Citizens' Issues
In the dharma of for-profit politics, ruling party and opposition are in a colluding coalition

With a large number of politicians turning big businessmen, the definition of coalition politics has undergone a change. The opposition acts as part of the ruling coalition -- in collusion to share the fruits of business interests. 

Politics in India is going through a strange transition. Amid the allegations and counter-allegations of corruption, undue favours and resource-grabbing by politicians, flying thick and fast, are we witnessing the death of conventional opposition parties? Politicians across party lines now have major investments in real estate, resources, agribusiness and education. They have no interest in fighting each other. The business of opposition is to act in collusion with those with the ruling party. This is a different kind of coalition.
The opposition party politicians have the same interests as that of the ruling parties.

Nitin Gadkari, the president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not a big businessman in politics. There are several more prosperous businessmen like the Reddy brothers from Bellary, Vijay Mallya, Navin Jindal and last but not least Jaganmohan Reddy, son of YS Rajsekhar Reddy, the late chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. 
The Reddy brothers of Bellary, especially Janardhana Reddy, were allegedly very close the YSR Reddy and his family as well as BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. The Bellary brothers, who devastated parts of the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border region, have been arrested after decades of amassing wealth (reportedly Rs50,000 crore). Interestingly, while the Bellary brothers belong to BJP, YSR Reddy and family are in Congress.
Sunil Tatkare, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and current Water Resources Minister in Maharashtra can be called a relatively newcomer in politics. Yet, within a short span, he is alleged to have amassed a wealth of about Rs25,000 crore according to Kirit Somaiya, national secretary of BJP. Somaiyaa alleged that Tatkare, his family and friends acquired large tracts of land, worth over Rs25,000 crore where black money was parked through 1000-odd companies. 
Somaiya is an exception. The BJP state unit in Maharashtra has no interest in going after Tatkare. They know that NCP can hit back at Gadkari. Indeed, today, Sharad Pawar came out in support of Gadkari!
In short, the line between opposition and ruling party is gone. They are all in together. As Gadkari seems to have told Anjali Damania “How could you expect us to speak against Mr Sharad Pawar? Chaar kaam wo hamare karte hain, chaar kaam hum unke karte hain.”
In the absence of quality opposition party, those in power have their free ways. A decade ago, when the lines between opposition and ruling party were clear, we used to see some very good debates in Assembly and Parliament.
In Maharashtra assembly, I miss politicians like ND Patil, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Gopinath Munde, and even Nitin Gadkari. I remember Gadkari, when he was the leader of opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council, had raised several issues in the House and made the government accept his points through arguments. Similarly, Munde was very visible and effective orator, when he was BJP group leader in the assembly. Even the ruling bench was more interested in proving answering, resolving issues through discussion in the House.
In fact, Munde is still best remembered for his verbal duals with the then chief minister Sharad Pawar. He used all the democratic means, including no confidence motion, to raise people's issues in the House and took the Congress government to task. Some people even give credit to Munde for bringing the Shiv Sena-BJP combine to power in Maharashtra. 
But it is all history now and today MLAs think creating ruckus and disrupting the proceeding of the House is their main job, which come with a free and instant publicity on TV channels. ND Patil is semi-retired, Vilasrao Deshmukh is no more, while both Munde and Gadkari have shifted base to Delhi. Gadkari is more interested in his business and preserving his legacy and business interests for his son, like Narayan Rane.
Today, the opposition party exists only on paper and in the media. Politicians, whom the common people think of from opposite parties can be seen together on several occasions. Just take a round of Mantralaya and you would find MLAs from all parties in the anti-chamber of a minister, asking for favours. This is the same scenario from ward level to Delhi.
This unfortunately also signals the death or dearth of opposition party, the essential part of a healthy democracy. Emergence and rapid rise of social activists like Anna Hazare and upcoming politicians like Baba Ramdev and Arvind Kejriwal definitely underlines the absence of an effective opposition. The implication of this is not clear. It could even lead to anarchy. 


Kejriwal suppressed bigger scam involving Pawar family says YP Singh

According to the former IPS officer turned lawyers, the Pawar family in involved in a bigger irrigation scam and despite knowing all the facts, Kejriwal kept quite on the Lavasa issue


YP Singh, former IPS officer and lawyer has alleged that Arving Kejriwal kept quite despite having full knowledge of a big irrigation scam involving Sharad Pawar family in Maharashtra.

"Why did Kejriwal undermine a big irrigation scam which had a clear-cut quid pro quo with the senior politician? This scam was fully known to Kejriwal but he chose to take-up a frivolous and petty case of Nitin Gadkar, which also contained a false allegation," Singh said.

According to Singh, Ajit Pawar, nephew of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, allotted 341 acres of land procured for Krishna Valley irrigation project, to Lavasa at Rs23,000 per month for a 30 year lease. At that time, Supriya Sule, daughter of Sharad Pawar and her husband Sadanand Sule together owned 20.8% shares in Lavas City Corp, which they sold out later, Singh said.

The former IPS officer said, he and Kejriwal did the Lavasa investigation together, yet the India Against Corruption (IAC) leader chose not to expose this scam and instead targetted smaller scam involving BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

He also said that anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare seems to have a soft corner for the senior Pawar. "Anna Hazare vehemently took up the case of Lavasa, but later remained silent. I had given him details on Lavasa but don't know why he had a soft corner for Sharad Pawar," Singh said.




4 years ago

Why not we look at this from a different angle? Arvind Kejriwal is another individual doing certain things in his own way. Let us not prescribe rules for him so long as he is not violating normal codes of conduct a ‘public person’ is expected to follow. Let him decide his priorities. If another individual has an ‘exposure’ to make, don’t wait for Kejriwal, go ahead and make it. Let us agree on one point. Public life needs a cleansing. Whosoever contributes to the process, let us welcome.

Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

Now Kejarival is a political person so eyesight changes.Nothing new will be seen hereafter from IAC.


4 years ago

everyone has their own political axe to grind

Growing deficit continues to be a serious threat to Indian economy

Rising current account deficit and widening trade deficits point to a lower growth rate while uncertain global macro-economic environment poses another threat


During the first quarter of FY2012-13, India’s current account deficit (CAD) rose to 3.9% of GDP against 3.8% same period of the last fiscal. For FY2011-12, the record high trade deficit last fiscal had pushed up the CAD to 4.2% of GDP. The current account deficits indicate serious macroeconomic imbalances that could put the Indian economy at risk.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, speaking at the 26th Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, said that India’s current account deficit has remained elevated during the last few quarters due to widening of trade deficit reflecting worsening global situation. And due to the uncertain global macro-economic environment and slowing domestic growth, the financing of the current account deficit will continue to remain a challenge, he said.

Nomura Securities expect the current account deficit to reach record high in the third quarter. It estimates that the current account deficit would worsen to an all time high of around 4.9% of GDP citing the sharp deterioration in the trade deficit as the main reason.

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S&P projects the current account deficit for the financial year to be 3.5% of GDP, below last year's 4.5%, given the inflow of foreign direct investment, and portfolio investments. However, S&P said it has cut its FY13 growth forecast for India to 5.5%, from 7% previously, due to soft domestic and external demand.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday slashed India’s growth forecast for calendar year 2012 to 4.9% from 6.2% in July. The IMF has cited "continued investment slowdown" and further deterioration in the global economy as the main drivers behind the downgrade. In its July outlook, the IMF had estimated India’s 2013 GDP growth at 6.6%. The IMF expects India to end the year with a current account deficit of 3.8% of GDP which again, is out of line when compared with other Asian economies.

The World Bank too, recently cut India’s growth forecast for the current financial year to 6% from the earlier estimate of 6.9%, citing corruption and uncertainty in policy issues.

According to monthly customs data, the trade deficit widened to 12.2% of GDP in Q3 from 9.7% in Q2. While oil prices have risen, most of this worsening is in the non-oil segment. The oil trade balance has remained broadly unchanged (at -6.1% of GDP in Q3), while the non-oil trade balance has worsened to -6.1% of GDP from -3.3% in Q2.

According to the commerce department, exports contracted for the fifth straight month in September to 10.8% to $23.7 billion from a year ago. Imports rose by 5.09% to $41.8 billion on a 31% rise in oil imports to $14.1 billion. The trade deficit swelled to an 11-month high $18.1 billion from $15.7 billion in August.

Non-oil imports for the month showed a contraction of 4.5%, indicating that the economy was still struggling but rising crude consumption was worsening the trade deficit. The high trade deficit last fiscal had pushed up the current account deficit to 4.2% of GDP.

Exports have dipped sharply this fiscal due to shrinking demand from the West, a major market for Indian goods, and other markets such as Japan and Korea. The sectors affected the most include engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and readymade garments.

In a recent press release, M Rafeeque Ahmed, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) citied contraction in global demand and deceleration in manufacturing as the primary concerns for the slowdown. He stated that given the existing macro-economic scenario, India (as per IMF Fiscal Monitor) has the highest levels of fiscal deficits in the world, at 9.5% of gross domestic product (GDP). Only Japan has performed worse than India and even Europe (Spain, Ireland and Greece) has shown better public finances. Mr Ahmed stated India’s expected growth rate for the Indian economy in 2012 is lower than the Asian average, and far lower than the average (6.7%) for developing Asia. The high fiscal and current account deficits indicate serious macroeconomic imbalances that could put the Indian economy at risk.



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