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Has Congress lost the ability to fight a crisis?

August 25, 2011 14:20 IST

You cannot fight a defiant person by being defiant in politics. This is a lesson the prime minister and his team have to learn if they want to remain in power, says Aslam Hunani.

At this moment there is a stalemate on the talks between the government and Team Anna.

It is worth noting that the Congress took it upon itself to fight Anna Hazare's campaign on an issue which actually relates to the entire Parliament, and realised their folly late on Wednesday.

The result of the all-party meet called by the prime minister on Wednesday gave enough fodder to the government to take on Team Anna and has resulted in a slight weakening of the morale of Anna's supporters in the ongoing tussle. The result of the all-party meet conveyed to Team Anna that there are no takers for their Jan Lokpal bill.

What is now more important is, how the logjam between the two parties can be resolved and the talks carried forward for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis.

On one side there is the defiant Hazare who has nothing to lose and has no political ambitions. He has become the darling of the media and is drawing people in large numbers. On the other hand, is a defiant prime minister with a history of addressing problems only when they have blown out of proportion.

The most important point is, why did the Congress or rather the prime minister take so long to convene the all-party meet? Why did the government not begin negotiations with Anna from day one when he began his fast at Ramlila ground? Was the PM of the view that the crisis would get solved on its own, that Anna would break his fast without any negotiations and all would end well?

The Lokpal Bill is going to affect all MPs whether they be of ruling or Opposition parties, so why was the Congress trying to fight the battle with Anna all by itself? If the crisis managers of the Congress had decided to call the all-party meet at the start of the problem and taken everyone into confidence regarding the bill, it would have at least ensured them the support of the Opposition in tacking the problem. Rather, they tried to play hard ball with Anna Hazare and now have no major option left before them.

Had the all-party meet been called earlier, the country would have known the stand of the Opposition NDA vis a vis the Jan Lokpal bill. This would have put the Opposition in a bind and they would have not openly supported Anna.

Now the crisis has acquired enormous magnitude for the Congress. You cannot fight a defiant person by being defiant in politics. This is a lesson the PM and his team have to learn if they want to remain in power.

Aslam Hunani