The political storm created after the exit of Trinamool Congress from UPA over the Centre’s decisions of allowing FDI in retail sector, diesel price hike and capping the numbers of subsidized LGP cylinders has now settled down with the SP baking up the Manmohan Singh government, but it seems unlikely that the political haggling in the name of coalition will ever end. The Trinamool Congress, a constituent of the UPA till recently, did not only ask its ministers to quit the Cabinet by terming the recent decisions of the Centre as anti-people but also withdrew its support from the government. One can differ from Mamata’s viewpoints on political issues, but she has proved that she does what she says, unlike other political parties that pay only lip services. In order to register their protest against the Centre’s decisions on economic fronts, almost all the political parties along with some of the some of the UPA’s constituents took to the streets. The SP, which is supporting the government from outside, and DMK, which is a part of the UPA, also joined the protest. But the two parties are at loss for words that why they have agreed to prop up a government which is in their views anti-people and corrupt.

The SP came to Manmohan Singh government’s rescue by saying that it wanted to keep the communal forces like BJP at bay. It is inconvenient for anybody to accept such claims. Actually, the parties which are considering the BJP politically untouchable by calling it a communal force are in fact themselves painted with communal colour. These parties are not only indulged in appeasement of minorities, but also create an unnecessary fear for them. They are in fact scornful towards the voters of those states where the BJP is in power. The SP had actively participated in the nationwide protest called by the opposition parties, but hours later it courted controversy by announcing to support the government.

Presently, the UPA government at the Centre is surviving with the support of Samajwadi Party, but it is also a fact that if the SP had denied supporting the UPA government, the BSP would have come forward because coalition politics has nothing to do with ethics and the Congress is known for its skill to fix anybody to serve its purpose. Moreover, there are many other parties which are apt in political bargaining. It is quite natural that the SP would in future demand for its pie for supporting the Congress. The SP could succeed in getting all sorts of packages for the Uttar Pradesh from the Centre, but it has got a major task to improve its image in the state. The SP is also striving for reviving third front in the national politics, however, the party has made it clear that such a front normally emerges after the polls. It means the concept of third front is devoid of any sort of ideological ground. If it is so, coalition politics is bizarre in itself. It is doubtful that the third front will acquire a shape in future as the people believe that such a front would eventually survive on the support of the Congress.

There are many reasons to believe that the oppositions’ nationwide protest against the government’s policies was mere a showoff. The opposition parties might have succeeded in conveying to the people that they are protested the Centre’s economic policies, however, they failed to drive home a point after all what the government should do.
As far as the main opposition party, the BJP, is concerned, it claims to be the main contender of power though, it has bagged failures one after another. When time came topple the UPA government, the main opposition party failed to garner supports of other parties in this regard. Finally, it chose to claim that it was not interested to topple the government. It is surprising, the BJP was mere two weeks back seen demanding Prime Minister’s resignation, but it is now being seen as party which opposes the government’s polices only for the political reason. Over coal scam, the main opposition party denied to allow debate in the Parliament, which led to the complete wash out of the monsoon session. The BJP staged a nationwide shutdown to protest government’s decision allowing diesel price hike, capping the number of LPG cylinders and FDI in retail and other sectors. It also said that the UPA government has been unsuccessful on all fronts adding that it was not keen on destabilize the government. It means it wanted to see the UPA government to continue to function. It is to be noted that even the SP and many other parties have also expressed similar views. In this political chaos, BJP should have been at the center of all political activities but the main focus has shifted to SP and other parties. The BJP needs to analyze its position in the national politics. If present constituents of NDA are not ready to stand with it on vital issues, how will it strengthen the alliance by adding more parties to it? Despite the UPA government being surrounded by all sorts of problems like political challenges and corruption charges, if the BJP is not in favour of toppling the government, it means the opposition party finds itself unable to increase its political strength.
No doubt that the present government at the Centre is weak and shaky. But even the BJP seems to be inflicted with same kind of problems and has failed to strengthen the coalition politics under its own stewardship. There is a need of framing rules for coalition politics. Unless political parties agree to devise certain norms of the coalition politics, it will not be impossible to check ill practice of horse-trading. Such malpractices will continue to encourage corruption. Though, the political parties are aware of the fact that putting an end to the political bargaining will eventually help curbing corruption, they are not keen to clean up the mess in the system. Perhaps this is the reason why aam adami has much expectation from Anna Hazare in fight against corruption. When Anna Hazare launched anti-corruption movement, it made all parties to feel cornered. It might be true that the person like Anna Hazare would not ever be able to provide any political alternative to the people, but they can create a situation in which it will become difficult for political to go by their whims and fancies. If the political parties don’t want to lose their credibility, they should immediately set norms for smooth functioning of coalition politics in the country.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on September 23, 2012 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)