News / Asia

India’s Government Looks for New Support After Ally Withdraws

Activists of People’s Democratic Party shout slogans during a protest in Jammu, India, September 19, 2012.Activists of People’s Democratic Party shout slogans during a protest in Jammu, India, September 19, 2012.
x
Activists of People’s Democratic Party shout slogans during a protest in Jammu, India, September 19, 2012.
Activists of People’s Democratic Party shout slogans during a protest in Jammu, India, September 19, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s Congress Party-led coalition government is trying to garner new political support after a key ally withdrew support to protest unpopular economic policies, effectively reducing the government to a minority.  

Congress Party leaders are scouting for support from two regional parties, after the government's largest ally the Trinamool Congress pulled out of the ruling alliance, reducing its numbers to below the halfway mark.

But at least one of those parties, the Samajawadi Party, says its support cannot be taken for granted as the government has lost credibility. The Samajwadi Party has been supporting the government from outside, although it has not formally joined it.    

The political crisis has been sparked by two unpopular decisions: allowing foreign supermarket chains to set up shop in India and a large hike in diesel prices.

The head of the Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, says her ministers will resign Friday. She has slammed the government for “selling the country” and adopting policies she feels will be a disaster for India’s poor people. 

She says she cannot tolerate these anti-people decisions.

The political backlash is not unexpected. The entry of foreign supermarket chains has long been opposed by virtually all the government’s allies and opposition parties. The critics fear this will result in closing millions of mom and pop stores.  

The government says the entry of foreign retailers will draw in investment and help to revive India’s flagging economy, while higher diesel price hike will reduce the country’s growing fiscal deficit.    

The government says it will not backtrack, despite the growing political storm. But some observers say the government might lower diesel prices to calm its allies.

Ambika Soni, the information and broadcasting minister, says the Congress Party will continue to reach out to the Trinammol Congress and explain why these measures had to be adopted. She says the government is stable.   

But opposition parties and allies have sharpened their attack on the government. The government’s former ally, the Trinamool Congress, has called for the prime minister’s resignation. Some other parties want the government to seek a vote of confidence in parliament.

“This means that today in parliament, a majority of the parties and members of parliament are against opening of multi-brand retail trade," said Prakash Karat, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India. "Therefore, this government has no mandate or right to proceed.”  

Political analysts say there is no immediate risk to the government’s survival because parliament will not meet until December.  But an early election cannot be ruled out as the political opposition to the economic reforms is expected to gather steam in the days and weeks ahead.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs