Much as squabbling hostel roomies, the Congress and ally Nationalist Congress Party are rarely ever at peace. On Sunday, the NCP took a swipe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh without naming him.
“I have been a very disappointed man... For years, Lok Sabha has failed to produce a prime minister,” said NCP leader P.A. Sangma, whose daughter Agatha Sangma is a member of Singh’s council of ministers.
Singh is a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam.
Though Sangma Sr didn’t name him, his point was this: in a parliamentary democracy the prime minister must be from Lok Sabha, made of members directly elected by people.
Sangma was addressing a convention of the NCP in Goa, and the party’s unquestioned leader Sharad Pawar was in the audience.
Pawar, therefore the NCP, has been at odds with its bigger UPA ally lately over price rise. Pawar has found himself at the receiving end of the criticism, which he believes is unfair.
The Prime Minister and the government must share the blame equally, he has said openly. The Congress, on the other hand, wants him to handle the issue with sensitivity. Many in the party believe he shouldn't be talking about coming shortages tipping off hoarders.
“The job of the government and the ministers is not only to point at problems but also to find solutions and give relief to the people,” Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said recently.
In fact, Sangma’s swipe could strengthen the case being lobbied by some in the Congress for reducing Pawar’s
workload. He is running three ministries — agriculture, food and civil —supplies and consumer affairs.
It may not come to that, though. Pawar could soon be out of the price rise pit and might not feel persecuted.
The squabbling roomies could go back to being boring roomies.