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2009 Poll Prospects And Alignments
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Cong request support from BJP?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
No, because they treat them like lepers.
Mudy, Hold on. Dont go on auto pilot. There is something rotten in the deal. Pran Chopra's article points to it and MMS making allegations of havans etc show that the discourse is being diverted.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There is something rotten in the deal. Pran Chopra's article points to it and MMS making allegations of havans etc show that the discourse is being diverted.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
He is trying to say Hindus are bad, Hindus are against. Don't forget Muslims have first right and he himslf is proud Sikh. Only problem he had with Hindus.
He is a mean man inside, his outside is just a fascade.

Deal is bad, I don't care who pulls the rug. I don't mind if it means mid-term poll. Atleast lot of black money will recirculate in market.
My point too! The auto-pilot was in ref to left.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Prepare for mid-term poll: Advani </b>
Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi
<b>Mammoth rally boosts BJP morale</b>
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha LK Advani on Monday gave a call to his party workers to prepare for general elections. Addressing a mammoth Kisan Rally in the Capital, Advani said the Government was in turmoil and would go shortly. "It can fall in two months' time or in four months' time.   

The fall of the UPA is imminent and a mid- term poll is definite due to its anti-people policies. It would not last till 2009 and complete its five year mandate, which the NDA coalition did," Advani said at the Ramlila Maidan addressing over 60,000 farmers from across the country. The rally was called against the Congress-led and Left-backed UPA Government's anti-farmer policies and to protest against several scandals related to the agriculture sector.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said that the push to development given by the NDA Government had been halted as the present Government had got enmeshed in problems of its own making.

<b>"Nobody else but the Congress is to blame for the present mess. The Left and the Congress are always involved in noora-koosthi (shadow boxing). The country has been tolerating the UPA for over three years. Sarkar ka jana ab teh hai (the collapse of the Government is imminent)," </b>Advani said amid slogans like Bharat ki janta rotee hai, kendra sarkar soti hai and Daal mein kuch kala hai, genhu key aayat mein ghotala hai. On the nuclear controversy, Advani said that the USA didn't want India to be a nuclear power and that is why they had put a ban on the tests.

Speaking on the issue of farmer policies, the former Deputy Prime Minister raised concerns over farmers' suicides, saying crushing debts were forcing farmers to kill themselves even in prosperous States like Punjab. Advani also pointed out that the Government was struggling to tackle terrorism and they had not made a breakthrough in any of the cases including the Mumbai train blasts . Later, Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh along with several senior party leaders and thousands of farmers marched towards Parliament but were detained for a brief period by the Delhi Police at the Ambedkar Stadium.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh said that the present Government was anti-farmer. "The Government must extend farm loans at an annual interest of four per cent and come up with a credible farm insurance scheme. The recent minimum support price declared by the UPA is totally unacceptable as it does not reflect the actual growth reality and does not assure the farmer of remunerative prices. The BJP will launch a nationwide agitation on farmers' rights if the UPA Government does not immediately and comprehensively address all these problems," Singh said. He also said that the UPA Government would be "rooted out" because of its "wrong" policies.

A memorandum signed jointly by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, Advani and Rajnath Singh, said that the country was facing an agrarian crisis. Others present at the rally were former Union Ministers Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Vijay Goel, Gopinath Munde, Vinay Katiyar, Kisan Morcha incharge Vinod Pandey and Delhi BJP president Harshvardhan. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was due to address the rally could not attend due to health reasons.
Given that NDA kickstarted the repproachment with US, it would have made good sense for MMS to have involved them in the nuclear deal and being more transparent on the issue too. As many have said before, the lack of transparency has come back to bite them real hard in the a**. The PMO has been trying to manipulate the deal in a very aggressive way, like calling the scientists and Mr Raman opposing the deal as NDA agents etc. It appears that the PMO never tried to take all sections along ( not counting the rabidly anti-US left here). The opposition of the scicom earlier in the process had many people opposing the deal, and now even if the govt says that the deal is good, no one is willing to believe them. And with the PMO having alienated the scicom, no one will come to their rescue now.

Like the earlier economic reforms (pension reform etc)where NDA offered support but were spurned by congress, the congress by trying to keep an arm's length away for BJP is digging its own grave.

If Congress decides that it is worth killing the nuclear deal than losing power, what will MMS do? Will he step down? Or will he be forced to step down? Some other Sonia boot-licker will have to be the PM, who doesn't have any mass base and politically weak. Will it be Shivraj Patil? I doubt MMS continuing as a PM. But if he is without shame as a typical congressman, he might be willing to delay/drop the deal and continue as a PM.

Many people thought MMS was politically naive, but his mentor was PVN who was one of the most intelligent politician in recent history. He may still have a card up his sleeve. He will either show he has a spine and pull a fast one on the left, or he will stick to his chair!
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Many people thought MMS was politically naive, but his mentor was PVN who was one of the most intelligent politician in recent history. He may still have a card up his sleeve. He will either show he has a spine and pull a fast one on the left, or he will stick to his chair!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
He is a clever greedy fox. He is working to secure his pension PERIOD.
These nuclear plant will bring contracts and COngress and Queen Swiss bank will get green color after BOFORs. They are selling India.
They have sidelined secong major political party. This is stupidity and cunningness. All blame goes to Moron Singh.
Yeah dont bring in PVN into this fiasco. Its a Cmabridge genesis deal to make money and tie up a rising India.

meanwhile Telegraph reports

Centre rattles poll sabre
- PM pitch for nuke energy

<b>The Congress is reading the future on the following lines:</b>

<b>Only a no-trust motion can topple the government.

The Left will not move such a motion against a “secular” coalition.

By the same logic, the Left may not back a motion moved by the Opposition.</b>

A debate on the deal may take place by end-August.

<b>The government will try to pass the unorganised sector and anti-communal violence bills and have a discussion on the minorities report.</b>

Breather after the session ends on September 14 or earlier if Parliament is adjourned sine die.

Preparations start for elections in Gujarat.

Winter session in November, but no fireworks likely.

Red light could flash again in the budget session.

During the day, the government rejected the Opposition’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee on the nuclear deal. It also sounded lukewarm to the idea of constituting an expert committee.

As of now, the only solution the Congress and the government are willing to consider is a debate in Parliament. If it fails to dispel the Left’s misgivings, the government is open to another round of talks.

<b>The Congress reminded the Left of the election option by fielding minister Kapil Sibal to make what sounded almost like a poll pitch. Addressing the media — the first such party briefing since the Left ultimatum — Sibal responded to allegations of a “sell-out” to the US.

“Can you imagine that the Prime Minister of India will play around with its sovereignty? The Congress refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The first nuclear bomb was detonated by the Congress in 1974. Bangladesh was liberated despite the US threat to send the Seventh Fleet,” he said.</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>THE RED BLUNDERS
- The communists have consistently betrayed national interests 
Rudrangshu Mukherjee </b>

<img src='http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070821/images/21editchart.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

If nationalism, as the historian Jack Gallagher was fond of quipping, devours its parents, communism consumes its own ideology. Communism was born under the sign of internationalism. The project of world revolution did not recognize national boundaries. Thus, it is funny to see Indian communists today positioning themselves as great protectors of national sovereignty.

Indian communists have always had a very uncomfortable relationship with nationalism. Some of the major debates and divisions within the Communist Party of India have revolved around the question of nationalism and the national movement. And, if the truth be told, these debates do not exactly hold up the comrades in an edifying light. On the scorecard of nationalism, the performance of Indian communists is poor to say the least. (On internationalism, their score is irrelevant, since a world communist revolution is not even a pipe dream after the collapse of socialism and the exposure of the many crimes of the socialist regimes in Soviet Russia, in Eastern Europe, in China, in Albania, under Pol Pot in Cambodia and so on.)

To begin with the most notorious example that communists have never been able to live down: 1942. The CPI was officially against the Quit India movement. What needs to be emphasized here is that this decision of the CPI was not based on any understanding of the Indian situation by Indian communists. The opposition to the clarion call of 1942 was the outcome of a diktat emanating from Moscow. When Hitler attacked his erstwhile ally, the Soviet Union, in 1941, the fight against Nazism overnight became a People’s War for all communists. The directive from Moscow was carried by Achhar Singh Chinna, alias Larkin, who travelled from the Soviet Union to India with the full knowledge of the British authorities. In India, it meant communists had to isolate themselves from the mainstream of national life and politics and see British rule as a friendly force since the communists’ “fatherland”, Soviet Russia, was an ally of Britain. A critical decision affecting the strategic and the tactical line of the party was thus taken defying national interests at the behest of a foreign power, whose orders determined the positions and actions of the CPI.

In 1948, within a few months of India becoming independent, the CPI under the leadership of B.T. Randive launched the line that this freedom was fake (yeh azadi jhooti hai), and argued that the situation in India was ripe for an armed revolution. The Randive line led to the expulsion of P.C. Joshi, who believed that freedom from British rule was a substantial achievement and that, tactically, the communist movement would gain by supporting leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru who, Joshi said, represented a “progressive” trend within the Congress. Apart from the inner-party struggle, what needs to be noted here is that the Randive line, which completely misread the national mood, was the direct outgrowth of a policy formulated by the Comintern (or the Cominform, as it had renamed itself), in other words, Moscow. The directive of Moscow to the Indian communists was that Congress should be opposed since it was no more than a satellite of imperialism. The retreat from this line was also sounded from Moscow in the form of an editorial entitled, “For a Lasting Peace”, in the mouthpiece of the Cominform.

The defeat of Joshi in the inner- party struggle camouflaged an important and lasting tension within the CPI. This concerned the party’s ideological and tactical position regarding the Congress. Joshi represented a trend within the party that believed in closer ties with the Congress, especially Nehru. It argued that, given the incipient nature of the proletarian movement in India in the Forties and Fifties, it was necessary to seek an alliance with the Congress since it was the party that was closest to the masses and it had leaders who were favourably inclined to socialism and its global future. It was Joshi’s firm belief that the democratic revolution in India could be completed only through an alliance between the national bourgeoisie represented within the Congress and the CPI. While the opposite trend saw the Congress as a bourgeois party and therefore hostile to the interests of the working class and the communist movement. The Congress could not be trusted, a suspicion that was strengthened when the first communist government in Kerala led by E.M.S. Namboodiripad was dismissed by Nehru in the summer of 1959.

Three years later, in 1962, when the Sino-Indian border conflict occurred, a section of communists, among whom Namboodiripad was prominent, chose to uphold the cause of China and portrayed India as the aggressor. This was yet another occasion when the communist movement found itself isolated from the national mainstream. It led eventually to a split in the CPI with the pro-Chinese faction leaving the parent party to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist). A rump remained as the CPI — a party totally subservient to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and some would say even fully funded by it.

To these dates — 1942, 1948, and 1962 — when the communists chose not to serve Indian interests but to act at the behest of either Moscow or Peking (as it was then) can now be added another date: 2007. The communists are poised at the moment to withdraw support from the government led by Manmohan Singh unless the latter agrees to renegotiate the Indo-US nuclear treaty. The opposition of the communists is based not on substantial objections to the terms of the treaty, but to the fact that it brings India closer to the US. Prakash Karat, the general secretary of the CPI(M), made this clear in an article in People’s Democracy. He wrote, “The Left parties have been watching with disquiet the way the UPA government has gone about forging close strategic and military ties with the United States….The Left is clear that going ahead with the agreement will bind India to the United States in a manner that will seriously impair an independent foreign policy and our strategic autonomy.”

These, as anyone will recognize, are a series of ideological assertions and not rational arguments. The Left, since the Nineties, has lost all its ideological moorings: socialism is gone and China has turned to market capitalism; within India it has no political base anywhere save in West Bengal and Kerala. With no policies of its own, it has accepted economic reforms and begun to woo capital with some gusto in West Bengal. With everything gone, the Left clings to its anti-Americanism as a last ideological anchor. In the present context, however, the Left’s anti-US position echoes what the Chinese Communist Party is saying on the Indo-US nuclear deal. Karat, whether he likes it or not, is only parroting, like his predecessors did in 1942, 1947 and 1962, a political line coming out of a foreign country, in this case one that is hostile to India. The intensity of his opposition is a reflection of the enduring discomfort of the communists with a pro-Congress stance.

Given its track record, the Left’s attempt to see itself as a protector of India’s national sovereignty and autonomy is a disgrace. Communists in India have acted, at critical periods, at the behest of the Soviet Union or China. In so doing, communists have sacrificed India’s national interests. They are about to do the same now.

The history of Indian communism is the story of a series of historic blunders. The red flag has never fluttered because those who hold it aloft know only how to blunder. What is pathetic is that even the blunders of the communists are not their own!

Looks like Commies had told Queen and Moron Singh that it is just a drama they are playing for international lefties because now left had Left’s ‘no objection’ to Indian participation in negotiation with the IAEA ?

Queen is on fun trip to South Africa, Moron Singh waiting for made in Japan electronics for his son-in-laws and grand children.
Left are also waiting for crumbs as usual from Japan and Queen may bring blood pudding for them from South Africa. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Since this is poll prospects thread, let us start the real discussion of what are the actual prospects of two percieved main parties(congress and BJP) of India. It is unfortunate that both these parties are currently in the range of 130 seats.

Which alignments are possible?

Does BJP has a chance to form a coalition?

what are the cards that Congress can play?

With Nuclear deal being used as anti-islam ( serious efforts are being made as ramana pointed out with the help of Seema Mustafa articles), is there a chance for Left Front and Third front upsurge to power?

The catalyst of current situation is Mayawati. Will Mayawati form a government using splintered third front and congress?

I guess it is time to discuss these as we can see election in four months unless the Left compromises(that cannot be rules out).
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Pawar hints at a mid-term poll </b>
Agencies | Mumbai
As the standoff between Congress and Left over the Indo-US nuclear deal intensifies, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar asked his party workers to prepare for the mid-term poll

"During a meeting with party workers from Ahmednagar district here last night, Pawar said<b> mid-term elections may take place within three-four months</b>," Maharashtra NCP president Arun Gujarathi, who was present at the meeting said PTI.

"However, Pawar said that if wise counsel prevails, then the Government may continue and complete its term," Gujarathi added.

Gujarathi's assertion came a day after news reports that Pawar had told his daughter Rajya Sabha member Supriya Sule to concentrate on nurturing Baramati constituency rather than spending time in Rajya Sabha in the face of a possible mid-term poll.
Interesting this Pawar piece. All talks of polls are coming from Congress. Or their mouthpiece. Why? They have most to gain with immediate polls?

(i) polls today will sink any hopes of UPNA Left alliance which is still in it's infancy - way too much ego battles in place and UPNA+Left alliance can't be sold to voter. Who's the PM face on their banners?

(ii) Lefties forcing polls on a foreign policy issue would only weaken them in terms of LS numbers - foreign policy is not their forte and their credibility on same is zero with the whole nation (maybe few handful hardcore red ants who don't translate into numbers at center)

(iii) BJP's opposed the 123 deal and them going into elections today on a item which imposed mid-term will position them in lefty court as far as voter perception goes. So it puts BJP in a less than desirable position
See post 72 by Capt Kumar. And it's no surprise that Advani doesn't want Govt to fall.

(iv) Mayawati's star is on rise now, but at national level there's lot to be said about her support from other sundry alliances with Amma, Naidu, Chautala types. Year from now, things might be different, but today she's not yet accepted as PM material by sundry alliance.
Since we know that hell will freeze over before Sonia let's her assume the PM gaddhi, the best time to clip Mayawati's wings is now - 2009 will be too late.

(iv) Left can't fracture the Muslim vote bank enough to make a significant dent into Congress. There is no anti-America muslim outrage on streets on this nuclear issue, even Bush visit to India last spring had a bigger outrage. Besides, fundoos are busy with Taslima affair.

(v) Rahul's of age now to nudge the seat warmer out.

I can see why Pawar's asking cadres to prepare for polls.

<i>"The hard part about playing "chicken" is knowing when to flinch." </i>
Capt. Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn) in "Hunt For Red October"
The Left's 'death of a 1,000 cuts'
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->What Manmohan Singh never grasped was the hard work that his prime minister, P V Narasimha Rao, put in with the BJP leaders.

Can you imagine Manmohan Singh having the grace and the wit to appoint a BJP leader to lead an international delegation? But that is just what Rao did, when Kashmir became an issue at a conference in Geneva, making Atal Bihari Vajpayee the leader and Farooq Abdullah his deputy, with a Congressman only as the third-ranking leader.

Manmohan Singh's idea of dealing with the BJP, on the other hand, is to claim that back in 2004 some unnamed BJP leaders were performing a havan for his death; try getting any support for your policies after that!
It's pity MMS didn't learn a thing while under PVN who clearly was a giant amongst these pygmies.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The prime minister dared the Left Front to cut off his government's head. Did he forget that the CPI-M has other options, including the political equivalent of the Chinese torture called 'Death of a Thousand Cuts?' The Left Front will block every measure of economic reform so dear to the prime minister's heart. Pension reforms? Labour reforms? FDI reforms? Forget about them, Mr Prime Minister!

As I said, there is blame aplenty to go around. The CPI-M has insulted Dr Singh for three years, employing its veto without hinder. His policies have been derailed, and he himself has been lampooned. That outburst against the Left Front may have been regrettable but it was at least understandable.

That said, the saddest part of the story is that there seems to be no way out of the paralysis threatening Delhi. The three major parties -- the Congress, the BJP, the CPI-M -- are notably reluctant to go to the hustings.

The Congress pipped the BJP as the single largest party in 2004 largely thanks to disenchanted urban voters and because the National Democratic Alliance fared poorly in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. But the municipal polls held in Mumbai and Delhi earlier this year led to a hiding for the Congress. And in the 2006 assembly polls, Jayalalithaa ensured that the DMK would be denied even a simple majority. (Please remember that in 2004, the AIADMK-BJP combine failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat from Tamil Nadu.)

The BJP got a gigantic slap in the face in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha polls. With the party in doldrums in the largest state, with dissent in Gujarat, and with the alliance with the Shiv Sena in question in Maharashtra, the BJP is in no shape to face polls today.

How about the Left Front? The open quarrels between Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and local party boss Pinarayi Vijayan proved so embarrassing that the CPI-M was forced to kick them both out of the Politburo. As for West Bengal, I still consider Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to be one of India's best chief ministers but Nandigram has opened wounds that refuse to heal.

Let us admit that August 2007 has not been the ideal way to celebrate India's Diamond Jubilee. What does it say of our democracy that our principal politicians are notably reluctant to face the electorate, or that our prime minister seems bent on saddling India with a treaty built on a foundation of false assurances (to the Americans) and lack of support (in Parliament)?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The MPs feel that the entire issue has become one of ego tussle between the Left bigwigs and the Prime Minister, and blame Manmohan Singh for aggravating crisis by daring the Left to withdraw support.

"The nation cannot be plunged into poll because of the egos of some people. <span style='color:red'>Manmohan has taken the entire India-US nuclear deal as his personal prestige issue. If he were replaced, perhaps the tempers could cool down and the Left be pacified,"</span> commented an MP
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Shenoy doesnt get it. MMS is true blue secular DIE who cant stand any tinge of saffron. MMS always got a free pass for his economic scholarship and people never questioned his political bearings or ideology. Some time after the PVNR govt lost the elections MMS made a speech in Rajya Sabha where he exposed his secular mindset. He also was the main speaker for INC agaisnt the nuke tests in 1998. My point is he hides his political feeling quite well behind his scholarly background. Note in his India TOday interview he says that he was destined to be the PM. That must have sent shivers down SG's back. And could explain her not rushing to his defence. PTI reports she is cutting short her visit to South Africa.

Did anyone note that some Indian American busybody made some noises that the deal must go on or else..

The poor MP doesnt know it but HS Vyas article in Pioneer states that MMS and SG made a first strike on Karat hoping to break the CPIM on regional lines-West Bengalis versus the rest and it didnt work when Karat fired back. Now the whole Dilli chatterati is turning their big guns on CPIM and Left. Karat on the other hand wants to remove the Muslim support fom INC and make them a non-entity. So there are big stakes game sort of a death match.
Alternative analysis:
If BJP supported Congress on Nuclear deal, then UPA wouldn't have survived even 10 days. Apart from left parties other like RJD and Paswan would have withdrawn from the government.

Imagine what if Advani and Yaswant Sinha congratulated MMS for the greatest achievement on the lines of Vajpayee calling Indira as Durga of India after 1971 war. I will bet that UPA would have collapsed like pins under the current conditions of Left trying to polarise IMs away from congress.

Did BJP did not read or is it a deliberate action? I hope I am not spinning too much here <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Pioneer article

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Save Govt at any cost: UPA allies
Akhilesh Suman | New Delhi
Even PM change should be considered, feel MPs
Amid the tough postures taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Left parties over the India-US civil nuclear deal, the UPA allies are becoming jittery over the prospect of facing a mid-term poll on a controversial issue like nuclear deal.

The show of unity on Sunday during the UPA meeting does not reflect the growing unease of the allies over the way the Government was doing precious little to avert a mid-term poll.

<b>"We may be forced to face mid-term poll, but if you say we are prepared, it is just showing a brave face," a senior member of a UPA constituent told The Pioneer.

"The Congress president and the Prime Minister should find a way out and avoid confrontation to let the Government function for its full term," he added.</b>

Concerned that the situation was moving fast towards the untimely end of the Government, the allies have started talking about the possible steps the Government could take to stave off the spectre of mid-term poll.

<b>In an off-the-record conversation in Parliament on Tuesday, several MPs belonging to regional parties with stake in the Government were of the opinion that it would be better to sacrifice the Prime Minister to save the Government. "If needed, we should think of an alternative to the present Prime Minister. Why should we go into the election for the fault of one or two people?"</b>

<b>The MPs feel that the entire issue has become one of ego tussle between the Left bigwigs and the Prime Minister, and blame Manmohan Singh for aggravating crisis by daring the Left to withdraw support. </b>

"The nation cannot be plunged into poll because of the egos of some people. Manmohan has taken the entire India-US nuclear deal as his personal prestige issue. If he were replaced, perhaps the tempers could cool down and the Left be pacified," commented an MP.

Though the UPA leaders pledged support to the leadership of Manmohan Singh on Sunday, their MPs are justifying the apprehensions of the Left parties on the nuclear deal and feel that it could alienate the minority voters.

"Even if an election is held, we will think twice before aligning with the Congress on this issue, we don't want to be seen on the right side of America," another UPA member said.

Another straw that the allies were clutching was possible intervention by the West Bengal lobby within the CPI(M) to avert the crisis. They were drawing some hope from CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu's statement that the mid-term poll was not a possibility.

<b>Clinging on to power:</b>
UPA allies becoming jittery over prospect of facing mid-term poll on controversial issue like N-deal

MPs feel Sonia, PM should find a way out and avoid confrontation to let Govt complete its full term

They talk about possible steps Govt could take to stave off spectre of mid-term poll

MPs feel entire issue has become one of ego tussle between Left bigwigs and PM

Allies pin hopes on CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu's statement that mid-term poll was not a possibility<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
There are too many conflicting reports on the issue. I somehow don't buy the line that SG and MMS together tried to bait the left. There was too much at stake to bait them unnecessarily. If MMS had already told left when they met him that they can withdraw support if necessary, why did he go public with it in the interview? After that meeting b/w MMS and left prior to MMS' interview, the left appeared to be in a concillatory mode. The MMS interview was a direct challenge that left decided to use for its own benefit.

MMS has had lousy advisers and media managers. The planting of stories during the negotiations with US, the unwanted allegations, keeping everyone in the dark about the progress, wrong briefings at wrong times to the media etc, all of them point to someone again advising MMS to shoot off his mouth at the wrong time again.

I still think that MMS might be replaced, and govt will survive and the nuclear deal too might survive if MMS is the price that congress has to pay. Shenoy has it right when he said that left would extract a political price. The left leaders had already made it clear that congress would pay a huge price if it went ahead with the deal. In hindsight, from MMS perspective, would slowdown of reforms made a better quid pro qo for nuclear deal?
Deserves to be posted in full, as it is by KP Nayar, and I always found his opinions honest and factual.

LEFT SMARTING - The crisis over the nuclear deal was in the making for a year

I ran into a high-profile member of Ambassador David Mulford’s team at the American embassy in New Delhi a few months ago on a street close to my home just outside Washington. After the usual pleasantries, he told me how out of touch we Indian correspondents in Washington were about the flourishing and promising state of Indo-US relations. “You guys should come to New Delhi and see how good things are,” he told me and went on to draw for me a picture of Indo-US relations of the kind that former East bloc diplomats used to paint of their countries’ ties with India in the Indira Gandhi era. He was not spinning for me. Having known the man for many years before he went on a posting to New Delhi, I am convinced that he believed every word of what he was saying to be true.

<b>I tried to tell him that like several of my colleagues from the south Asian media fraternity here, I have been visiting India regularly. I could have told him that the crisis precipitated by the Left parties this month has been in the making for at least a year. But he did not want to listen. Ensconced in the unreal world of Chanakyapuri, reading New Delhi’s English language press, he was sure that the next decade — at least — belonged to India and the US in what they were going to do together.</b>

New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri can be extremely deluding. <b>My wife, a former European diplomat, lived in Chanakyapuri for close to four years on a posting in India: so I know from personal experience how the imaginatively-named Shanti Path and Kautilya Marg could remove anyone living there from the realities of India.</b> Politicians and journalists in New Delhi have always “spiritually” fed into the assessments of ambassadors in Chanakyapuri, based largely on what these envoys see of India through the tinted windows of their limousines or on vignettes picked up from the capital’s cocktail circuit and in restaurants in New Delhi’s five-star hotels. How else could a diplomat as seasoned and accomplished as Yuli Vorontsov, the Soviet ambassador to India from 1977 to 1983, have reported back to Moscow that Indira Gandhi was finished forever after her electoral defeat following the Emergency?

Twelve years ago, a central Asian ambassador in New Delhi sent a cable back home that P.V. Narasimha Rao would be returned to power in the general election in 1996. An Indophile who spoke better Hindi than English, this ambassador was summarily recalled by his autocratic Soviet-era apparatchik president, who has a reputation of dipping his opponents in boiling oil. The ambassador, a very likeable man, has since not been seen in public.

The unfortunate difference between the yesteryear and now is that then, officials, journalists and politicians who pandered to the diplomatic community in Chanakyapuri were those who could deliver very little to diplomats. <b>Under the Manmohan Singh government, a symbiotic relationship has flourished between Western diplomats in New Delhi and influential men and women in office. As a result, decisions of cabinet committees have been changed to Washington’s benefit by members of a coterie without the concerned minister even being told about a change before it was done.</b>

<b>Rootless cabinet ministers, who cannot win a Lok Sabha election but are loyal to the mantra of free market and globalization, have taken charge of statecraft. It has left other cabinet members who cannot speak good English or choose the right cheese and wine, but have a following of their own, smarting because they have found themselves out of the process of actual decision-making.</b> More often than not, particularly in the last year and a half, the latter have been presented with a fait accompli on many matters that concern the nation’s destiny.

The requirement of “political clearance” from South Block for meetings between foreign diplomats and officials across the spectrum of the government of India is now largely observed in its breach. <b>As a result, it is no longer unusual to see a first secretary from a Western embassy freely running around the corridors of a sensitive ministry, meeting an additional secretary or a full secretary.</b> But to New Delhi’s shame, this has largely been a one-way traffic: as recently as last week, the protocol book was thrown in the face of a senior Indian official who sought a meeting with a Bush administration operative who was slightly above the rank of the Indian.

It was inevitable under those circumstances that a crisis of the kind that the United Progressive Alliance is now faced with had to come: the only question was when it would explode in the face of this government.

On one of my two visits to India this year, I met five members of Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers: all of them had reservations about the nuclear deal with the United States of America. Those in charge on Raisina Hill, the seat of executive power in India, did not think at any stage since the July 18, 2005 Indo-US summit that it was necessary to fully and comprehensively explain to such doubters the full implications of the deal with Washington. Instead, their support was taken for granted.

<b>One of those ministers was in the US on a day when the nuclear deal crossed one of several stages of its adoption in the complex American system.</b><i>who is this?</i>The minister was under pressure to speak to the ethnic Indian media in the US in support of the deal. He was particularly encouraged by Indian Americans, who have been sincerely at work for the success of the deal. This minister would not have got to where he is today without a strong political sixth sense, which perhaps told him that an opinion from a journalist who has been covering the deal would do no harm. I referred him to a statement that had been issued a few hours earlier by the external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee, which was typically reserved, cautious and certainly did not gloat over the significant advance that the nuclear deal had made in Washington that day. The visiting minister immediately took the cue from Mukherjee and did not say anything on record about the deal during the rest of his US visit.

<b>The build-up to the current crisis in New Delhi and its political handling are in stark contrast to the way Narasimha Rao dealt with similar situations. Rao used to be as fed up as the present prime minister on many occasions and faced many crises which were potentially far more destructive during his five years at 7, Race Course Road than the present one. If Manmohan Singh had reflected on some of his experiences as Rao’s cabinet colleague and drawn on them, perhaps the UPA would not be in its current predicament. Whether it was on the politically-sensitive proposal, in 1991, to nominate Rajiv Gandhi’s aide, V. George, to the Rajya Sabha (which Rao so cleverly neutralized), or the decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, or his successful effort to nudge the country decisively to the right of centre on all fronts, the late prime minister never allowed the politically relevant members of his cabinet to be left out of the process. Quite often, he trapped them into agreeing to something, but they were willing to be trapped, after which they were part of the process unlike in the current Congress-led government.</b>

In the end, the nuclear deal with the US is not a disease that is eating into the UPA government. The deal is merely symptomatic of what is wrong with it. <b>Last year, another aide to Mulford offered me a story. Actually, it was more of a campaign to change government policy than a single story. I turned it down, but shortly thereafter, the US embassy in New Delhi did manage to change policy in New Delhi by running the campaign in another newspaper. That is what happens to a government which is more concerned about opinion in the plush drawing rooms of South Delhi than in the soggy shanties of Mumbai’s Dharavi. It is subtle subversion of this kind that Prakash Karat is resisting with his ultimatum, not just the nuclear deal.</b> And there are several members of the UPA cabinet who agree with Karat in principle although they do not endorse his tactics, if only because they may end up losing their jobs.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The sooner the present govt falls, the better it is for our country!

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