The possibility of a mid-term poll mentioned by an unnamed Union Minister and an ally of the Congress Party has now been confirmed by reports of Pranab Mukherjee having brought up the same subject during his meetings with Sushma Swaraj. Their contention is that the government will have no alternative but to call an early election if the Parliamentary logjam continues during the budget session. In all likelihood, these hints are no more than a bluff considering how the Congress is weighed down by charges of corruption. A party, which lost the 1989 elections on such allegations, is unlikely to take a similar risk again, especially because it doesn’t have to in view of the present majority of the ruling alliance.
Besides, such a misadventure will jeopardize any plans the Congress Party may have of anointing Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister, as Mukherjee has mentioned in a different context. Given the setbacks, which the party has suffered in Bihar and the tremors it is experiencing in Andhra, an early poll may seem like a suicide mission for most of its members. The fact that the Congress comes second to the BJP and regional parties like the BSP, Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal in UP, MP, West Bengal and Orissa are another reason why an early poll will be a foolhardy venture for it.
The suggestions it has floated, therefore, are evidently intended to sow the seeds of doubt among the Opposition parties, which will not be too eager for another test of strength so soon after the last one. The Congress probably wants to take advantage of the dissensions about the BJP’s insistence on a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the spectrum scam by insiders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Arun Shourie to sow disquiet in its ranks. At the same time, the mystery behind the Congress Party’s mulish refusal to accept the JPC hasn’t been cleared. Few will believe that the party is so keen on finding the truth that it is deterred by the indifferent record of the earlier JPCs. Perhaps it is scared of the Prime Minister failing to provide a convincing explanation to the JPC as to why it took more than a year to act against the former Telecom Minister, Andimuthu Raja, when his guilt was widely suspected. Whatever the reason for its stubbornness, an early poll will be tantamount to holding a gun to its own, and everyone else’s heads when a compromise on the JPC is the easy answer.
Courtesy: Express Buzz