Cash incident apart, trust vote lifts India’s democratic image

July 23rd, 2008 - 9:13 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Dubai, July 23 (IANS) Scenes of currency bundles brandished in India’s parliament Tuesday might well go down as a dark chapter in the institution’s history but here in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the very process of the trust vote is being hailed as a sheer beauty of democracy. “What happened yesterday will surely make India the number one in the world,” prominent Indian businessman and recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman B.R. Shetty told IANS.

“The proceedings in parliament made the whole world sit up and watch the sheer beauty of Indian democracy,” he said.

“You know, I regularly attend the majlis here and everyone - yesterday, today - were highly praising India’s democratic process,” the Abu Dhabi-based businessman said.

A majlis is a private gathering held by the rulers of the emirates in this Gulf nation, usually in the evening.

Stating that he had known Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a long time now, Shetty, the managing director and chief executive of the NMC business conglomerate, observed: “He is indeed a very courageous person. Even after having to play with such little number difference, he went for a trust vote.”

He was especially appreciative of Rahul Gandhi’s speech.

“He gave such a beautiful speech and made the nuclear deal issue so clear,” he gushed. “All other members made a mess of themselves.”

“The nuclear deal is very important. The UAE was among the first countries to realize the importance of the (proposed) India-US (civilian nuclear) deal,” he said.

Asked what he thought of the scenes when some BJP MPs waved around currency bundles in parliament they claimed they had been offered by the Samajwadi Party, Shetty said: “I missed those scenes. But even then, all I have been hearing from everybody here is praise for India’s democratic process.”

Chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust K.V. Shamsudheen described the trust vote victory as a relief for the UPA government.

“Winning of the confidence motion is a relief to the Manmohan Singh-led Indian government,” he said.

He added that for the last four-and-a-half years, Singh’s government was facing opposition to its various progressive proposals to lift India to economic superpower status.

“Scarcity of energy is the main obstacle to India’s journey to progress. When all the world is going for atomic power as the source of energy, India cannot be isolated from this,” he said.

He, however, lamented the unprecedented scenes of display of cash in parliament.

“During the discussion on the motion, many of our honourable members of parliament have shown their culture, social background, and wisdom with their befitting behaviour to the world, who were watching the parliament proceedings of the largest democracy of the world.

“Being an Indian citizen, I feel shame and pity to listen to the speeches and behaviour of these type of people against a person like Manmohan Singh. It is high time the electorate of India elects only educated, cultured, and civilized people as members of parliament and state legislative assemblies,” Shamsudheen said.

Others, too, hailed the UPA victory.

Dubai-based businessman and leading Indian social worker Bharat Kumar Shah was happy that the UPA government won the trust vote but expressed disappointment that the nuclear deal issue did not get the prominence it deserved in the debate.

“Neither the government nor the opposition spoke a single word about the nuclear deal which was basically the reason for the debate. And also, how can the deal be anti-Muslim?” he asked.

“As a Gandhian, I am deeply pained that we tend to give a communal twist to every issue in India.”

Though he described UPA’s victory as tainted because of the cash display incident, Shah said he was happy that the government now could go ahead with the nuclear deal.

“The UPA government’s winning the trust vote in the Indian parliament will enter the annals of history and may well prove to be a defining moment in the country’s history because it came at a very crucial point of time, when the UPA government needed such a favourable vote in order to demonstrate that it enjoys the confidence of the people,” Abbas Ali Mirza, president of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai, told the local media.

“…From the perspective of stability of the Indian government, it is indeed good news,” he said.

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