19 October, 2020

In Fits And False Starts

UF constituents squabble over policy matters, but there's no immediate danger to the coalition

In Fits And False Starts

THE fact that problems within the ruling coalition were expected provided little solace for United Front constituents when the troubles actually erupted. In rapid succession at that. The first to cross the rubicon was the Front's main constituent, the Janata Dal. The consequences of the expulsion of senior JD leader Ramakrishna Hegde (see box) and the sop to the hawala-tainted Sharad Yadav, who was handed out the post of working president, are still unfolding.

Then Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and the Left parties indulged in a slanging match on the issue of cuts in government expenditure. And in a matter of days, the jitters could be felt again as Congress chief Narasimha Rao said his party had not contracted to provide "blind support" to the UF Government even as the CBI dragnet in the urea scam seemed to close in on members of his family.

When the avowedly pro-liberalisation Chidambaram announced austerity measures to curb government expenditure on June 17, the thought that he was doing something out of...



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