Battle Royale; Biden Talks; MSME Miseries

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Opinion Watch

Battle Royale

The Lok Sabha Chair had to order deep surgery to kill the Rahul Gandhi speech in the House by expunging as many as 18 references. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokespersons have come out aggressively to defend Prime Minister Narendra Modi from his alleged links with Gautam Adani. In the Rajya Sabha, Modi reply to the debate on motion of thanks to President’s address was drowned in din. Gandhi by all accounts has set the tone of counterattack on Modi and the BJP, which have near hegemony over the mainstream media.

The Asian Age in an Editorial has acknowledged Gandhi’s Lok Sabha speech, opining that it matched in intensity with that of Modi, and for the first time in the past eight and a half years there was a battle of equals. The daily stated that Gandhi after walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir has earned the space and the right to challenge Modi. The daily stressed that Gandhi towered over several Opposition leaders who were vying to challenge Modi. Gandhi’s no holds barred attack provoked defensive counterattack by the BJP, with Modi also making attempts to deflect the barbs by taking emotional shield.

Gandhi indeed has shown nerves to withstand the enormity of expectations from him. He has raised the scale. He needs to back up with street shows in all parts of the country. The BJP will dip into history to deflect and distract from the charges of ‘crony capitalism’. Also, Congress has task cut out to hold the Opposition centre stage. The party was partly successful with Mallikarjuna Kharge in the lead role. Congress will need to be politically more creative to take campaign to the hearts of the people.

Biden Talks

The second state of the Union address by the US President Joe Biden was preceded by a national scare watching a mighty spy balloon floating over the skyline. Biden’s popular rating is at an all-time low. Democrats have to gear up for Presidential elections next year. Economy and China are two clear challenges for the incumbent President.

The Hindu in an Editorial has sought to size up the second state of the Union address. The daily listed challenges for Biden – set the economy in order, end the Ukraine War, and find guardrails in China-US relations. The Chennai-based daily noted that only a little over one-third of Democrats are backing Biden for his second term bid. Biden has achievements to showcase that unemployment at 3.4 per cent is lowest since 1969, but energy prices are hurting the people. The daily also underlined Biden’s statement that the Ukraine invasion is a test for America.

By seeking second term, Biden will certainly hand over power to the Republicans on a platter, and surely a suitable successor will run for the Presidency. Biden is maximalist on the Ukraine War. On China, he’s vacillating between dialogue and confrontation. Biden has surely been not able to show the American leadership to the global challenges.

MSME Miseries

The Pioneer in an Editorial has given the miseries of the Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises (MSMEs). They are floundering even while the Modi government created a Ministry for MSMEs. “There were over 11,000 news MSMEs staring for every one of the 175 shut down in 2020-21, which now has slumped to just 167,” the Noida-based daily stated.

The daily argued that the MSMEs have been destroyed by demonetization and the GST, while the lack of access to banking credit is drying them of finances. The challenge for easy credit for business by small enterprises is further compounding after steep interest rate hike.

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