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Misusing the brahmastra

Mamata should not devalue the no-trust motion by asking for it at the drop of a hat.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2012 22:37 IST

The Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is given to great bouts of emotionalism. During these periods, she is wont to say whatever comes to her mind. These days there is a recurrent theme, that of ousting the UPA of which she was a part until very recently. In her usual poetic manner, she said recently, "In the name of reforms, loot cholche loot. To suppress it, jhoot cholche jhoot." But she does not stop here, she will not rest easy, she informs people, unless the government is flung out on its ear and to that end, she wants a no-confidence motion brought about.

It is surprising that Ms Banerjee should choose to use this brahmastra now that she is out of government when she joined the UPA in the full knowledge that this was a reform-oriented coalition. Granted that she has the right to change her mind, but she seems to be far too casual in bandying about the idea that we need a no-confidence motion. Were it to happen and the government falls, a mid-term poll would be upon us. A mid-term poll is no joke, it has several repercussions. It takes a vast mobilisation of people, huge public expenditure and enormous uncertainty in the economy. Yet, Ms Banerjee, like the Left comrades earlier, seems to think that the minute things don't go according to her liking nothing short of a change in government will suffice. The people in whose name she speaks do not seem to be clamouring for a no-confidence motion poll, so we can assume that this is more a personal grudge which is driving this demand. The BJP, which has said it will support the idea of a no-confidence motion, also seems unclear on what gro-unds it would do so. It says it is not opposed to FDI per se and then waffles on about safeguards and FDI in certain sectors. The comrades, too, were eager for a no-confidence motion earlier, something which blew up in their faces.

A no-confidence motion is a lethal weapon and should be sought only when the government of the day is imperiling the nation. Bringing in FDI in some sectors hardly constitutes a threat of the proportions that requires a change in government. There is no doubt that the UPA has not covered itself in glory with its ineptitude in several spheres. But these are issues that should have been thrashed out in Parliament and only if things reach a point of no-return should a no-confidence motion be sought. To ask for it at the drop of a hat is to devalue the powerful check it ought to have on the government of the day. Ms Banerjee would have done everyone a signal service had she stayed on in the government and argued the toss on FDI and sought the changes she wanted made to the economic policies. Given that it is unlikely that such a move will materialise, Ms Banerjee is likely to be left whistling in the dark. Or come up with yet another evocative slogan to press her case.

First Published: Oct 08, 2012 22:35 IST