Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Crisis = Opportunity

Hemmed in by the Left and the Right, Manmohan stands at the crossroads

Crisis = Opportunity
Sandeep Adhwaryu
Crisis = Opportunity
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The confrontational politics of the BJP is matched only by the agitational approach of the Communists. Which government would want to take the unpopular decision of hiking oil prices unless global prices forced it to? But both the Left and Right are stomping the streets, competing to win the hearts of the common man that was never theirs in the first place. It is a curious situation. The Communists have power without responsibility. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has responsibility without full power. And the BJP has neither power nor responsibility. What a mess!

Given what the Communists have done in Kerala, Tripura and especially West Bengal, their protests against the fledgling government appear hypocritical, even farcical. Certainly it isn't fair to dismiss all their objections. They do act as checks and balances, apply the brakes, re-examine accepted truisms. Why, for instance, should the government sell off profitable public sector enterprises? Or, why can't import and excise duties be streamlined so that the government gets its revenue without hiking prices? Creative approaches can solve old problems. Perhaps, what irritates is how the Communist leaders say what they have to say. Be they ageing Turks or old perennials, most of them look like protagonists puffed up with a newfound sense of self-importance. This is their 15 minutes of fame. Strutting and lecturing on the national stage is such a rare chance. This is their opportunity to go mainstream, spread their wings from their regional fiefdoms. They would do themselves a great service if they used this opportunity to realise two things. First, they are not the sole custodians of public good, exactly as the right-wingers weren't either. Periodically they should remind themselves exactly how many seats they have in Parliament. Then they would realise they do not have the mandate to sit at the driving wheel and steer the nation. Second, not unlike the BJP, the Communists should engage in a bit of self-introspection: why are they still confined to only three states?

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