Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Victory at what cost?

UPA survived the no-confidence motion today in the Indian Parliament. It won the number of votes required quite comfortably in the end. Considering that BJP, Left and Mayawati were opposing, it took quite a lot of "backroom" maneuvering to get a handful of MPs to back Manmohan Singh.

Anywhere from 5 crore to 25 crore changed hands. Amar Singh of SJP was reportedly caught on tape bribing MPs in a sting operation carried out. These allegations are yet to be proved. And given past history, it is unlikely anything would come out of the CD given to the speaker as a proof.

While the win was expected, the low level of debate was not. Singh's final text speech reveals how sad the situation is. I thought it was a new low in debate speeches. Singh made highly objectionable personal attacks on Advani throughout his speech and the text seemed by and large immature. The economist PM should change his speech writer. That would be a good start.

Although the government survived, it would still remain lame duck for the rest of the remaining term. It does not have backing of the Left and depends largely on sundry MPs from here and there for it's survival. These MPs are going to milk their crucial vote in coming weeks; taking heavy toll on India in general. But this is not new and has happened in the past with minority governments.

Congress and Gandhi family will probably use this bonus period of six months to re-brand their image. I anticipate a full blown media blitz in coming months. (Watch out for NDTV. It is going to go berserk promoting them)
Whether it sticks with Indian public, which is reeling under steep price rise, bad monsoon and constant threat of terrorism, is to be seen.

Victory did come to the UPA in general and Manmohan in particular. Although I have a feeling, India has paid a heavy price for that victory.

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