Warning Signs for CONGRESS (March 12, 2007)

Warning Signs for CONGRESS

What, in your view, is the reason behind Congress Party’s bad showing at the polls in Punjab and Uttrakhand?

Indian democracy is showing signs of maturity where the common man is becoming realistic in terms of taking note of the quality of governance. It is not merely personality-based approach, but the quantum of work and delivery of the party and government that would matter with the electorate. The bad showing is primarily due to failure of Congress leadership to read the facts correctly. Faulty selection of candidates, gap between the governing elite and electorate and infighting are the main causes of poor performance.

Do you think that price rise was the main cause of Congress debacle?

Inflation is the manifest reason that has also contributed.

Will the UPA government be able to hold the prices of essential foods from escalating further?

It is quite doubtful that UPA would be able to hold the prices as the inflation is supposed to be a sure sign of development in a liberal democratic system. However, prices of the essential commodities may be managed to some extent.

How effective will be imports of onions, vegetables and pulses in easing the supply constraints?

Import of these commodities may be a short-term measure, but it lowers the image of government at grass-roots level.

We are told that the BJP is creating the bogey of Muslim appeasement even though the Sachar Committee report has hardly any reflection in the allocations of Budget 2007-2008.

It is quite crucial for BJP to decide whether it can survive as an effective voice only on the basis of hate and hostility against Muslims. If it does so, it is going to suffer in more than one ways. The brouhaha over alleged Muslim appeasement flies in the face of a criminal neglect of evidence-based facts.

One of the causes of the Congress Party’s poor showing at the polls is said to be infighting. Will the party close its ranks in the coming elections, beginning from UP next month?

Infighting and arrogance are definite causes. Congress Party needs to work seriously on these aspects. No immediate improvements are visible.

Is the recent electoral debacle a trend that will sustain itself in the coming elections?

It is the final wake-up call. If the party does not improve and develop proper strategies to deal with coalitional trends, it is bound to suffer in future.g


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