Home India Politics Coalition politics no excuse for compromises: Jaitley

Coalition politics no excuse for compromises: Jaitley


New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley Monday accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of not taking timely action against former communications minister A. Raja in the 2G spectrum controversy and said the leader of the government had the responsibility of acting and not expressing his helplessness.

Delivering an address on “From coalition to issue-based politics” at a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Jaitley referred to the prime minister’s remarks in February about coalition compulsions forcing him to make some compromises and said that the personality of a leader should be such that he is able to act decisively.

“Coalition can’t be a compulsion. It is a reality. The leader of a coalition has to have the last word…It is his responsibility to act, not wait for three years…Leadership is not the art of postponing decisions,” said Jaitley, who is Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

He said a leader should be able to select the right man for a job and have the capability to get his agenda accepted.

“Otherwise, it is no longer leadership….(It is) not an instrument of taking decisions but an expression of helplessness,” Jaitley said.

The BJP leader also attacked the present structure of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in which the prime minister is the leader of the government and Congress president Sonia Gandhi is the leader of the coalition.

“The leader of the government has to be the leader of the coalition. Only then his footprint is there on every action of the government,” he said.

Jaitley said there was a spread of power taking place beyond the government and institutions and structures such as the judiciary, the media, opposition parties, the National Advisoty Council and civil society were also demonstrating their power.

The BJP leader said that the country was gradually heading towards a two-coalition system.

He added that Left was the core of the third coalition and if it gets weaker, then the other two coalitions – one headed by the BJP and the other by the Congress – will be strengthened.

Responding to queries, Jaitley said there was a leadership churning in his party.

He said an evolution of leadership was taking place in the BJP and it was a matter of satisfaction.

“General churning is taking place in the party (BJP). It is a positive development,” he said.

Pointing to the Congress, he said that structure of political identity being symbolized by a surname should change.

He said politics of caste had started playing a bigger role from the 1990s and regional parties had come to occupy a prominent place in several states.

However, he added that parties becoming dynastic can have an impact on governance.

Jaitley said that the UPA in its second term was suffering from self-inflicted problems and had “internal contradictions”.

Referring to instances where the opposition had cooperated with the government in passing contentious legislation in parliament, including the nuclear liability bill, Jaitley said initiative for “cooperative federalism” has to come from the government.

He said BJP had governments in states that comprise about 35 percent of the country’s population and it can’t be taken lightly.

He also took a dig at government over the opposition parties not being included in the consultation process on the Lokpal Bill.

Answering queries on the Goods and Services Tax legislation, he said some BJP states had reservations on the bill and it was for the government to bring them on board.