Where’s coalition dharma, ask miffed UPA allies

Clearly unhappy at the manner in which the Cabinet reversed its decision on the ordinance on convicted legislators, UPA allies felt that the government was not following the “coalition dharma”. Emerging out of the Cabinet meeting, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s body language suggested his unease over the withdrawal of the ordinance. The Samajwadi Party claimed the decision was a “conspiracy against democracy”, while the National Conference hoped that “Mr Rahul Gandhi will have better adviser” in future.
The NCP, insiders said, was disappointed for the reason that the UPA government bowed to the “diktat” of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “The decision to withdraw the ordinance amounts to supremacy of Mr Gandhi over the Cabinet, which is not acceptable to Mr Pawar,” said a senior NCP functionary. Mr Abdullah tweeted: “It’s a Cabinet decision, I am not upset, just unhappy.”
The SP, which is unnerved after the conviction of RJD chief Lalu Yadav in the fodder scam, was more scathing. It is alleged that the Akhilesh Yadav-led UP Cabinet has half-a-dozen ministers, who face criminal charges. The party is also wary of the fact the focus on criminalisation of politics could make it defensive ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has pinned a lot of hope on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to revive his fortunes in national politics.
With Mr Gandhi single-handedly forcing a reversal of the Cabinet decision, the Congress could launch a scathing attack on the SP for shielding and promoting criminals in politics as voters get more vocal against tainted legislators. Mr Gandhi is soon to launch the party campaign in UP. The SP termed the Cabinet decision a move taken for electoral benefits.
Apparently mindful of the consequences of the withdrawal of the ordinance, which could open a floodgate of attack on party leaders, SP general secretary Naresh Agarwal had called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to remain firm on the ordinance ahead of the Cabinet meeting. Mr Agarwal added that backing out from a “well-thought out” decision would give the signal that “one individual is bigger than the government”.
The BSP, while not coming out in the open on the Cabinet decision, is also miffed that its demand for protection of the legislators was not met. The BSP, too, is alleged to field a large number of leaders facing criminal charges in elections.
Incidentally, RLD was the only UPA ally, which came in support of the withdrawal of the Ordinance before the Cabinet met in the evening.
National Conference chief and Union minister Farooq Abdullah said that Mr Gandhi had “wrongly been advised” on the issue. “I think someone must have advised him on this. I think, they advised him wrongly. I hope there will be better advisers in future and he will consult other UPA constituents,” said Mr Abdullah.
SP national secretary Rajesh Dixit said that withdrawal of the Ordinace is unfortunate as politicians are slapped with frivolous charges by their opponents and if they are convicted their political career would come to an end.
RJD chief Lalu Yadav had already criticised Mr Gandhi’s claims that the ordinance was “nonsense” and worth “tearing up”.

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