The publication of Mr.Jaswant Singh’s book, A Call to Honor, had justly created a storm. Apart from the more sensational disclosures about the existence of a mole or a spy in the PMO of Narasimha Rao and the circumstances that led to the IC-814 hijack to Khandahar, the other details about the Pokhran-II, Kargil, 9/11, terrorist attacks on J&K assembly, Indian parliament and much else like Ayodhya and Gujarat have so much relevance to the current politics and would very likely dominate the next elections as well.
Jaswant Singh by writing such a major book and also raising the many controversies, more so the nuclear secret leakage and the on-going debate on the US-Indian civilian nuclear energy co-operation ,all have implications for the present government. It seems much of the Indo-US negotiations under Jaswant Singh, more so the nuclear relations have been; it is alleged, utilized by the Manmohan Singh government. Also, Jaswant Singh’s subsequent observations on the status of the UPA government’s stance on the sovereignty and the independence of the future Indian government to pursue an independent foreign policy are all likely to be raised in the days to come.
The point is that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s protest of innocence or lack of any knowledge of the mole in the former PMO doesn’t sound convincing. As has been pointed by many, in particular by the veteran Correspondent Sunanda K.Datta Roy in the Deccan Herald, there have been in the past many instances of the Indians sharing their minds with the Americans, from the Presidents to other Cabinet Ministers, more damaging that even the Communists, as in West Bengal, used to cultivate their American contacts for visas for their children or Green Card and such favors.
All these and much more have been disclosed by Mr.Ray and even there is a remark that Vajpayee’s 13-day government was brought down with the active participation of the American Embassy. So, we cant take the Congress party’s protests seriously, as there was always a sort of much sharing and consensus on the Pokhron-II, as when Narasimha Rao left office he told Vajpayee to explode the nuclear device!
It looks as if the BJP is emerging as a wiser party, or group of wiser people, after two years in the wilderness. BJP is still for all practical purposes the only major Opposition party, though it lost its cohesiveness after it was unseated. But then our democracy is also changing. As often said, we are now living through era of coalition politics and given the fact that Vajpayee had headed ,rather very successfully a coalition of some 24 disparate parties and had done not so inconsiderably in many area of national importance, on the development front as well as in the international arena.
Now, with the Manmohan Singh led UPA had completed two successful years, there is lot of things to compare and contrast and also we see the new leaders showing up their faces and their mettle! For instance, Mr. Rajnath Singh is nowhere while Mr.L.K.Advani is making a brave attempt to position himself on the centre stage. Not to lack behind are the others. Mr. Venkiah Naidu made a very forceful speech the other day in Parliament when he ridiculed the Leftists who were merely barking while, said Naidu, “see what Mr. Karunanidhi had done. He had browbeaten the PM and Sonia Gandhi” So, Naidu said to the Leftists:” Show real courage and stand up and do something, not just keep talking. No one would take you seriously”.
Such was the thrust of the BJP’s assault on the confusion or the confused stands taken by the UPA allies. There is also news that the INTUC might force Sonia Gandhi to go for an alliance with the ADMK this time. The split in the TN INTUC had caused this shift in the stand. This came from none other than Mr.Sajiva Reddy the INTUC president and we can discern some discomfort of the Congress leadership with the DMK chief’s blackmail tactics to keep the TNCC away from power in the state and his own not so mature leadership in enhancing the image of the UPA.
V.P.Singh also could cause some tremors. So too the leaders like Paswan and others.
The point is that Manmohan Singh’s two year stint didn’t seem to have put the Ganges on fire. The economic growth hadn’t been anything spectacular because of Dr.Singh’s policy inputs; in fact there have been no inputs at all. Even the very few things like the employment guarantee and RTI act are the handiwork of Sonia’s national advisory council and what little Dr.Singh achieved when he signed the nuclear civil power deal seems to have lost its shine with the US Congress passing it with so many restrictions which in the opinion of respected senior scientists is not a vindication of Indian independent status. Now, Jaswant Singh too had added his well-argued points to make the deal not a big deal indeed!
Also, in the light of Jaswant Singh’s book, it will be seen by the public that it was the BJP that can take the credit for bring USA into the Indian scheme of things and Dr.Singh only an interim interlocutor. Also, in the case of Indo-Pakistan peace process, it was Vajpayee who made all the progress that was made and now with Dr.Singh holding Pakistan responsible for the continuing blasts, the UPA is now faced with the charge of unable to do anything to stop the terrorists.
Add to this the continuing farmer’s suicides, now the TV channels have picked up the farmers suicides as continuing, in spite of the PM’s visit to Nagpur and also after announcing a package that is seen as not working! Then comes the fuel price rise about which every other party had made suitable noises. It is a pity the PM or his think tank hadn’t made any forceful case for raising the fuel prices or for the disinvestment proposal that made the regional ally, DMK, to resort to such blackmail and causing such acute embarrassment to the government and in particular to the image of the PM as a great economic expert.
So, when the new issues crop up, as very likely in the emerging scenario of the President perceived on a confrontationist course or the EC giving its verdict on the office of profit applications that are pending before it, could all trigger some new tensions. May be the nuclear deal could still disclose some hidden clauses for which there is intense search among the many contenders.
Not the least, the report that is making the rounds that Vajpayee is on a crash diet and had shed lot of weight and that means a more alluring prospect of Vajpayee offering himself as an alternative candidate to Dr.Manmohan Singh. In all probability, Vajpayee may prove to be a formidable candidate for Dr,Singh to measure up to such a tall leader.
After all, the coalition politics in the country had seen so much radical change of allies and loyalties, who knows the very same old allies, the DMK/PMK or alternatively, the ADMK/MDMK could tilt the scale in favor of a Vajpayee led BJP coalition success story.
After the debate over Jaswant Singh’s new revelations there could be more sober view of the politics in Delhi is as much as about the domestic agenda as about how the US and Pakistan axis revolves towards a new alignment in Delhi government itself.