The big question: 'Deal or No deal?'

New Delhi, Sat, 21 Jun 2008 Vikash Ranjan

Each and every person concerned with the political affairs and the ongoing stalemate over nuclear deal is hit by a single frustrating question-what would happen next. Would the government be able to convince Left to budge from their present uncompromising position or would the government dare to go to conclude safeguard agreements with the IAEA sans Left. If this happens, what next by Left- support or withdraw? The answer, which no one knows, is buried in the near-by future. Whether the June 25 scheduled for the UPA-Left coordination committee's meeting would be the last straw for both or the talk would shift for another meeting.

Even people who have nothing to do with politics and the nuclear deal are eager to know that whether the government would survive and complete its full term or they would be burdened by incurring expenses of another early election at a time when spiralling inflation, galloped to a 13-year high to 11.05 percent, has been constantly checking their patience.

‘Make or break’ approach recently adhered by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh perhaps would not be so easy for him to take final decision. Congress would not dare to take risk for the early elections, in case the government collapses, at a time when common men are hit hard by the escalating inflation.

Congress is well aware that early election would definitely go against the party. Because the common men, the backbone of the democracy and the decision maker in the elections, would not be reconciled by nuclear deal rather they need cheap daily commodities, which unfortunately the government could not be making available to them.

Despite the fact, for a second, if we predict the Congress shows dare to face end-November or December election, its allies, which is conditionally supporting- both “Left and deal”- the government on nuclear deal, are not ready to sacrifice power for the nuclear deal, which means the allies do not agree to back the government on “deal at all cost” stance.

So far the government's endeavour to convince Left has been in vain. CPM leader and the Politburo member Prakash Karat in his Friday meeting with the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar clearly spelled out that “our support to the government will continue till it goes to the IAEA,” once it crosses the demarcation line, we will withdraw the support.

Sonia Gandhi's recent call to deal “apparent one in the interest of nation” though backed the Prime Minister's advocacy for the nuclear deal, but it still looks distant one despite Manmohan Singh's threat to resign from the post in case of failure of the Indo-US nuclear deal. His threat has gone unheeded yet by the Left.

The question which is still hanging in the air is; would the government survive after Left's withdrawal of support? Although it would be difficult for the government, it is not impossible to remain in power, if the Left with a combined strength of 62 Parliamentarians pull the support. The only option that would be left for the government, which it could be bank upon, is to seek support of the Samajwadi Party, BSP and other smaller parties. However, every political analyst believes it would not be easy for them to come at a single board.

All eyes are now stuck on Pranab Mukherjee, who postponed his Australia visit, and is now on a mission (possible or impossible?) to convince Left to save civilian nuclear deal.



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