Four years of UPA-II: Battlelines are drawn

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Political leaders were hard at debate Wednesday as the UPA-II regime completed four years with the clamour of corruption and charges of misgovernance seeming to drown out claims of achievements. Some opinions from Congress leaders, allies, analysts and the opposition on their assessment of the government and the road ahead:

Mehbooba Mufti, president People’s Democratic Party: UPA-I performed well and that is why it was able to return to power. The UPA-II has remained bogged down by corruption, financial scams and crimes against women. However, it is difficult to say with certainty about 2014 elections as the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) does not have a Vajpayee-like figure to lead it.

Sushma Swaraj, BJP MP and Leader of Opposition Lok Sabha: The Congress has been unable to provide the kind of leadership the coalition required. UPA leadership is divided. Congress ministers sit in the cabinet with prime minister but look to the party president if there is a problem. We will rid the country of this government in the next election.

Praful Patel, NCP leader and union minister: There are definitely issues of perception. The government needs to have a huge course correction in terms of perception. Most things (in politics) are based on perception. To that extent we have faltered on some issues, but we can certainly come out of that. We need to have a quick and decisive government.

R.P.N Singh, Congress leader and minister: The government has done remarkably well. It has stuck to its promises made to the people in the last election. Individual misdemeanours can’t be projected as misdemeanours of the government. It can’t reflect on functioning of government. The government has taken action in each case of individual misdemeanour. We will go to the electorate with all the good work of UPA government in 10 years and hope to get another mandate.

T.V. Mohandas Pai, former member of Infosys board of directors: The UPA government has not performed well. The very many scams and the opposition onslaught has hurt its work. There is a feeling of pessimism today in the country, in industry and all over. Overall, a little short of disastrous performance.

Surya Narayan Patro, vice president, Biju Janata Dal: The UPA government has failed on all fronts. The number of scams reported during the past nine years of this government is a record. People will vote against the Congress in the next general election. It is too early to predict who will form the government.

Gnani, political analyst: It is the most scam-ridden government. The disunity of the opposition has turned out to be its strength and it is surviving because of that. The alternate national party is also equally bad. The government is indifferent to major issues and acts only when the matter goes to the court. In the case of Tamil Nadu, the gazetting of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final award can be cited as an example.

Biman Bose, CPI-M politburo member: UPA-II government failed to frame pro-people policies and rather favoured khaas aadmi (privileged classes).

Sougata Roy, Trinamool Congress MP: The UPA-II has failed to launch any major flagship programme. It has been mired in corruption and scandals. The coalition partners have left one after another – first Trinamool, then DMK. The goverment has failed to manage the economy.

Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is heading a government of dacoits. His clean image is now black like a ‘koel’ (nightingale). From coal to spectrum, government coffers are being looted. The present rulers have auctioned the country. Scam after scam is surfacing, big scams to bury small scams.

(Inputs by Sheikh Qayoom, Fakir Balaji, Sirshendu Panth, Jaideep Sarin, V. Jagannathan, Quaid Najmi.)

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