Cong reduced to playing the role of a commoner | india | Hindustan Times
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Cong reduced to playing the role of a commoner

THE ROLE of main Opposition- Congress party- was no different than a common man in the year 2005 ? that of a bemused spectator, looking at fierce intra-party feud in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and making cryptic comments at times.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 13:43 IST

THE ROLE of main Opposition- Congress party- was no different than a common man in the year 2005 – that of a bemused spectator, looking at fierce intra-party feud in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and making cryptic comments at times.

If the State BJP leaders have not been able to come to terms with power in their hands, the Congress has failed to render the role of effective Opposition in the same degree.

Be it power crisis in rural areas, spurt in crimes particularly against women, failure of the State Government to improve infrastructure at desired pace or its failure to attract investment in the State and create job opportunities for youth- the Congress leaders have done nothing beyond issuing press statements and if they go out of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) headquarters- they invariably end up presenting a memorandum to the Governor Dr Balram Jakhar.

A couple of token sit-in agitations like the recent one at Khalghat have also failed to stir the Congress workers out of their cocoon.

The State Congress as an organisation has been in complete disarray. State Congress chief Subhash Yadav has failed to constitute the PCC body even now- something he had promised to do as early as July.

H Hanumanthappa, Pradesh Returning Officer (PRO) appointed to conduct organisational elections in the State Congress, created some waves with his statements showing his apparent commitment to hold a free and fair elections but it all ended in absolute misery as Hanumanthappa was bashed up in the presence of several prominent Congress leaders and he never returned to Madhya Pradesh thereafter. Elections at the district-level could not be held due to fierce factionalism, leading to brawls at several places and postponement of elections.

If Congress has performed badly as an Opposition party outside, its performance on the floor of the State Assembly has not been good either. Former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh or the State Congress chief Subhash Yadav were hardly heard saying anything whatsoever in the House even when they were present during its sittings, which in itself has been a rare occurrence.

It is often left to leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi, Satyadev Katare, Sajjan Singh Verma and Govind Singh to take on the ruling BJP in the House, having an unprecedented 3/4th majority in the State Assembly.

Jamuna Devi may raise a vital issue but she lacks the sharpness, precision or articulation to corner the Government and the BJP sits pretty with a toothless Opposition mumbling on issues rather than speaking loud and clear.

Veteran Congress leader and Union Human Resource Minister Arjun Singh created some hope of resurrecting the Congress by setting a deadline for the then Chief Minister Babulal Gaur to resolve problems of slum dwellers and announcing that he would himself lead their agitation if their issues were not settled.

But, nothing further was heard and Gaur has by now been reduced to a Minister from Chief Minister. Arjun Singh had visited Bhopal after a long gap then and has not turned up again since. Other Central leaders like Kamalnath or Suresh Pachauri have also been more or less inert in State affairs.

One more reason for lack of organised attack on the Government by the Congress has been individual ambitions of its top leaders. Subhash Yadav and Jamuna Devi have been cross with each other for a long time and now Ajay Singh has also made a discreet foray in the race for State leadership.

Going by its strength in the State Assembly, the Congress was always a weak Opposition but as it takes the same path as Opposition- both BJP and the Congress- is known to tread in Madhya Pradesh – playing second fiddle to the ruling party and not meddle much in the affairs of governance- it has been rendered all the more feeble.