Sunday, November 20, 2005
Red terror from Monday
As the Parliament convenes for the winter session this coming Wednesday, the "red" spectre hangs heavy on the Manmohan Singh government's head. The Left parties under the stewardship of CPM general secretary Prakash Karat have already upped the ante on the Iran issue. What is curious is the inclusion of the Shia angle in the debate, something not commonly expected from the "secular" Left. This comes within weeks of the Left opposition to the minorityism in AMU that Arjun Singh has been perpetuating so blatantly. Why the Left has chosen to side with Mulayam Singh in communalising the sensitive Iran issue is beyond the grasp of even seasoned analysts. The BJP-led opposition will anyway raise the heat on the Volcker scandal, though Sonia Gandhi has earned some reprieve for her party by blasting any hints of being hands-in-glove with the devil at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit this week. The government will also have to reclaim some authority since the preception that the Left has brought the administrative machinery to a virtual halt is gaining ground. Finance Minister Chidambaram boldly announced the decision to offload 15% equity in Shipping Corporation of India in a move that seems symbolic for reasons other than economics. As it is, BHEL hangs as a noose around the government's disinvestment..oops, dilution program (vocab's changed, folks: it's the red effect) and has seriously dented Chidambaram's reformist image. SCI therefore comes as a breath of fresh air for those who think beyond Marx and Lenin, and are willing to be shouted down at public gatherings in Left-infested grottos (sorry Prime Minister). With FDI in retail gone for a toss "for the time being", let not the divestment program be hijacked. Hopefully the government will better deal with this menace. It can't seem to do anything about the others in any case. Mr. Patil, would you wake up please? Naxalism, terrorism: home's burning, minister.