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Congress battles insurrection, UPA may fall apart

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 - 6:46am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
  • A Veeramani DNA

After the debacle, the rebellion. And, most likely, also desertion. The Congress party and the UPA government are reaping the rewards of failure. On Monday, seven Congress members of Parliament from Andhra moved a no-confidence motion against the Manmohan Singh government. It’s both a unique, and an absurd situation. But’ it’s a reality.

And while that’s happening, the United Progressive Alliance, which has stood firm for nearly 10 years, is showing signs of cracking. Soon after the Sunday rout, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had observed that the UPA government had become a lame duck government. That seems to be coming true.

So, is this the beginning of the end for the Manmohan Singh government? Has the unravelling of the UPA begun? For, the Congress party is battling not only angry Andhra Congress MPs, it’s also facing flak from its allies – from Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, which lends UPA-II government outside support, and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is part of the UPA-II government.

The Samajwadi Party is miffed with the Congress and Manmohan Singh government over the Muzaffarnagar communal riots while the NCP sees in the four-states rout of the Congress, a glimpse of things to come in 2014.

NCP president Sharad Pawar on Monday said the “weak leadership” of the UPA was to blame for the poor showing of the UPA government and the Congress defeats in the four states. And both houses of Parliament, disrupted over the issues of Telangana and Muzaffarnagar riots, had to be adjourned for the day on Monday.

But the bigger challenge came from within the Congress when seven of its Lok Sabha members from the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh moved a no-confidence motion against the Manmohan Singh government. Speaking to dna, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, from Guntur in the heart of Andhra, said that he and six other MPs from Andhra had no option but to move the no-confidence motion.

Rao said people in Andhra were against the decision to form Telangana. He said when some of the Andhra MPs submitted their resignations to speaker Meira Kumar she did not accept them.

That added to the anger, forcing them to take the extreme step of moving the no-confidence motion. Indulging in a legal and logical quibble, he said the no-confidence motion was not against the Congress party but against the UPA government.

Rao refused to name the UPA leaders responsible for forcing the decision to form Telangana. But a senior Congress MP of the Rajya Sabha said wrong advice was given to party president Sonia Gandhi by those dealing with the Telangana issue. He said the wrong advice culminated in the disastrous decision to form Telangana.

The no-confidence motion is supported by four Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MPs and three YSR Congress MPs. They believe the motion will be supported by disgruntled allies like the NCP, the DMK and the SP, apart from opposition parties. While the Andhra MPs’ anger is largely over the issue of Telangana, the no-confidence motion, coming immediately after the Congress’ four-states rout, is seen as the growing lack of confidence in the UPA government, and the UPA leadership.

Significantly, the seven Congress MPs are ready to face the consequences of their act of rebellion.

They face disciplinary action, even expulsion from the party. But Rao said that loyalists like him were ignored and that neither he nor others from the Andhra region were consulted by the party on the decision to form Telangana.

The senior Congress leader asserted that the Congress will not win even two seats in Telangana, and that it will be wiped out in the Andhra region. The impending disaster for the Congress in Andhra is being blamed on “sycophants” who surround Sonia Gandhi, and who give her wrong advice.

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