Skip to main content

Disunity in opposition (The Hindu.)

Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party was voted to power with a majority of its own in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Opposition parties have been trying to find an issue that would resonate with the people, identify a rallying point that would put the Narendra Modi government at the Centre on the defensive. But when such an issue did crop up after Mr. Modi announced the demonetisation of high-value notes on November 8, opponents of the BJP found themselves unprepared and unable to tap into the public resentment at the seemingly unnecessary pain caused by the shortage of cash. The demonetisation exercise did far more than divide the Opposition parties: it left them confused on the approach to be taken against the government. They were unable to fault the stated aims of the move: to curb black money, flush out counterfeit notes from the economy, and thereby curb terror funding. And when Mr. Modi sought 50 days to ease the cash flow, his opponents had no choice but to wait it out. Other than making noises about long queues at banks and ATMs and the flip-flops in announcing new rules for withdrawals and deposits and amending them in quick time, they had little to do. They could not attack the move in principle without being seen as supporting the corrupt and the devious. And they could not attack the manner of implementation without giving Mr. Modi the time he wanted to deal with what could not but have been a crisis in cash supply.

It was probably inevitable that the Opposition parties would speak in different voices on an issue like this, but it was inexplicable that the main Opposition party, the Congress, did little to forge a united front in Parliament and outside. When Opposition parties were planning to petition President Pranab Mukherjee on the demonetisation issue, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met Mr. Modi with a delegation of party leaders to request a waiver of farm loans. Leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left parties were unhappy with the Congress approach. Not surprisingly, at a joint press conference of Opposition parties called by Mr. Gandhi, only Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was at hand to attack Mr. Modi. The other participants were mostly long-time allies of the Congress. The Janata Dal (United), whose leader Nitish Kumar had nice things to say about demonetisation initially, did not participate in a maha dharna organised by the RJD against demonetisation. The JD(U) stand was that it would rather wait for the 50 days before judging the move to be a failure or a mistake. Far from bringing together Opposition parties, the demonetisation move appears to have driven apart parties already in alliance.


Popular posts from this blog

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.