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The Rediff Interview/Dinesh Trivedi, Trinamul Congress leader

'It has become like a game of the mafia now'

July 18, 2008

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Will the Congress make it past the magic number of 272 in the trust vote on July 22?

This is something that has everyone guessing as the battle for numbers rages full time. Several leaders feel the manner in which the ruling Congress is going about things is similar to the IPL auction which took place last March.

Former Rajya Sabha member and Trinamul Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi believes if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], who is considered an honest politician, can go to any extent to win the numbers, there is no hope left for democracy.

Trivedi spoke to Special Correspondent Vicky Nanjappa about his party's stand on the trust vote, the nuclear deal, and about the levels leaders are going to to stay n in power.

Has your party taken any decision on the trust vote?

A decision is yet to be taken. We are meeting on July 20 to finalise our stand. However, let me tell you that our basic principle would be to keep equi-distance from both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party.

All you want to know about the trust vote

What are your feelings on the trust vote and the manner in which the Congress is going up to toggle up the numbers?

It is hard to say whether the Congress will make it or not. However, the manner in which the numbers game is being played is shameful. Why is a party with a 123-year-old history stooping to such a level? The Congress should appeal to the conscience of the people and not stoop to unimaginable extent in order to win the trust vote.

There is a lot of talk about horse-trading and even MPs with criminal backgrounds being wooed into voting for the Congress.

If Dr Manmohan Singh, who is perceived to be honest, can go to any extent to save the government then there is very little hope left for democracy. The Congress has put both the British and Moghuls to shame. According to me, the real Congress left with Rajiv Gandhi. What is the Congress trying now? Now they have changed the name of an airport to keep their hopes alive. It is quite unimaginable to think what they would do next. It has become more like a game of the mafia now.

This is the time to bring in the Vohra Committee report on Crimilisation of Politics into play. Each one including Dr Singh is bargaining for himself and not for the country. Worse, all this is being done for three to four months of survival. I would also like to ask as to why Rahul Gandhi, who speaks for the youth, is keeping quiet. The hopes of the youth are being dashed with this kind of politics.

Do you think the Speaker should have acted?

If the Speaker could have suspended eight MPs without a hearing, then why is he keeping quiet now? There are stories of MPs being purchased, and this is an indication of wholesale corruption. Where is the Speaker's morality now? He spoke about morality when he suspended eight MPs. Why is this situation any different?

Do you think the nuclear deal is good for the country and should the government have gone ahead with it?

The nitty-gritty of the safeguards should be gone into in order to make any sort of a comment regarding the deal being good or not. Without doing so it is difficult to comment. Although there is no Constitutional requirement that the ratification of Parliament is needed in order to go ahead with the deal, I still do believe that the safeguards should not have been kept a secret. What is so secretive about it?

What do you think the Manmohan Singh government should have done?

I feel the government should have discussed it threadbare and gone ahead with the deal with conviction. It looks like a desperate bid to push the deal through during the government's last few days of survival. The deal should have gone through much earlier if everything was clear, according to the Congress.

How do you react to the manner in which the CPI-M has gone about things?

The hypocrisy of the CPI-M has been exposed. When the Congress wanted a vote in Parliament, they discouraged it. Moreover, (Science and Technology Minister) Kapil Sibal went on record stating that the CPI-M had told them to go ahead with the deal and had no objection. If this is not hypocrisy, then what is?

Do you think the CPI-M was being taken for a ride? A coordination committee had been set up to discuss the issue and without any final decision being taken in the committee, the Congress went ahead with the deal.

Everyone knows what transpired at the coordination committee meetings. The CPI-M was keener on bargaining on Nandigram [Images]. Both the Congress and CPI-M behaved like private limited companies on this issue. During the meetings all they had was samosas and in the bargain each one has been exposed now. No one will trust the CPI-M ever again.


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