Thursday, April 15, 2010

testing time for sonia gandhi leadership qualities

15 April 2010

Soina Gandih shown real qualities of a Leader.

From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha plunged into repeated pandemonium and adjournments on Thursday because the signal to the ruling Congress members came from none else but Sonia Gandhi who was apparently upset over the BJP's Yashwant Sinha accusing her party "making compromises with the Maoists for petty political gains in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections."

She turned around and signalled the party MPs to rise in protest during the impromptu discussion on the Dantewada massacre. The response was not limited to the Congress MPs as even Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and his deputy Narayansamy jumped to their feet to accuse Sinha's BJP itself a hand-in-glove with the Maoists.

Bansal went to the extent of pointing out that the BJP had aligned with a party (in Jharkhand) whose ministers and members were backing the Maoists in this kind of brutal violence. At one stage it appeared as if the Congress does not want the Dantewada debate.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is leader of House, was not in the Lok Sabha when the uproar triggered forcing adjournment. He spoke to both Sonia Gandhi and Bansal and could be heard stressing that the opposition has no business to accuse the Centre that has given all the money and arms to the state governments to fight the Maoists.

Normalcy was restored in the Lok Sabha in the post-lunch session but only after Speaker Meira Kumar expunged a word from Sinha's speech to satisfy the Congress members. Same kind of pandemoniums on the massacre of 75 CRPF men preceded the Rajya Sabha ultimately getting down to discuss the Maoist menace in the post-lunch session on the opening day of the second part of the budget session of Parliament.

Opposition leader Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha as also Sinha in the Lok Sabha harped on the entire opposition coming out in full support of the government for defeating the Maoists with full force while differences persisted between the ruling Congress and the government.

Both cited a signed article of Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh dubbing Chidambaram as "rigid" and "intellectually arrogant." They wondered how the government can act effectively when its entire anti-Maoist policy is challenged by a senior office-bearer of the ruling Congress. Sinha said the government was itself severely divided as one of the UPA elements was opposed to crackdown on the Maoists. His hint was towards Railway Minister and Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee.

Congress chief spokesman Janardan Dwivedi intervened Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha to assert that some individual's opinion should not be presented as the party's stand. He repeatedly tried to spell out the party stand but the BJP benches shouted him down.

Both the Houses began with the Opposition demanding suspension of the Question Hour to discuss the Dantewada attack. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister pleaded in the Lok Sabha to allow the Question Hour, stating that Chidambaram will make a statement in the House at 1 pm while his deputy Prithvraj Chavan assured the Rajya Sabha that he will make the statement in the House at 2 pm. The opposition remained adamant, forcing adjournment of both the Houses.

The government, however, conceded Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's suggestion to start the Dantewada debate at noon when the Lok Sabha re-assembled, without waiting for the Home Minister's statement and that was how the debate started, Two adjournments were, however, forced because of majority of the ruling Congress members creating pandemonium to block Sinha from speaking further.

Sinha asserted that the government cannot win the war against Maoists unless there is unity of purpose and determination. He pointed out that this was not a small task as he quoted from the Home Ministry's annual reports to point out that 4246 lives, including those of security personnel, were lost in the Maoist attacks between 2004 and 2009, which was much larger than all wars with Pakistan except in 1971 when 5300 lives were lost. He went on to cite casualties in other wars with Pakistan as: 1500 in 1947-49, 3000 in 1965, and 522 during Kargil conflict.

Jaitley asserted that the UPA did nothing to crush the Maoists during its first five years of rule when their area of influence spread to 220 districts, 90 of which are in their effective control. It is only during the past one year or so that the Home Ministry realised how serious was the problem and that is why the entire opposition, right from BJP to CPI(M), rejected Chidambaram's offer to resign accepting responsibility for the Dantewada episode as they did not want the Maoists to rejoice victory.

Pointing out that the entire opposition is demanding in one voice that the curse of Maoism will have to be eradicated, Jaitley ridiculed a Congress general secretary (Digvijay Singh) suggesting development and other steps instead of using the forces to eliminate the ultras. "If satyagrah before Maoists can resolve the issue, we all will join," he said, asking the ruling party not to weave fairy tales like dealing with the problem through development where even the armed security forces are not able to venture in.

Development of the areas can be a long-term solution but that will not be possible if the battle started against Maoists is abandoned just because of Dantewada, Jaitley said while regretting that the Home Minister appears to be "gheraoed" by his colleagues in government and party to fight a "crippled battle." After the Dantewada setback, Chidambaram wanted to resign because of this handicap, he added.


1 comment:

BK Chowla, said...

I did watch the proceedings myself.I think it was BJPs day. Jaitley was extremely categorical in his words and expressions.
As for Sonia G,it seems cong has lost the HAND of the aam aadmi.