Part of this report appeared in the Mumbai edition of DNA newspaper on March 16, 2012
Ready for polls but not raring to bring down UPA
New Delhi: The BJP is watching with satisfaction the crisis that is sucking the Congress-led UPA2 as a fallout of railway minister and TMC leader in the dock Dinesh Trivedi's political bravado. The main opposition party is content to have a ringside view of the Congress staggering and stumbling along a thorny path of its own creation.
Said Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, “Mamata waala maamla suljha nahin (The Mamata issue has not been resolved)”. She said that the government was in crisis. “They (the government) don't have the numbers. They are trying to buy time,” she said referring to prime minister Manmohan Singh's reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President's address being put off to Monday.
It is clear that the BJP is not raring for the fall of UPA2 and it would not push for an early election at this moment. There was speculation that Trivedi may have to join the Congress and the possibility of him (Trivedi) being taken into the BJP was brushed aside.
The BJP is not keen to push the Congress over the brink over the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.
Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP M.Venkaiah Naidu in an uncharacteristic understatement summed it up: “All is not well. The Congress Party does not know the art of running the coalition.”
In response to a query, Naidu said, “We are ready for an election at any time, including a mid-term election.” Swaraj had also said that the party would have no problem going into an election which could possibly be precipitated by a clueless Congress.
Naidu returned to his characteristic hyperbole when he described Congress's political incapacity: “What is needed to run a coalition is trust. There is distrust, mistrust, dissensions, divisions, diversions.” Naidu and other BJP leaders take pride in the fact that Atal Bihari Vajpayee ran a successful coalition government of NDA for six years.
The BJP believes that Trivedi did not act on his own, and he was prompted to do and say what he did because of prompting from the Congress. On Thursday morning Swaraj in the Lok Sabha wanted to know from finance minister Pranab Mukherjee whether Trivedi's railway budget had the cabinet approval as was the normal practice, and whether he (Mukherjee) and prime minister Singh were in the know. Mukherjee said that as finance minister he was aware of what was being presented in the railway budget and that the prime minister was not in the loop.
A senior BJP leader speaking on condition of anonymity described Trivedi as a “rootless wonder” and recalled that the railway minister had moved across many parties over the years, and that he had come first found his way into parliament at the time V.P.Singh broke away from the Congress in the 1980s, and that at the time he was close to Arun Nehru. Singh had asked Gujarat chief minister Chimanbhai Patel to facilitate Trivedi's entry into Rajya Sabha.
The general assessment is that Trivedi is not a stickler for political doctrines, and that he would even be a socialist if the need arose. This was in reference to the market-friendly rhetoric of Trivedi's rail budget speech. The new soubriquet of Trivedi when he compared his gesture to Bhagat Singh is “Dinesh Singh”.
The Dinesh Trivedi affair is being seen by the BJP leaders an yet another example of Congress' political ineptitude, which would ultimately lead to the fall of the UPA2 government.