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Coalition hiccups come to the fore in parliament

Delhi,Politics, Sun, 01 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The compulsions of coalition politics were more than evident in the first half of parliament's budget session and analysts feel the going will be equally sombre in the coming days.


Even if opposition attacks were understandable, the government was particularly miffed by the conduct of two of its key allies: the Trinamool Congress and the DMK.


In an unprecedented development, the government had to replace Dinesh Trivedi as railway minister and partially backroll hike in passenger fares following intense pressure from Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee.


The government also came under attack over allegations made by army chief Gen V.K. Singh that he had been offered bribe to purchase allegedly sub-standard trucks.


Pundits admit the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) faces no threat of being topped but that is more because no one appears to be ready for early elections.


"The government will not like to remember it (the first half of budget session) with any degree of enthusiasm," political analyst Aswini K. Ray told IANS.


Formerly from the Jawaharlal Nehru University here, Ray said the government was also likely to find the going tough in the next half of the budget session.


Ray added there was no crisis for the government for now as "no one wants an election".


But the situation "was so unstable that it may lead to conjuctural crisis in a way difficult to predict", he added.


Nisar-ul-Haq, who heads the political science department at the Jamia Millia University, said: "The government will continue to face coalition compulsions but I don't think there is any threat to the government."


He said the government will continue its "tightrope walk" in view of its aggressive allies.


A.S. Narang of IGNOU said pressure from allies had prevented the government from pursuing a bold economic reforms in the budget presented during the session.


"The government could have taken hard decisions towards third generation economic reforms but made compromises," he said.


Rakesh Sinha, a professor of political science at Delhi University, said the government was surviving mainly because the opposition was not keen on early Lok Sabha elections.


"The main concern of the governent is to survive till 2014," he said. "The government has not created an atmosphere for a healthy debate."


The first phase of budget session began March 12 and ended March 30.


Apart from the Trinamool, the government faced pressure from DMK, which wanted India to vote against Sri Lanka at a UN human rights meet in Geneva over the killing of Tamils.


Due to the UPA's lack of majority in Rajya Sabha, the opposition, aided by some of its own allies, forced the deferment of the Border Security Force (Amendment) bill and the Whistleblowers Protection Bill.


Parliament will meet again April 24 for the second half of the budget session.


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