Is UPAâ€™s failure leading us to the chaos of French Revolution? In 1789, a loose alliance of radical groups, impoverished peasants and the urban underclass banded together to overthrow a centuries-old monarchy, cut the feudal aristocracy down to size, and reduce the legitimacy of religious authorities all over. It was called the French Revolution, and for the next 10 years, chaos reigned as the old order gave way to the new, and populist excesses led to continuous tension, violence and strife. But from the chaos grew the new ideas of the Enlightenment, and the egalitarian principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. If you were to look at the India of the last three years, diverse social forces â€“ from the middle class anti-corruption movements spearheaded by Team Anna and Baba Ramdev to various radical Maoist movements in tribal areas, and to the violent outbursts in Manesar and other industrial enterprises, not to speak of ethnic violence in Assam and the North East â€“ have been building up a crescendo of popular rage against the status quo. In particular, politicians and corrupt business houses are being clubbed in the same bracket. If you were to ask Harish Salve, senior Supreme Court counsel and defender of India Inc, he seems to think all this has the makings of the French Revolutionâ€™s excesses, complete with a general mistrust of authority â€“ from government to corporate houses and the power elite. In an interview to Bloomberg TV and published by Mint newspaper, Salve says: â€œWe seem to be going through a French Revolution kind of a situation. Anybody who accuses the government of corruption is speaking the truth, anybody who accuses India Inc of being dishonest, generating black money or being corrupt is speaking the truth.â€ Salveâ€™s right, for this has been the tenor of accusations by the Arvind Kejriwals, Prashant Bhushans and Baba Ramdevs, who have respectively accused parliamentarians of being â€œrapists, murderers and lootersâ€, corporates of â€œmassive loot of public resourcesâ€ and government of doing nothing to â€œbring back black moneyâ€ hoarded abroad. That all these accusations have found strong resonance with the public also suggests that ordinary people are willing to believe the worst about people in power. Salve, however, was making his points more in the context of how corporate India is now being tarred by common people with the same brush used for crooked politicians. Thereâ€™s no denying the popular anger. But it begs this simple question: why is a democracy, which is supposedly influenced by popular opinion, facing a â€œFrench Revolution kind of a situationâ€? That revolution happened in the context of an uncaring monarchy. But why is Indian democracy, which is flinging thousands of crores in welfarist schemes, also looking like itâ€™s headed that way? Salveâ€™s answer: due to a complete failure of political leadership and governance under the UPA. He says: â€œIt is entirely the governmentâ€™s fault. It is lack of credibility in governance because of which everything becomes suspect. Then India Inc also becomes suspect because people feel if you are the beneficiary of any government decisions, then any decision in your favour is corrupt because the government is corrupt.â€ However, is Salve right in assuming that India Inc does not share any part of the blame for the decline in governance? Who, after all, did A Rajaâ€™s decisions benefit? Who benefited from the coal ministryâ€™s decision to award coal blocks through an opaque system? How did the terms offered to GMR in the Delhi airport deal change after the bidding process war over? As this writer has argued before in Firstpost, crony capitalism has plumbed new depths over the last 10 years of super-fast growth, and has reached its nadir with the 2G, Commonwealth, coal blocks, civil aviation and Delhi airport privatisation controversies. In all these cases, private parties were beneficiaries â€“ not as the result of a transparent process, but opaque dealings. When Salve says that in the current atmosphere of suspicion â€œanybody who says the airline industry is flounderingâ€¦is corrupt..or is batting for somebody,â€ he is surely right. But is it really possible to deny this reality that even though Kingfisher is upto its eyeballs in debt no bank is even now willing to send it into receivership or bankruptcy? Who is helping Kingfisher stay in business when it should have gone bust long ago? Or when all telecom players claim they have too much debt but show a strange reluctance to raise more equity and reduce debts? They wouldnâ€™t be able to do this if public sector banks refused to lend them money if they didnâ€™t bring in more equity capital. Clearly, political power is working in cahoots with corporate interests. Salve concludes by regretting that even with Manmohan Singhâ€™s stature, and a cabinet studded with â€œstellarâ€ people like P Chidambaram, we are still in a French Revolution kind of situation. Salve does not go forward and connect the last dot in this analysis â€“ that the failures of Singh and Chidambaram, not to speak of Pranab Mukherjee before him, have less to do with their â€œstellarâ€ roles than the lack of political support from party boss Sonia Gandhi. Salve exhorts our reformist duo to â€œtake governance in both hands and say we need to help India Inc not because they are businessmen but because they are the people who run the economy of this country in a liberal economy.â€ Unfortunately for Salve, he is addressing the wrong people. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have not said one word about the role of India Inc and what she wants it to do. If we are in French Revolution kind of situation, Salve should point the finger in the right direction.