Before 2004, the United Progressive Alliance didn’t even exist and now it is completing 10 years in what is being dubbed as a lost decade by some commentators.
A look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the UPA:
1. Stability: The 1989 government collapsed in 2 years. The next government in 1991 lasted its full term only thanks to the Rajiv Gandhi sympathy wave. The 1996-98 one had three Prime Ministers including the first who lasted just 13 days.
While the NDA gave us a full term after that, the BJP had 182 seats well clear of the Opposition Congress which had just 114 seats.
In 2004, the Congress had just 145 seats, barely scraping past the BJP which had 138 seats. That it completed 5 years itself seems like a miracle. But they came back even stronger in 2009.
2. An erudite cabinet: For years everyone was complaining of the uneducated and criminals dominating Parliament. But the Cabinet at least leaned towards education. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is both Oxford and Cambridge.
Apart from him, IIT, Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and other foreign universities alumni have featured in the Cabinet from 2004-13. It has also been represented well by Chief Ministers of multiple parties like AK Antony and Sushilkumar Shinde (Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP) and Farooq Abdullah (NC), among others.
While most complain that the Lok Sabha has close to one-third charge-sheeted members, at least the Cabinet has been by and large erudite.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi attend a prayer meeting in memory of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.