ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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MAHARASHTRA-Too Much at Stake

Unsustainable Postures THE fortnight-old boycott of parliament has been ended by what has been generally perceived as the backtracking of the opposition on the basis of some 'face-saving' concessions made by the government. The boycott was preceded by a week of sustained obstruction of the business in both the houses, followed by walk-outs every day. The retreat of the opposition was perhaps unavoidable as it had reached a dead-end more than the ruling party. Cynics may add that the financial losses incurred by the opposition MPs, and some of the opposition parties which impose a levy on the parliamentary allowances of their MPs, were also proving to be a strain. Basically, the discomfiture of the opposition due to the climb-down represents the wages of unthinking resort to unsustainable aggressive posturings. Boycott of parliament by itself is a self-disarming exercise for the boycotters. In the absence of the opposition the ruling party can carry on with its business, perhaps more conveniently, if only with some embarrassment, while the opposition deprives itself of a very important strategic arena for harassing the government. The boycott can be fruitful only when the opposition is reasonably hopeful of pushing the government into a corner by forcing the dissolution of the house or compelling the government to concede its principal demands by militant mass actions. The opposition in the Indian parliament at the moment is incapable of either. The leaders of most of the major opposition parties are on record that an early poll will not be acceptable to the people and that their own parties are not really prepared to face it. Indeed, it is the prime minister who has started an intimidation campaign with threats of an early poll.

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