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Stars foretell anxious 2012 for UPA
VEENU SANDAL  1st Jan 2012

vents in 2012 will fuel anxieties amongst all sections of Indian society. While it will be an unusually eventful year, it will not qualify as a very good year for the country. More than one "going-going" situation will arise for the UPA government and its survival will depend upon the means it employs to hang in. Right until July, the Congress will face some very testing times. Even if the UPA and Dr Manmohan Singh survive and the Assembly elections give the Congress some cause for cheer, their image will be irreparably dented and an overall downslide will be clearly in evidence. Rahul Gandhi will have a mixed year, with an increase in authority, along with setbacks. Sonia Gandhi will hit more lows than expected on both the personal and political fronts and her leadership will, at best, be weak. For the Congress, rather than Rahul or Sonia Gandhi, it will be Pranab Mukherjee who will continue to shine as he continues to ride on a most challenging but also one of the best periods of his career. P. Chidambaram, however, will face troubled times.

Dissent within the Congress and differences with its allies will increase, while the BJP will see an improvement in equations between its key leaders and function in a more cohesive manner. From April onwards, the BJP will grow substantially in strength, widen its base and get its act together, putting the Congress on the back foot on more than one occasion. The second half of the year is also the time when Narendra Modi, despite having to contend with legal issues and more opposition, will emerge stronger.

Women leaders will continue to play a dominant role in politics. What happens to one of them or what happens due to one of them is likely to have a major impact, leading to political shifts and re-alignments. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh will remain on the boil, but while former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa will remain dissatisfied, Jagan Mohan Reddy will strengthen his position. 2012 could also see the Telangana issue being resolved. The presidential elections could spring some surprises, as could the judiciary. Anna Hazare will still wield considerable influence and will be an important mobilising factor for political change. His Team, however, is likely to undergo changes.

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