Nuclear Deal: Taxing time for President
Common people have rare knowledge about the civilian nuclear deal with America. They are not sure what the deal is meant for India. Whatever more or less information they have, is through the contribution of media. Or else, it is more of the contribution of the disagreement between the Congress-led UPA government and Left resulting into differences of opinion. In brief, two outcomes, which have engulfed the mind of common men, have been emerged out of the deal: one, as the pro-deal says, it will meet the energy requirements of India, and in contrast, the opposition of the deal alleges it will undermine the sovereignty of India.
The common man's mind has been sandwiched between the pro and against of the deal as they are pondering over which one is right and which one is wrong. Everybody is just waiting for what would happen next. Would the government clinch the deal and simultaneously be able to survive the government or would the people utilise the right of vote once again in deciding the political fate of politicians before the scheduled time.
These are some of the puzzling questions which not only boggling people's and political leaders, whether in government or outside, but also the country's first lady President Pratibha Patil. For the President, it is the taxing time as well as she has to decide what the government should do after the Left has withdrawn support from the government. She must be feeling under pressure to decide whether and when the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government should seek the vote of confidence of the House.
Some of the options that are left for the President are: First case, the government must prove its majority in the House after Parliament reconvenes on August 11, or the second case, she could ask for a trust vote earlier and set the date herself.
Before finalising the date, she would need to consider July 28- the day when International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is scheduled to hold meeting of the Board of Governors that would let the India 'go-ahead' on the civilian nuclear deal. And, if this happens the deal would be considered auto-pilot.
Trust vote after clinching of the deal or more applicably getting nod of the IAEA first will not put any effect on the fate of the deal, except the winning floor test will ascertain the continuing authority of the government.
But, the first case does not seem likely to be happen. Pratibha Patil urgent call to Manmohan Singh to come a day ahead of the scheduled arrival certainly force to think that both Rashtrapati Bhawan and the PMO are considering seriously to seek trust vote in Parliament ahead of the government's team departure to Vienna to conclude the first step of the historic nuclear deal.
Further, the case seems to be near probability in the wake of the Prime Minister's and later the External Affairs Minister's declaration that government-in-majority will only go with IAEA.
July 21 is being considered as the possible date for seeking the premature vote of confidence, which also could be dicey for the UPA.
The Congress has indicated that UPA would face Parliament very soon. Against these ongoing proceedings, Constitution says: a functioning government need not seek the confidence of the House unless there is no-confidence motion moved by opposition or any party.
The reason for government's eagerness to seek trust vote could be understood in mobilising public support across the nation, as winning floor test would be stark signal that government had the majority on the nuclear deal and the deal is in favour of the people and the nation as well.
People's positive perception on the Indo-US nuclear deal is very crucial for the Congress-led UPA government as it could decide the future of the Congress and other ruling political parties at the Centre in the forthcoming general elections scheduled next year, and much before that the Assembly elections in five states that is set to be held later this year would signal the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections.
Finalisation of nuclear deal could act as a trump card for the government facing heat of the “price rise” that has hit the common man as a whole. Government is well aware these common people would decide the fate of the government, so if UPA survive in the floor test would use this time as a boon to turn the hostile opinion of the public in its favour.
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