Sunday, April 5, 2009

Political Ironies- Coalition Politics brings up the level of Political debates in election 09

The bitter taste of 2004 election debates still remains in mind of a very few people. That was the election fought on the assumption that NDA will get a thumping majority and obituaries for congress were being drawn up though in not very kind words. Whether it was the issue of nationality of Ms. Sonia Gandhi or the Gandhi family in general, below the belt attacks disgusted most of the people. Well the congress victory of 2004 elections manifested the uncertainty of Indian elections and made many to eat their own hat.

The moral of the 2004 elections story was very well understood by all political parties. Today no one dares to throw obscenities at any prominent leader of any political party. You never know what rabbit shall come out of the election hat and what roles each one will have to play. Thus the debates have shifted, for good of all, to the policies and programmes, various parties follow.

Its heartening to see Mr. Mulayam Yadav and Mr. Amar Singh singing praises of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh and cautiously criticising Congress arty for its policies and management. They were the worst hit with 2004 election results. Having 39 MPs but no role in the center for 4 years hit them hard in the state elections where their non performance cost them not only the CM chair but also the very existence of the party. Thus both are very cautious not to repeat the 1999 folly of pulling out of the Congress stitched coalition and embarrassing Madam Gandhi.

Well, they are not the only leaders forced to follow etiquette. Lalu and Paswaan are also all sweet when they talk about congress and too sweet when asked about Madam or Dr. Manmohan Singh despite bitter seat sharing war that ensued in Bihar and Jharkhand. Very carefully the master politician Mr. Lalu has stitched a wider alliance with Mulayam Yadav and Paswan and has kept him self open to joining to joining UPA or third front which ever yields more profit. I wonder why people get surprised that this man turned the loss making railways into a golden bird. With such a large alliance, if they combined get more seats than Mayawati and third front does well, then Lalu may have a chance to fulfill his long cherished dream of getting prime ministership. Other wise he will be happy to join UPA and enjoy the spoils as before. Only possibility of Lalu out of cabinet is that either his party performs very badly in polls or NDA wins the election. In any case Lalu has done better than he could in these circumstances.

Well Mr. Nitish Kumar is not far behind in this game. There are already feelers of warming up of relations between congress and JD(U). One of the reasons that Mr. Fernandes was not fielded in lok sabha elections may be to make JD(U)-congress alliance more possible in future. Just to remind those who don't know, Mr. Fernandes is a bitter critique of the Gandhi family. Also one can feel the discomfort of Mr. Nitish Kumar working with the communal BJP, whch become evident by the fact that he has been more in news for criticizing BJP than congress. Rather he accused Lalu of being ungrateful to the congress. Really there are no enemies in politics and no place for hard feelings.

Same is the case Mr. Pawar who has (God knows how) kept good relations with the Congress, Left, BJP and Shiv Sena. but of late it seems that he has realized that the strenght of NCP on the ground doesn't go well in supporting his ambitions for the PM's post. Well but you never know, when Mr. Deve Gowda can be the PM why not Mr. Pawar. Well for this to happen he must keep Madam happy and not annoy any one else as well.

In the south the situation is pleasantly more complex and Madam Jayalalitha even more sweet when she talks about the congress. Well at stake is not just the central government but the state government as well. Congress support is crucial for DMK to stay in power in Tamil Nadu and this is the reason why congress had no hassles in seat sharing talks with DMK this time. But if the elections throw up a very bad result for the DMK, relations may warm up between AIDMK and Congress.

Well this phenomenon is not restricted to UPA or Congress wooing allies alone. BJD chief Mr. Patnaik may have parted ways with NDA for the time being but has kept his options open. Same is the case with BSP supremo Ms. Mayawati and to a lesser extent Mr. Sharad Pawar. AIDMK and TDP have always been vulnerable in this sense and may be the first ones to jump from the third front to the NDA bandwagon if things go well for the BJP. But it is worth noticing that BJP due to its ideology is more of a liability to the alliance partners in long term. Ms. Mamta Banerjee openly admits that her alliance with BJP did hurt her vote base in Bengal especially among the Muslims but also among the left leaning people who could have voted for Trinamol otherwise. Same is the case with JD(U) in Bihar which has been under the secular regime of Lalu for nearly 15 years. No wonder the first statements against any communal comments by the BJP comes from Nitsh Kumar. TDP also suffered due to its alliance with NDA as it lost rapport with Muslim voters. Hence the stance of these parties towards BJP is not that soft as that of other parties towards Congress. Interestingly and on the contrary alliance with Congress adds to the brand values of many parties in many states. That was the reason that SP was so bent on having alliance with Congress in UP despite congress having no considerable presence in the state. Alliance with the congress would mean a direct swing of Muslim votes in favor of SP and not only that recent articles in Hindu suggest that there is an immense amount of goodwill among people in UP for congress and high regards for Dr. Manmohan Singh. This may not be surprising considering the Indian nature of criticising those who are in the race for power in the state and praising those who are not major players as there are no reports of them misusing power (they don't have ). The reason is same for Trinamol allying with the congress and also for the compulsions of Pawar who must defend his secular credentials in light of friendly meeting with Shiv Sena helmsmen.

Though we all remain sceptical about the capabilities of our politicians but hats of to them for the way they adapt to rapidly changing situations and despite so many differences are able to provide stable coalition governments.

1 comment:

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