Is there a vigilante group -- rather, a ginger group -- within the Congress to keep the government on its toes and capture some of the opposition space from the BJP and the Left?
It’s too early to say. But seemed like it when at Thursday’s CWC meeting several members articulated the aam aadmi’s concern about price rise and demanded an effective mechanism to check it.
Members like Jaffer Sharief, AK Antony, V Narayanswamy, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Ajit Jogi, DN Dwivedy and SS Surjewala not only refused to toe the government line but also raised questions on the delay and mistimed reactions of key ministries and made some concrete suggestions, including a CMs’ conference for greater feedback and concerted action in reining in prices.
A lot of groundwork seems to have gone into the meeting as can be seen from Narayanswamy’s action of raising the Nalco issue in the midst of a discussion on price rise, with a background paper on it being circulated and then taken back after the meeting. Similarly, a senior minister’s plea to dilute the CWC resolution was not heeded to.
Just as it had happened in the case of the airport privatisation and reservation-in-education controversies, this time too the issue of dealing with price rise was taken from Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s domain and handed over to a Pranab Mukherjee-led GoM which also includes Pawar and P Chidambaram.