Thursday, February 19, 2009


The 'secular' Samajwadi Party(SP) has really got itself into a hole. Playing smart too often finds it wanting to embrace its sworn enemy, the 'communal' BJP! 'Mullah' Mulayam Singh Yadav, otherwise reportedly a Hanuman Bhakt, now wants to openly say 'Jai Sri Ram'! Is this offer a part of his pressure tactics to force the Congress to agree to a seat sharing arrangement dictated by him or is it a recognition of the fact that, of all the parties in UP, the SP is today the most vulnerable?

Indian politicians can find the most unbelievable of excuses to justify doing the exact opposite of what they had been doing minutes before they change their mind. The SP now says that if the BJP gives up its key demands of construction of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution that gives special status to J&K, it is willing to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the saffron party! Mulayam Yadav and Amar Singh surely know that these demands were 'given up' by the BJP years back to forge alliances with other parties and form the NDA. They remain on the BJP's party agenda alone. So is there anything new that they are asking for from the BJP now?

As I had mentioned in a previous post, the Mulayam and Amar have made some terrible mistakes. When they embraced the Congress by ditching the Third Front and annoying the Left , they left themselves at the mercy of that party. A non-existent Congress may have had no choice but to go along with them in UP then. But, now, thanks to their isolation, increased even further by their re-embracing of Kalyan Singh of Babri Masjid fame, they have given the Congress a real chance to recover a substantial part of its traditional Muslim vote bank that the SP had taken away.

That is probably why the Congress is now talking tough and demanding more. Is Mulayam Yadav going to capitulate and give in to most of the demands of the Congress which wants 30 seats in UP? More importantly, is the Congress going to remain happy by remaining a totally fringe player or is it going to seize this opportunity to claw its way back in the state?

What about the BJP? Is it going to accept the SP's offer in the hope of increasing its tally of seats and thereby its chances of winning the elections? Arun Jaitley and Muhktar Abbas Naqvi of the BJP have publicly rejected the offer, with former ruling it out completely and the latter saying that the BJP will never give up its core demand about Ayodhya. By now, the whole nation knows that such statements are not meant to be taken seriously. For all we know, the two parties have already struck a deal and are now preparing the public for the announcement!

The Congress and the BJP both need to realise that in UP they are really not fighting each other. Mayawati and Mulayam have eaten into their votes, with the Congress almost evaporated with less than 8% of the vote share. The BJP too has been hit significantly. The only way that these national parties can recover lost ground is by taking on the powerful duo and not by engaging in a mutually destructive fight. The SP is today more vulnerable than it has ever been. It will, therefore, be foolhardy on the part both the Congress and the BJP to re-energise it out with a shot of electoral glucose without any real benefit in return.

The most significant part of Mulayam Yadav's offer for an alliance with the BJP is that he is now willing to go to bed with both the national parties. That defining change of stance opens up an entirely new set of possibilities after the elections and almost demolishes Mayawati's dream of becoming the PM. The scenario that is now building up is that, if required, almost all political parties, except the Congress and the Left, will be willing to join a BJP led NDA government at the Centre, should the NDA get better numbers than the UPA but still fall short of majority.

This almost paradigm shift also marks the beginning of the end of the ridiculous division of the political landscape into secular and communal camps. The reality is that every single political party practices its variant of blatant communalism to get the votes of its traditional vote banks and attract newer ones.

It is time that this fraudulent divide that has been dishonestly flogged to death by some political parties and their media friends by mounting the high 'secular' horse is done away with and the political debate in the country re-focussed on real issues rather than fake ideologies.

The real IPL T20 is on in UP! - 2
Readers may like to read:
1. Will Congress finally dump SP?
2. How to get the secular badge, no questions asked!
3. Mayawati's hug of death