Policy

Chennai speculates on alliance and election

M. Ramesh Chennai | Updated on February 02, 2011




Chennai took in its stride the arrest of Mr A Raja, former Telecom Minister and an MP of the DMK that rules Tamil Nadu. But the event did create excitement for the people at large, who never seem to tire of speculating on the impact of the 2G mess on the upcoming Assembly elections.

In fact, well before the arrest, the Tamil press had set the stage for theorising. The visit of the Chief Minister, Mr M Karunanidhi, to Delhi on Monday and his meeting with the Congress party chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had tongues wagging about the emerging political combinations.

Reports doing the rounds included those about Ms Sonia Gandhi keeping the Chief Minister waiting for a while before meeting him or the tough negotiations for seat sharing.

Third front?

There has been speculation about the emergence of a ‘third front'— an idea long derided for its impracticality — with the presence of the Congress in it, which, if true, would set the backdrop for a keen election.

The ruling party's arch rival, the AIADMK, which did not even seem to be in the reckoning only a year ago, has been in high spirits the last few months, gaining strength from the discomfiture of the DMK due to the alleged involvement of Mr Raja in what is touted as the country's largest-ever scam.

The arrest of the former Minister is to be viewed against this backdrop. Not surprisingly, speculation is rife about what will happen to the Congress-DMK alliance now, despite assurances from both parties that the pact is not in danger.

Most discussions in Chennai today revolved around Mr Raja's arrest. The most widespread belief appears to be that the arrest was a demonstration of the Congress flexing its muscles, ahead of seat-sharing talks.

Parliamentary activities

The more knowledgeable speak in terms of the Centre's desperation to get Parliament going, so that some business — not to forget the Budget — can happen.

The Winter Session of Parliament was a wash-out, with there being no let-up in the Opposition's stand that no business would be transacted until the Government agreed to a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G scam.

The arrest of Mr Raja is seen by some, including noted columnist and Convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Mr S Gurumurthy, as a move by the Congress to offer something to the Opposition, in a bid to convince the parties to allow Parliament to function, at least this session.

Parliament has much to do. The last session began with 29 Bills waiting to be passed.

Ten more Bills were introduced and six were passed. Among those introduced during the session are: The State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Amendment Bill, 2010, The Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2010 and The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010. Therefore, the seventh session of the Fifteenth Lok Sabha would begin with 33 Bills. Then, there is the Budget.

Whether it is Delhi or Chennai, the question is: what will happen now?.

Published on February 02, 2011

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