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Sri Lankan war roils Indian politics

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Tuesday saw "unruly" scenes in India's Parliament, according to the New Delhi-based news website, with Tamil MPs interrupting proceedings with shouting, banner-carrying, and walkouts.

The Rajya Sabha [the upper house of Parliament] had to be adjourned till noon after it witnessed angry scenes. Chairman Hamid Ansari's repeated requests to allow proceedings did not make any impact on members. While DMK [a prominent Tamil party] members were shouting slogans and carrying banners reading "Save the Tamils" and "Stop Genocide in Sri Lanka," Left parties members were hitting at Centre for "mortgaging" country's autonomy in the form of nuclear deal with the US.

The Tamil parties have given Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's administration until early next month to take action – after which they will quit his coalition, according to Reuters.

Some observers see cynical politics at work. Writing in Rediff News, columnist TVR Shenoy notes that Parliament is set to be dissolved soon anyway, with national elections due in the next six months, and that Tamil politicians and other coalition allies are raising a fuss to shore up their base and wrest concessions from the ruling Congress party.

Why then are these esteemed gentlemen piling on the pressure on Dr. Manmohan Singh and his party? Very simply, it is a bargaining tactic to wrest more seats out of the Congress in the general election.
The [ruling Congress party's coalition allies] would like the Congress to give something in return if they "sacrifice" their demands. The Congress – and the Indian electorate at large – is expected to politely ignore the fact that the demands are a load of unrealistic bunk that never had a prayer of being realized.
Call it whatever you want, a 'bargaining tactic' or, less politely, 'blackmail'. Let us just hope that the Congress does not take the demands from its "allies" too seriously.
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