For the first time, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh betrayed the unease within the ruling coalition following the arrests of DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A Raja in 2G spectrum allocation scam.
While interacting with a group of editors on Wednesday, the Prime Minister acknowledged that there was “tension” within the ruling UPA. “We have some points of tension, but nobody wants an election,” Singh said.
So far, the Congress and the prime minister have been maintaining an “all is well” line. Even after the defeat in Tamil Nadu assembly elections and rejection of successive bail pleas of Kanimozhi, both the Congress and the DMK have insisted that their alliance was strong. The prime minister had also emphasized this in May while returning from his sixday trip to Africa. “As of now, DMK is our partner and there is no change in that,” he had said.
The remark is the first formal acknowledgement that the Congress-led UPA was feeling the heat from its partner. It also comes just a day after DMK refused to back the Congress at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting for dumping the report on the 2G scandal. The report was critical of the Prime Minister’s Office and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
But that the government appears to be hopeful of the DMK keeping its unhappiness within the politically permissible limits was evident when he said that nobody wanted to push the country into an election. The DMK is also aware that it has no option outside the UPA. With Jayalalithaa in charge of its home state, it cannot afford to have a hostile Centre.
The prime minister’s confidence over the stability could also be stemming from an assessment that the Opposition, particularly the BJP, did not have the political heft to precipitate a crisis. Even BJP admirers admit that the party was engaged in a “race to the bottom” with its leaders focusing on intra-party issues rather than taking on the Centre.
The powerful regional leaders, who have the potential to force a realignment of political forces, are yet to reveal their political preferences at the Centre. Economic Times