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Has the UPA lost the will to rule?

December 19, 2013 18:03 IST

It is now an under-statement to call the UPA a lame duck government. It is in fact a dead duck, says Arun Jaitley.

The United Progressive Alliance government has faced several adversities. The government’s decision making ability is in doubt. The economy is not picking up. There is no coordination between the ministers. Corruption has dented the image of the government.

The prime minister was never perceived to be a mass leader. The projection by the UPA of their next generation leader has not taken off. Even a brief conversation with Congress leaders familiarises one of the despondency. The UPA has lost the will to govern. Its leaders have lost even the will to fight back.

The UPA’s non-performance and falling image was compounded by two other mistakes. The arrogance of power was writ large in the statements of its ministers and leaders. They thought that power is immortal and no other political combination will ever displace them. Excessive propaganda has its dangers. The people do not digest such propaganda. Only the UPA leaders are buying their own propaganda. The recently concluded session of Parliament evidenced this loss of capacity and will to rule. No effort was made to get the session to run. The session had to be abandoned midway.

The disturbance was predominantly by the UPA members, their allies and supporters. The Lokpal Bill was delayed by several years because the UPA refused to accept the formulations contained in the now approved enactment. They broke the negotiations with Team Anna. They refused to accept my amendments on Decmeber 29, 2011 and adjourned the session at midnight. They refused to accept the select committee recommendations.

An electoral rap on the knuckles has led to the complete collapse of their arrogance . Now all these suggestions have been favoured. Their leader decided to join the bandwagon though belatedly. In the process he even forgot his ‘game changer’ speech delivered two years ago in the Lok Sabha where he had argued exactly the opposite. 

What is the UPA gameplan to deal with the Aam Aadmi Party? It may not be fully correct to say that AAP is the B-Team of the Congress. It is the Congress which has now agreed to become the B-Team of the AAP -- again an evidence of the lack of will to fightback. On Telangana, the party is allowing the drift to continue. Obviously there must be a separate state carved out.

But the government seems to have lost the ability to even bring representatives of both regions in Andhra Pradesh on a negotiating table to ensure that none goes back with a sense of injustice. No measures have been initiated to revive the economy or to improve upon the government’s image of indecisiveness or its track record of being a corrupt government.

The UPA has not learnt from its mistakes. It merely tried to ensure that a phony Joint Parliamentary Committee report on the 2G scam is pushed through without a discussion. It is mistakes of this kind which has cost the UPA its image.

On the last day of Parliament session, the home minister tried his best to push through the Communal Violence Bill for introduction in the Rajya Sabha. The bill is divisive. It seeks to polarise society. It infringes the federal structure of the Constitution. Although these motivations were inappropriate, the incompetence of the home ministry prevented the introduction. It could not get the printed version of the bill ready in time for being listed in the agenda.

It is now an under-statement to call the UPA a lame duck government. It is in fact a dead duck. 

Arun Jaitley is a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader.

Arun Jaitley