Indian opposition refuses to return to its benches
Tuesday 09 August 1994
In a rare display of unity, Communists joined with right-wing Hindu politicians on 2 August to walk out of parliament. The deadlock has left parliament in a mire as the Congress Party rules by a slim majority and cannot muster enough votes to pass anything.
The opposition parties are angry about the government's refusal to admit any blame in a pounds 1bn securities scandal which led to the Bombay stock market crash of 1992. They want Mr Rao to sack two cabinet ministers and take action against foreign-owned banks - Citibank, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank - alleged to have been involved in the fraud.
So far, they have focused their anger on Manmohan Singh, the Finance Minister, who has steered India away from socialism towards a freer economy. He is the key to the success of Mr Rao's government and its Achilles' heel.
Dr Singh apologised over the weekend for his arrogant dismissal of an all-party commission inquiry into the country's biggest financial scandal. The inquiry cleared him of any connivance, but it also chastised him for not halting the securities scam earlier, and for failing to hunt down all the culprits.
His apology failed to persuade opposition leaders to lift their boycott. The protest could run for the rest of the session, paralysing debate on such issues as the next five- year plan and the Muslim separatist uprising in Kashmir.
The 1992 securities fraud wiped out the savings of millions of small shareholders. The failure of Mr Rao's government to convict - or even sack - several top officials implicated in the scandal has eroded much of the goodwill that he earned for bringing a measure of political stability and prosperity to India. A corruption charge brought down the last Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, and Mr Rao is keen to prevent it happening again.
There are limits to how far the opposition parties can push. Mr Rao could spring early elections on them, probably this winter.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', says head of BBC Arabic Tarik Kafala
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...
£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Busy, friendly and creative marketing ag...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Wes...