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Congress stock taking – Sonia Gandhi reposes full faith and confidence in Manmohan Singh




Well, if there is such a thing as an expected headline, this was the one. At the Congress CWC meeting, the expected took place. The Congress chief, mindful of the recent attacks on the Prime Minister due to the coal allocation issue (problems surfacing from a time when the coal ministry was being led by the Prime Minister), claimed that all the attacks against the Prime Minister were junk, and since both the PM and Sonia Gandhi claim that the accusations were false, there is no further need to do any kind of investigation. However, there were reports that many CWC speakers did not pull their punches and talked about the public image of the Congress and how citizens of the country do not so easily accept the various excuses given by the party.
So, when there is talk about the high price of fuel, there is mention of decontrol (although everyone knows that it is the Government that approves (and even sets) the price of fuel. When the economic growth falls to a historic low, you have Government members claiming that there is no reason to worry, since the growth is more than those of countries in the Eurozone. When there are a lot of worries expressed about economic growth, then the Government ministers and the PM make similar speeches that the Government is taking steps, we are around the corner, and everything will be fine again. And in the midst of these speeches, the growth level decreases.

The biggest problem for the Government right now is the stench of corruption that has tainted the Congress, and where the Congress feels that it can fool the public. Consider the case of the attacks by Anna Hazare against 15 Congress ministers including the Prime Minister. For a party that has been steadily losing elections, which is being portrayed as the most corrupt Government ever, the party should jump to prove themselves guilty and ask for an independent investigation. Instead, the same old hoary discredited spokesmen come out, claim that either Anna Hazare and his people are corrupt as well, or that they are speaking nonsense. Such an attitude only reinforces the concept that the Government has a lot to hide. And ever since the 2G scam, where the Government refused to do anything till it was forced into action by the courts, it is hard to accept any action by the Government or by the Congress Bureau of Investigation (CBI) without a lot of cynicism. Even the quick investigation of Jagan Reddy by the CBI essentially shows that one of the most famous Chief Ministers of a Congress ruled state was highly corrupt, and the Congress does not seem to be worried about such a taint.
On reform, the Government has developed such cold feet that even reluctant businessmen speak about against Government inaction, and blame this for the reduction in growth rates. But instead you have a finance ministry that essentially wants to overturn a Supreme court action to get money from Vodafone, no matter as to what this did to the credibility of India as a place where laws are respected. And the Government seems to have decided that getting taxes is key, so legislation where suspected tax offenders have to prove themselves innocent rather than the Government proving them guilty was almost implemented. Further, the finance minister has been totally short of ideas and the economist Prime Minister seems to not want to do anything. As a result, the Congress is likely to slide further down.




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