems to create pressure on the Centre to show non-cooperating attitude towards the states ruled by the Opposition. As a result, it slows down the pace of development causing hardship to people in the states but it will facilitate the Congress to get political mileage.  If the strategists of the Congress assume that they will gain power in the Opposition-ruled states by non-cooperating them, it is unlikely to happen, which has been corroborated by poll results of the Assembly elections in five states. The Congress managed to get success only in Assam. The party shrunk to five seats in Tamil Nadu, it has gone out of power in Puducherry, and it has put all efforts to form a government in Kerala and finally it has got piggyback riding on Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. The results of several by-elections are disappointing for the Congress, particularly Andhra Pradesh by-polls. Despite all these, the Congress is not only expressing its satisfaction but also giving suggestions to the Opposition parties. Perhaps the Congress is not ready to understand that it is getting weaker in state after state.

Amongst the leading states being ruled by the Congress, only Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh are the big ones. Of these, the Congress is compelled to go with the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra but in Andhra Pradesh, Jaganmohan Reddy has become a big threat. It has been more than two decades since the Congress has got out of power in the two big states of North India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. These two big states influence the national politics on a larger note. Despite all-out effort, the Congress failed to make its impact on these two states. Yet the Congress claims that it is the biggest and strongest party. This paradox compels people to think that they have learnt to distinguish between the general elections and the Assembly elections.

As the election is drifting closer in Uttar Pradesh, the Central government is trying to prove that there has been no development in the state because of the non-performance of the BSP government. It is seen that the way, duo Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi launched a diatribe against the government in the state session of the Congress held in Varanasi it appears that the Central government is not ready to understand its responsibility for the state Uttar Pradesh. The Congress played an immature politics after the clash between farmers and police at Bhatta Parsaul in Greater Noida, rather it showed the party’s irresponsible attitude. It is a well-known fact that the Central government has not been able to amend the Land Acquisition Act for the last seven years and hence the farmers of Bhatta Parsaul did not get fair compensation of their lands. The way Rahul Gandhi blamed the UP government for it, shows that the Congress is bound to do petty politics and the party is not in a mood to understand its responsibility towards the farmers. The strategy of the BSP government is also beyond understanding. On one hand, the BSP extends its help to the Central government in order to embarrass the BJP, on the other it puts blame on the Centre for ignoring the state. The BSP can possibly strengthen its political position in the state with this strategy, but it will not benefit the people. The ambition of Rahul Gandhi to embolden the strength of the Congress in the state again may be on move, but the BSP will not let it happen. In such a situation, both the parties will be fighting against each- other and consequently the Central government will not give due help to Uttar Pradesh. The Congress publically cries for the backwardness in Budelkhand, but the Uttar Pradesh government has got a meager pie even after the assurance made by the Prime Minister himself. In such a situation how will the region develop?

Going by the success of the Congress in the last two Lok Sabha elections, it is clear that the party has still clout on the national level. The party has got more seats in 2009 in comparison with 2004 elections, but this trend is unlikely to continue as its strength in the Assembly elections has fallen down. In some of the states it had to satisfy with its third or fourth position. The dominance of regional parties in the Assembly elections of the five states was obvious. Now the number of such states is increasing and it is because of not receiving due financial help from the Centre on time. The development has stalled owing to lack of cooperation between the Centre and the states. There might be a different opinion on it whether the states themselves are responsible for lagging behind or it is due to biasedness of the Centre, but it is unambiguous that the face-off between the Centre and the states will not benefit anyone. The UPA government promised in its second spell to eradicate problems of people, but even after two years the government seems to be far off from its promises. The government is running so many programmes which can edge out problems of common people, but the Congress party is using them for gaining political mileage. This is the reason the people get partial benefit from these programmes. In the light of Centre’s non-cooperation with the states ruled by the Opposition, the Congress cannot prove to be a well-wisher for people in such states. Perhaps, aam aadmi is also not accepting any claim of the Congress that it makes time and again and so it is getting weaker in states.

The UPA government is entering its third year of the second term of ruling. It will be better that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should not let political ambition of the UPA allies, particularly the Congress, be a hurdle for the development of the nation. It is now expected from him because he himself has no political ambition. Undoubtedly, he is a Congress leader, but being a Prime Minster he has more responsibility for those people who are victims of the non-cooperative attitude or tug-of-war between the ruling party and the Opposition.                                

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on May 22, 2011translated by the English Editorial)