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Indian politics lack ideology

NEW DELHI: For all political parties, national and minor, it will be a nervous two
months before the verdict is out.
But one thing is clear: Never in Indian electoral history has there been a campaign where the ideological lines were so blurred as it is now and parties have shown the kind of flexibility that would make a trapeze artiste turn green with envy.
They are all standing their well enunciated stance on major issues as well as on individuals on their head. It doesn’t take a psephologist to predict that the elections will throw a hung Parliament.
Consequently, only an alliance that can cross the magical 272 figure can hope to come to power. Any number of permutations and combinations can occur but the following are a few that cannot:
--The Congress and the BJP coming together --The Left and the BJP playing ball --Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party joining hands. --The principal non-Congress parties in traditional bi-party states bailing out the grand old party.
Barring the above, every political party will be keen to tango with anyone else as long as power is within reach. It is towards this end that even major parties are shedding their traditional anathema and playing realpolitik.
Consider this: Until not too long ago, Prakash Karat found in “Amma” Jayalalithaa the epitome of corruption and political misdeed; for comrades, N Chandrababu Naidu was a capitalist stooge in Hyderabad who revelled in the company of the likes of Bill Clinton; Naveen Patnaik’s BJD was a Christian-bashing, Korean (Posco)-loving monster that failed to empathise with the poor masses in his impoverished state of Orissa; and Mayawati was a billionaire casteist whose priorities included inhibiting the growth of progressive ideology in Northern India.
Today, Comrade Karat is literally rolling out the red carpet for them. And Mr Karat has said that it is his party’s mission to prevent the Congress and the BJP from grabbing power.
The BJP’s current predicament vindicates the saying that one month is a long time in politics. At the turn of the year there was a spring in the party’s step, which has all but vanished after the unexpected defeats in Rajasthan and Delhi and the rumblings within, culminating in the unilateral walkout by Naveen Patnaik.
There is a natural despondency which hadn’t yet turned into despair. In at least four states — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka — the party is in an unassailable position and despite the recent betrayal by Mr Patnaik and the walkout by Chandrababu Naidu earlier, party leaders believe that if they can win about 10 to 15 seats from Orissa and Andhra, Messrs Patnaik and Naidu will be ready to start fresh negotiations.


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