Thursday, May 07, 2009

The melting down of pre-poll rhetoric

With just the last phase of polling left, the political theatre has already shifted to the air-conditioned halls in New Delhi. And if the flurry of statements by leaders of the various political parties is any indication, it clearly suggests the intensity with which they will play games within hours after the counting of votes begin on May 16, 2009. Let us be assured that our leaders will not fail us in reducing the mandate by the people into a plaything.

Take for instance the exchanges that are now on between the Congress party’s Crown Prince Rahul Gandhi and CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat: Rahul says that the Left will support his party form a government at the Centre. Karat retorts that it will not happen. And even before the debate is taken further, we heard Mamata Banerjee, the Congress party’s ally in West Bengal making it clear that her Trinamul Congress will not tolerate the Left anywhere around. We are yet to hear M.Karunanidhi’s views on this. It is my hunch that the DMK leader will not appreciate Rahul Gandhi’s views particularly after the CPI(M) had taken its fight in Madurai seriously.

And as for Sharad Pawar, another important UPA partner, he has been maintaining that the Left parties are as much a natural ally of the UPA as much they are inevitable. Pawar has even ensured a tie-up with Karat’s party in Orissa along with Naveen Patnaik. Well. Karat has not explained why his party tied up with the NCP despite the CPI(M)’s opposition to the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, which exactly is among the reasons why the Left-Congress marriage broke.

Lest it be mistaken that the Left parties alone are guilty of being inconsistent. Let us take a peep into the absurdities that were on display from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. We heard Pranab Mukherjee wondering, as to whether Lalu Prasad Yadav will remain a minister in the Union Cabinet after May 16, 2009. Was Mukherjee giving a discreet message? Is it that he is likely to be the UPA’s choice for the Prime Minister’s job in the event Sonia Gandhi gets to decide who should be ``chosen’’ for that job? Well. Sonia may think that way but her son, Rahul has maintained that Manmohan Singh will continue.

Rahul perhaps knows that Mukherjee, being a political animal and a survivor from the time he arrived at New Delhi (as Sanjay Gandhi’s chosen man) sometimes in the mid-Seventies, will not vacate the throne for him. It is possible that Rahul was told about this by his sister, Priyanka. We all know that Priyanka has issued a certificate that her brother is eminently qualified to become Prime Minister. And Priyanka also held, in the same context, that she would like to see her brother married! I do not see any connection between the two but then Priyanka knows more than we do about Rahul Gandhi.

All that we know about Rahul Gandhi is that he is determined to revive the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We also know that Rahul Gandhi has managed to charm a section of the English language journalists in Delhi and hence they have been seeing an ``undercurrent’’ in favour of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Well. I have noticed the media talking about a Congress revival in the Hindi speaking region ever since 1993. And such talks were found to be baseless once the votes were counted.

This is not to say that Rahul Gandhi will lose. He will win and his mother Sonia Gandhi too will win. But then, a Congress revival is too much to hope for. The party’s candidates have been losing their security deposits in a large chunk of the 80 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh. And hence the Congress needs a tsunami like wave in its favour to revive. Undercurrents will not do. And the scene in Bihar is much worse. Even if Sonia and Rahul decide to contest from Bihar, they may lose.

This is why Rahul Gandhi has said that he expects the Left to support his party form the next Government as well. He may have had a brief session with his sister Priyanka one of these days and she must have told him that the Congress is too far away from a revival course. And that it is of no use dreaming of a 272 on its own and hence mend fences with anyone and everyone. And Priyanka’s brother, being what he is, simply came out and rattled that his party was sure of the Left behaving in a responsible manner.

Well. It is not as if the Left will do otherwise. The Left parties have all along behaved with a lot of responsibility and commitment. They have seen the BJP as posing a larger danger than the Congress and this is a well settled issue insofar as the CPI(M) and the CPI are concerned. The RSP and the Forward Bloc do not see things this way but will not chart another course. In other words, the Left will support the Congress-led UPA if that turns out to be the only way by which the BJP can be stopped from forming another coalition Government. But then, Karat and his comrades have difficulty in making that known as it is. They are still engaged in a battle against the Congress and cannot be expected to give a walk-over before May 13, 2009.

And after May 16, 2009, we will find many more leaders speaking of the imperative for the democratic set-up and thus justify their own quest for power. When the game gets going, we will find more serious leaders than a Rahul Gandhi entering the play-field. It is another matter that the game will be played with contempt for the rules and the players then will not even pretend to moral principles. Parties with just a couple of MPs and leaders of such smaller parties will have their own good times and happy hours then!


Anonymous Subbu said...

Rahul Gandhi is a walking political liability. One doesn't know why they let him out without a handler.

The Congress cannot be revived in UP and Bihar by appointing foreign educated people to the youth congress.

In the end democracy is the loser.

As Vinobha Bhave said we can probably do away with government!

12:51 AM  
Anonymous nikhil said...

Just this once Subbu, you stand corrected:) though i still feel that congress has miles to go before reestablishing an organisational structure in UP, a beginning has been made..Some credit must be given to Rahul for this performance...

5:04 AM  

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