ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Congress Today

The opposition's inability to challenge the Congress could be a dangerous portent for Indian democracy.

The past few months have witnessed a certain disarray within the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government ruling at the centre. Not only have ministers been often speaking in different voices, there also is an apparent lack of coherence on major policy issues. On Kashmir, Maoism, on a range of environment and livelihood issues, on the corruption and mismanagement of the Commonwealth Games, there has hardly been an issue of public importance where senior ministers of the government, allies of the UPA and top leaders of the Congress have not spoken in divergent and sharply discordant voices.

The opposition has been largely unsuccessful in taking advantage from this disunity and discord within the government, the UPA and the Congress. Rather, it appears that this speaking in multiple voices and open expression of dissent from within the ruling establishment has usurped much of the opposition space from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the left parties. On various issues, from opposition to Operation Green Hunt against the Maoists, to the manner in which forest and agricultural lands are being taken away from tribals and poor villagers, to promulgating policies for food, education and women’s reservation, often the sharpest opposition to government policy has come from within the universe of the Congress and the UPA and, even from within the central government. On issues where the opposition has tried to corner the government, like inflation and food distribution, it has not succeeded, while on many others the ruling establishment has managed to be its own opposition quite effectively.

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