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Why the Congress is gung-ho - Organiser Editorial

Power has its own logic. It is euphoric and those without it will never understand. The Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari participating in a television debate boasted that the poll outcome is a foregone conclusion as the country’s polity has become “unipolar”. Another spokesperson Ms Jayanti Natarajan was equally exuberant and claimed that the NDA has collapsed and it was a cakewalk for the Congress. Five years ago the NDA also had similar delusions.
It is natural that those in power do not see the writing on the wall. A nearest and perhaps the most appropriate description of the pre-poll scene in the country today is that it is chaotic. It can also be characterised as either multi-polar or bi-polar. Because after the poll the votaries of the Third Front, Sitaram and Karat have nowhere else to go but do business with Sonia-Rahul duopoly.
The general belief is that every party is counting on the post-poll scenario. Problems with the allies is not unique to the NDA. The breakdown of the alliance in Orissa is in reality a blessing in disguise. Eleven years in power had made the BJP cadre lazy and lethargic. They were fed up with the BJD and equally disappointed with the ministers of their own party.
The BJD severing the tie-up has generated so much sympathy and relief in the party ranks that some even compare it to the enthusiasm reminiscent of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir agitation days. The party of Naveen Patnaik failed to give a convincing explanation to the abrupt snapping of tie-up, with just a few weeks left for polls. The alliance was mutually beneficial and if the BJP has now become a liability for the BJD, then it only means that the latter was growing at the expense of the former. And the number of seats the BJD was willing to concede after re-negotiating the seat share was humiliatingly low and ridiculously left-handed. It is unprecedented in the history of coalition politics in the country that after eleven years one of the partners trying to steal the other of its raison d’etre.
There is nothing wrong in half a dozen state satraps aspiring to become Prime Minister. The circus of the Third Front, the eternal chimera of Indian politics, is all about that unconcealed ambition. What is amusing is the Left Front chicanery. That the CPI(M) should so eagerly jump into the bed with hitherto close ally of the BJP is more a reflection of the Left’s desperation and its inability to refashion its politics in the Indian milieu. Its indolent dependence on instrumentalised electoral arrangements to keep the BJP out smacks of bankrupt ideology. The Left’s departure from any ideological pretensions is interesting. Common minimum programme is the facade. Words like opportunism, alliance of convenience, strange bed-fellows are passé. Nobody talks of ideology, concurrence of views or values in political dealings.
The often heard wisdom on political outcome these days is that the national election is the aggregate of the state elections. The national parties who subscribe to this view are only underlining the growing dilemma confronting them. Two ideas in the past decade have sapped the verve and vitality of ideology driven, principled politics. The first was Mandal and the resultant casteism. The second was the political parties’ blind faith in the politics of arithmetic. In the absence of an alchemist, the electoral chemistry suffered. Ideology which used to play the role of a catalyst is nowhere, making the electoral battle tame affair in brazen power play.
This is the reason why a party like Congress which has become non-existent in more than two-third of the national landscape is happy in the company of cynical power brokers and caste and communal warlords.
A national alternative need not be the aggregate vanity and ego trip of the collective frustration and unfounded ambition. It can also be the hope and aspiration of a resurgent India morphed into a plateau of politics with purpose.


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