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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2589

Strange World of Indian Politics

By Rama Rao - Syndicate Features

Last few weeks have amply seen the lower denominator of Indian politics, with a reminder that politics in India has tightly embraced hypocrisy and double-speak.

After the formal rupture between the UPA and the Left one thing that became clear was that the country would quickly see a fresh political realignment that is based on expediency and exigencies of the moment—immoral and unethical alignments. For one party to allege that the other party is seeking unprincipled or unholy alliances is pure hogwash when it has been repeatedly seen that all of them can be equally sanctimonious, vain and shallow.

The months of uncertainty about the Congress reaching out to the Samajwadi Party ended abruptly. All sins of omission and commission by the two rivals were forgotten and forgiven almost overnight. It was hardly edifying to see or hear the SP’s man for all seasons, Amar Singh, doing a fast U-turn and sing paeans to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi.

Apart from some of the Sangh Parivar leading lights and George Fernandes (whose current party affiliation looks a bit hazy as it has on many previous occasions) it is doubtful if any politician in the country other than Amar Singh has made more scathing attacks on Sonia Gandhi.

The coming together of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party was, it is said, necessitated by their common desire to halt the trampling march of the Elephant (Bahujan Samaj Party) in the politically crucial state of UP. The Congress is desperate to get out of the wilderness in UP while the SP is shaken by an erosion in its ‘secular’ votes as the Congress shows signs of winning back some of its traditional voters in UP.

But the BJP is equally keen to take UP again as it did after the Babri demolition. Even as Mayawati insists that her BSP does not believe in any pre-poll alliance and prefers to fight assembly and parliamentary polls all by itself the BJP is hopelessly pining for a tie-up with the BSP. Such an alignment might bring the BJP a few extra seats in UP but it will surely force the BJP to scale down any other ambition it might have nursed for UP or for getting BSP support to fulfil the dream of its Lauh Purush in Delhi.

In the Left camp confusion has accompanied opportunism. One day the Left, particularly its leading player, the CPI (M), declares that it will not hesitate to seek help from ‘any’ quarter to topple the government. ‘There are no untouchables in politics,’ assert the Left leaders as they hold secret and not so secret parleys with the ‘communal’ forces who, incidentally, do not share the Left’s pathological hatred for the US. Next day these leaders do an about turn and deny having spoken of readiness to bond with the ‘communal’ forces.

Likewise, the speaker of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee, has become an object of confusion in the Left camp. One section is vocal in demanding his resignation because he was elected on the CPI (M) ticket while another section says the decision will have to be made by the speaker himself.

The confusing signals can only be interpreted to mean that it disregards the widely held belief that on election to the post a speaker ceases to have any party affiliation.

If, as the Left says, the speaker is a party (CPI-M) member, was it wrong to accuse him of being ‘partisan’ in conducting the affairs of the Lok Sabha?

The zealots in the Left are doing a great harm to Somnath Chatterjee’s well-deserved reputation of being a competent speaker. But the political parties in the country think that ‘harm’ travels only in the other direction.

In the meanwhile, the Left for all its solemn declarations in support of ‘secular’ values has voluntarily moved closer to the ‘communal’ BJP and its allies in its bid to oust the government. Clearly, there is no chance of voting the UPA government out of power unless the Left and the Right join hands.

A logical extension of this act would be that the Left-Right duo carries on its bonhomie after achieving its common goal of dethroning the government. After all, this odd couple has coexisted previously on a number of occasions. What prevents the Left from announcing now that the fraternal ties between the comrades and the Ram Bhakts will continue?

Again confusion in the Left comes to the surface. Their leaders aver that they would not rule out support to the Congress-led UPA after the Lok Sabha polls.

This hasty but gratuitous declaration by the Left could be in response to Sonia Gandhi’s expression of sorrow over the split in the UPA-Left ties when she could well have mounted an attack on the Left.

A more generous interpretation would be that neither camp, the UPA and the Left, wants to close its options after the next round of Lok Sabha polls.

If the Congress-led UPA and the CPI(M)-led Left come together again after a few months people will have the right to ask why did they split now? The whole country knows that the Left is dead against the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, though there are many guesses about the reasons behind it.

The Left’s disapproval need not have taken the shape of withdrawal of support to the government provided of course, had Manmohan Singh not become a single issue Prime Minister to the exclusion of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP).

- Syndicate Features -

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