Until its bluff had been called last week, the CPI(M)-led Left Front had never had it so good. Supporting the UPA government from outside and knowing that the number of its seats was worth its weight in gold, the communists had power without responsibility. They pretty much dictated government policy, blocking various reforms and making a din whenever it suited their purpose. Then, with the mono-maniac
energy of a poker player losing all sense of proportion, they suffered from overreach. Now with the Left’s critical support system not required by the UPA, thanks to a possible helping hand from the Samajwadi Party and other UPA allies, not only does it seem that the Prime Minister can now take the progression towards the nuclear deal to the next level, but that the government may finally have all those rattling chains off its back.
We have watched almost with awe the manner in which CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat had successfully managed to hold the government to ransom. If truth be told, it did appear that everything that the Manmohan Singh government believed in — and not only the nuclear deal — was being sacrificed at the altar of an
ideological group whose electoral power has been completely out of sync with its de facto power.
Regardless of how things turn out in the next few days, one can expect Mr Singh to
be less “cabin’d, cribb’d, confined”. In the Left’s attempt to brand itself as the ‘only real caretakers of the aam admi’, it had constantly attempted to paint the Congress-led UPA as being anti-people. One hopes that without this kind of constant sabre-rattling, the government will now be able to do its job as it always wanted to.
One would be naive to believe that the new allies will not come with their own, possibly discordant, signature tunes. But one thing can be said
for the Left. It gave the UPA enough practice to tackle future coalitional tantrums.