Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday criticised the Opposition alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Lok Sabha elections as a ‘mahamilawat gathbandhan’, or an adulterated alliance, and said such a tie-up would be “a road to disaster”.
In the seventh part of his “Agenda 2019” series, Jaitley said the “mahamilawat gathbandhan” can only promise political instability. The Facebook blogpost is titled “Mahamilawat or Gathbandhan – A Race to the Bottom”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past has also referred to the alliance of Opposition parties as “adulterated”, claiming that people do not want a “mahamilawat” government.
Jaitley said India needs political stability, a clear policy direction, and strong and decisive leadership to continue on the path of development and growth. “If we falter on any one of these, we will be letting down our own people and future generations,” he wrote. “India cannot afford lost opportunities at this stage.”
Jaitley said that India is a union of states, as defined in the Constitution, and the country and its federalism would stand to suffer if there is no strong union. “When prominent areas like defence, sovereignty, security of India, foreign policy and eventually the war against terror were maintained as primary responsibility of the Union Government, can India be ever defended without a strong Union? There can be no ‘federal front’ without a strong central party,” he said.
Jaitley described the opposition alliance as “a race to the bottom”. “There is a tug of war on the issue of leader,” he wrote, adding that Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress, and Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party had all indicated their desire to be prime ministers.
The minister claimed that opposition outfits such as Aam Aadmi Party, Telugu Desam Party and Samajwadi Party, among others, were being opportunistic. “Each desires to expand his or her own base and reduce that of the competitor,” he said. “Where a proxy leadership battle is visible before the elections, it will be full-fledged war post the elections.”
Jaitley said the opposition alliance “unquestionably promises only political instability”. Such non-ideological alliances have only lasted for a few months, he said, citing examples of governments headed by Chaudhary Charan Singh, VP Singh, Chandrasekhar, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral, which did not last full term.
“Who would want to invest in India in an environment of political instability? Would even Indian investors prefer to go outside and look for more stable countries for investment?” he asked. “Where there is instability, there is corruption.”
Jaitley said there were some similarities between members of the grand alliance. They have no positive programme, just want to remove one man from office, and most of the parties are made up of dynastic groups, he said. “These are parties with no inner party structures, no inner party democracy and hence no accountability,” he said. “Many survive either on cost of regional feelings alone. That is their ideology.”
Referring to the alliance as a “Kleptocrats Club”, Jaitley said most of its top leaders or important members have serious allegations of corruption against them. The parties have no common ideology or philosophy and their track record of governance is disastrous, he added.
Jaitley said Indians, at the cusp of history, had the choice between “a tried, tested and performing leader” or “a chaotic crowd of non-leaders”, between a government that would speed up growth and development or one made by people excelling only in self-enrichment. “I am confident that aspirational people of an evolving society will make the right choice,” he said.