If we hope constructive opposition will dawn in Indian politics at least when all odds are stacked up against the country’s well being, that is too great an expectation.
Otherwise, how does one explain the BJP’s recent behaviour in Parliament and outside?
Leave BJP, what about the Congress’ political manoeuvrings when it was in the opposition a few years back? And that of queen of quarrels Mamata Bannerjee?
Flip-flop is the order of the day when opportunism is the rule of the political game. This is the precise reason for the BJP to threaten that it will scrap the retail FDI policy once it gets back the power. It also explains Manmohan Singh’s earlier opposition to retail FDI and the present staunch support for it.
In The Hindu, Jaswant Singh, BJP’s member of Parliament, has written an article, reading which one would wonder whether the senior leader has shifted left of centre.
Jaswant Singh's arguments are similar to S Gurumurthy’s views published in the Indian Express.
"As for Walmart offering better prices, please recognise it does not buy or pay for goods over the counter. It purchases the nation’s next harvest in futures market and fixes farm prices. It also “imports cheap goods and destroys local production like it has done in the U.S.", he says in the article.
Singh accepts that there are problems with the economy, like widening current account and fiscal deficits, which need to be resolved. He, however, does not offer any concrete solutions.
This is the catch. A constructive opposition should also suggest solutions. If not, how could you be sure once back to power, they will not take the same route as the present incumbent does?
The pressures are same on the ruling parties, be it the BJP, or Congress, given they are hugely dependent on the coalition partners. So, what is the surety that the BJP would have found a better way out had it been in the hotseat of power in the present situation? Would the party have engaged a public debate on the merits and demerits of global retail?
When asked specifically what the BJP would do to revoke the UPA’s policy, spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad has been quoted as saying in media reports, “Wait for our manifesto … 51% or no per cent”, the report said.
Theatrics apart, this just seems to be part of the party’s larger opportunistic game plan. Politicians survive on flip-flops. When in opposition, they have an opinion, and when the tables turn, their stance take a 180-degree turn too.
This is fatiguing the common man (as evident in the initial response to the Anna movement) and also the businesses.
Larsen & Toubro Chairman AM Naik, in an interview in the Business Line, says he would have been happy, if the BJP had allowed Parliament to function normally at least in the initial two days.
“If the BJP had said, ‘first two days I don’t want to come in the way of all the rest of the Bills, where all the political parties are aligned, let them be passed’,” he has been quoted as saying.
But as long as politicians remain the same opportunistic lot, Naik's is too high a hope.