Monday, December 3, 2012

FDI issue: Congress valuing Kamal Nath's backroom political skills ...

December 2, 2012 ????? 0 Comments



Politics, anyone will tell you, has to be looked at in two ways, at once distinctive and diffused. One way is to look at it through the prism of lofty ideology, the desire to determine how society is ordered, under what ?ism? business should run. The second, more common way is of watching the snake-and-ladder game of durbar politics. Who?s in, who?s out, who gets what.

Parliament sessions are a deft weaving of both these strands of politics. Parties take ideological or political positions on issues, then realpolitik intervenes. This is something the new parliamentary affairs minister, Kamal Nath, seems to understand perfectly. Scarcely a month into his job, he has managed to make the UPA government look its most comfortable in Parliament ever since the 2G scam broke.

Everywhere Man

It could be attributed to the fact that Kamal Nath is one of the most senior MPs in Lok Sabha right now. He won his first election in 1980, from Chhindwara, on a Congress ticket, and barring one disastrous by-election in 1998, where he lost to BJP stalwart Sunder Lal Patwa, he has continuously been in the Lok Sabha.

It could also be the fact that although he fights elections from Madhya Pradesh, he was born in Meerut, studied in Doon School, did business and student politics in Kolkata in the 1970s and ?80s and has business interests in the west and south of the country. ?Kite Kamal? (so named for his three airplanes and one chopper) is everyone?s man, an ideal qualification for his current position.

The Dealmaker

Let us look at the situation when he entered his new ministry. Mamata Banerjee had withdrawn support and was determined to push a no-confidence motion, the BJP and the Left wanted a discussion on FDI with a voting provision, and the DMK, SP and the BSP were ambiguous at best in their support to the government.

Kamal Nath did what every good negotiator does, he found the deal code. He knew that the BJP was reluctant to move a no-confidence motion, that they had no interest in getting rid of the government when its own party president was clinging to power despite allegations of corruption, and in upsetting its own calculations that the government would fall after the budget session.

The Trinamool Congress, after it failed to move a motion of no confidence, was more angry with the rest of the opposition than with the government. Kamal Nath, who had recruited many of the TMC?s current crop of leaders in the Youth Congress in the 1970s, couldn?t resist driving the point home. Fluent in Bangla, he reportedly told TMC MP Sudip Bandopadhyaya that supporting an opposition vote on FDI would be humiliating for the party. ?Sudip, when you moved a no-confidence motion, was anyone with you?? he asked. The opposition was comprehensively divided after that, and Bandopadhyaya has even relented in his demand for better office space for the TMC in Parliament, until after the FDI vote is over.

By Web Editor

Tags: again, confidence, Congress, FDI, Kamal Nath, opposition


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