In 9 yrs, UPA has shrunk

The UPA is shrinking at a time when it is celebrating ninth anniversary on May 22, putting a question mark on the longevity and relevance of this experiment. The UPA was formed in 2004 to check the communal forces from coming to power at the Centre.
The DMK and the Trinamul Congress quit the ruling front on certain issues but no new (or old) allies have joined the UPA from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal so far. On the other hand, key supporting parties — Samajwadi Party, BSP and the RJD — are main hurdles in regaining lost grounds in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The Congress too has not been comfortable with the NCP despite sharing power with latter since 1999.
Can the Congress fight with the BJP-led NDA and regional players simultaneously in the coming Lok Sabha elections? The picture about this could become clearer after May 22.
The Congress party returned to power at the Centre through coalition route after eight years in 2004. The disintegration of the NDA had begun after the Gujarat riots in 2002. But this did not affect the BJP which had won Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls in 2003 and thus had advanced the Lok Sabha polls. But it had miscalculated.The DMK, NCP, Left, RJD, LJP, National Conference, TRS and other regional parties came together under the UPA umbrella and changed the national mood within four months. The BJP-led front got defeated in the general election held in April-May 2004.
The UPA-1 came to power on the common minimum programme and the outside support of the Left. The Congress and the Left leaders used to discuss policy issues periodically. But such mechanism did not exist in the UPA-2 barring few meetings with the ally leaders. This is because the allies were concerned more about their state specific interests, packages, concessions.
But the coalition spirit did not last long in the UPA. While the TRS came out of it on the issue of separate Telangana state, the Left withdrew their support on the issue of nuclear deal with the US in July 2008. A section of the Congress had wanted the party to seek a fresh mandate but the party managed support though defections.
And in 2009 polls, the Congress had won over 200 seats in the Lok Sabha which it never thought of.
The UPA 2 has seen scams in 2G, CWG, coal, helicopter purchase, Aadarsha housing besides price rise. But the spin doctors are confident to retain power for a third time consecutively because of the BJP’s failure to emerge as an alternate to the Congress and the absence of a third alternative.

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