People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 38

September 23, 2012





UPA Govt Has No Legitimacy in

Implementing Anti People Measures


As we go to press, the high political drama that began with the withdrawal of the Trinamool Congress from the UPA-2 coalition government continues.  Another important ally of the Congress in the UPA, the DMK, has announced its support to the call of a nationwide protest on September 20 by the four Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Telugu Desam, Janata Dal (S) and the Biju Janata Dal.  The NDA has also given a separate call for Bharat bandh on the same day.


These developments clearly show that a majority of the Lok Sabha members  today oppose this UPA-2 government’s decisions to hike the price of diesel by Rs 5 per litre, limit cooking gas cylinders to six per family per year, permitting FDI in the retail trade sector and the disinvestment of navaratna public sector units.  Hence, this UPA-II government has no legitimacy in implementing these measures.  These measures must immediately be rolled back.


Repeatedly in these columns, we had shown that the government’s reasoning to implement these measures is neither in the interests of the Indian economy nor the Indian people.  These measures will only mount another cruel attack on the livelihood status of the vast mass of Indian people who are already groaning under the burdens of the relentless rise in the prices of all essential commodities. 


Further, we had shown that while this UPA-2 government subsidises the rich and India Inc. with amounts that are larger than our fiscal deficit, it curtails the meager subsidies provided for the poor in the name of containing the fiscal deficit and for fiscal consolidation.  This exposes the class nature of this government very starkly.  It is imperative that the measures currently proposed by this UPA-2 government must be immediately rolled back in the interests of the vast majority of our people and for creating a better India where the hiatus between the miniscule rich and the majority poor does not continue to sharply widen. 


In the background of this objective reality where two important allies have voiced their opposition to these policies and in the light of the call for nationwide hartal by the Left and secular parties and the NDA’s Bharat bandh, all sorts of hobnobbing and horse trading have begun.  While the UPA-II government continues to assert that there is no question of any roll back of these measures, the Congress party has directed all its state governments to increase the cooking gas cylinder quota from six to nine cylinders.  It is also considering to ask its state governments to reduce sales tax on diesel, so that the consumers in these states pay a lower amount.  They have also stated that the state governments will have the final say on permitting FDI in retail trade sector in their state.  The Congress party is, thus, trying to pressurise the non-Congress party state governments and pass on the onus of the responsibility of implementing these decisions on their shoulders.  Such a sleight of hand cannot succeed in allowing the Congress-led UPA-2 government to absolve the responsibility  of imposing these cruel burdens on the vast majority of our people. 


It merits to be noted that when any member of a coalition government withdraws its support, the first thing that needs to be done is to inform the President of India by giving a letter of withdrawing support from the government.  This is precisely what the Left parties had done when they withdrew outside support from the UPA-1 government when the latter unilaterally went ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal.  On this occasion, the Trinamool Congress has not done so.  Instead, after an initial ultimatum of 72 hours to the government to roll back these measures, the TMC chief announced the withdrawal of support and again gave a time of three days for TMC ministers to submit their resignations to the prime minister.  None of this legitimises the withdrawal of support until the TMC sends a formal letter in writing  to the President of India.  We shall have to wait and see if and when this will be done. 


TMC has a past history of withdrawing support from a coalition government.  They were part of the RSS/BJP-led NDA coalition and government in 1998. With elections impending to the West Bengal Assembly in 2001, the TMC withdrew support demanding the resignation of then defence minister George Fernandes over defence scams.  Then the TMC formed an alliance with the Congress against the Left Front in West Bengal.  The TMC-Congress alliance was routed in these elections. The TMC then returned to the NDA fold notwithstanding the State-sponsored communal genocide in Gujarat.  In 2004, the TMC chief held the portfolio of Coal and Mines. Does the current coal block allocation scam, as exposed by the CAG, date back to this period? 


There are many questions that remain unanswered as we go to press.  If the TMC is indeed sincere in opposing these measures, then why is it opposing the hartal in West Bengal on September 20 called precisely in protest against these very measures? Why has TMC delayed the resignation of its ministers from the union cabinet by three days and scheduled it only on September 21, after the Friday namaz??  By the time this edition of People’s Democracy reaches our readers, may be some of these questions will be answered, or, may be not.  It is, however, clear that a great degree of uncertainty remains. 


Notwithstanding all this, it is clear that this UPA-2 government does not have the legitimacy of a majority in the Lok Sabha to implement these anti-people measures.  The popular protests and struggles must be strengthened to force this government to roll back these measures. 


(September 19, 2012)