Pawar has done UPA a favour
There were rumours of the No.2 conundrum in a cabinet of equals... There were reports of Governors un-appointed and Chairmen unacceptable. And closer home to the truth, it was clear that the NCP was quite upset that Prithviraj Chavan had thrown a spanner in the works through his 'clean' administration policies. So it was no surprise that an embarrassed Congress bent over backwards to placate one of its oldest allies. And frankly, eating a bit of the humble pie may have done the grand old party a bit of good.
After the climate of optimism that set in with the Prime Minister taking over Finance, this is perhaps the next shot in the arm UPA-II needed. The NCP has managed to arm-twist the Congress into setting up a co-ordination committee a la UPA-I. Such a mechanism with the Left had helped the UPA work more cohesively during the previous dispensation. The decision, I am certain, will be welcomed by other allies like Mamata Banerjee who have also made the demand in the past.
Praful Patel at the press conference was clear. "The co-ordination mechanism", he said will, "ensure UPA allies meet once a month to discuss policy and other issues". With emphasis on 'other'. The 'other' is important. Such a panel would be ideal to deal with 'image' issues of the government. A recalcitrant ally could be placated before he/she goes public. Strategies could be chalked out more holistically to deal with crises. The UPA could start acting, rather than reacting, to the flow of events.
The NCP on its side, no doubt, has benefitted from this 'rapprochement'. It's quite likely the party has extracted its pound of flesh... promises of going slow on graft cases against its ministers, perhaps. But it certainly has emerged from this rift smelling of roses... Pawar looking like the wise advisor who managed to hold the flock together.
On its part the Congress is certainly humbled. But it has (hopefully) learned that it is perhaps time to learn from mistakes. Playing the big brother while battling a bad image, is NOT a smart idea.
More about Achyuth PunnekatDeputy News Editor
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