THE Joint Declaration issued by the secular non-Congress, non-BJP opposition parties in the light of the forthcoming 16th general elections made it unequivocally clear that they have come together responding to the overwhelming urge of our people who are desperately looking for relief from the growing economic burdens that are leading to a sharp decline in quality of life. Apart from the four Left parties, leaders of five other regional parties were present at the meeting.
USING the excuse that two of his predecessors – BJP’s Jaswant Singh in 2004 and Congress’s Pranab Mukherjee in 2009 – used the occasion of seeking a vote on account on the eve of general elections to make a political declaration on the so-called economic achievements of their supportive governments, P Chidambaram let loose a string of expletives claiming miraculous economic achievements during the last ten years of the UPA government.
THE RSS/BJP and its PM aspirant’s desperation at the possible emergence of a combination of secular opposition parties – non-Congress, non-BJP – in the run up to the 2014 general elections has reached a new crescendo. A litany of epithets have been unleashed which should be considered unbecoming by anybody, particularly by somebody who is self-proclaimed by the RSS/BJP as India’s future prime minister. Some of his comments denouncing the `third front’ as `third rate’ have drawn a spontaneous response that such comments can come only from a `third rate’ mindset!
THE last session of the parliament before the forthcoming 15th general elections to the country has begun as we go to press. The manner in which this session has been conceived and structured, created apprehensions at the outset about the government's intentions to use this session more as a launch pad for its election campaign, rather than to transact business to implement important, long-standing, pending legislations, particularly those aimed at providing relief to the already beleaguered vast mass of the people.
ADDRESSING the nation on the eve of the Republic Day, President Pranab Mukherjee articulated the almost universal concern in the country over the failure to meet people’s aspirations. Hailing the establishment and evolution of Indian democracy, he said, “I am not a cynic because I know that democracy has this marvellous ability to self-correct. It is the physician that heals itself, and 2014 must become a year of healing after the fractured and contentious politics of the last few years”.
IF at all there was any reconfirmation that was ever needed on the score that there is virtually no difference – virtuality lies in the semantic verbiage – on matters of economic policy between the Congress and the BJP, it has come in the RSS/BJP’s prime ministerial prospect’s address at the recently held BJP’s national council meeting.
AS we go to press, sections of supporters of the Congress party, appear to be eagerly awaiting the decision of the forthcoming Congress party session on January 17, 2014 to officially confirm its current vice president as their future prime ministerial prospect. Thus, they are waiting to complete the composition of a new political Raga for the 2014 general elections. However, whether the Congress party so decides or otherwise is their internal decision.
READERS will recall that during the Rajya Sabha discussions when it finally adopted the Lokpal legislation, the CPI(M) had moved a concrete amendment to bring into the ambit of the Lokpal investigation those private companies, particularly in public-private-partnership (PPP) projects, that use public resources or have a financial arrangement with the government. Though there were eleven Left parties’ MPs present at the time of voting, this received 19 votes, meaning that some other well-meaning MPs supported this amendment.
People’s Democracy wishes its readers a very happy new year as we move into 2014.Such greetings are usually accompanied by the hopes that the new year will turn out to be better than what we all had to go through in 2013. We have often in these columns invoked Lord Tennyson’s famous line “Ringing out the old, ringing in the new.” Such hopes continue to remain and “the new,” we expect, will be for the better. Experience, however, teaches us that life is, more often than not, a continuum.
FINALLY, the Lokpal has been institutionalised as a mechanism to tackle corruption at high places in the country. The Bill adopted by the parliament incorporating most of the amendments suggested by the Rajya Sabha’s select committee was passed by the Rajya Sabha and sent back to the Lok Sabha which endorsed it, thus making it finally a law of the land.