Saturday, October 13, 2012

Battle of attrition between the BJP and Congress killing both parties…..

I am writing this piece right now after reading an online breaking story about a BJP youth leader shooting a waiter in a restaurant in Kanpur. This comes a day after a story hogged prime time on Scam TV concerning a Congress MP brandishing his gun at a toll-booth in Saurashtra, Gujarat. This one-following-the-other stories of almost criminal-like conduct against both the major national parties is evidence of a huge power struggle between the two. Described differently, it is a huge battle of attrition going on between the two.

This story was only the last one in a string of similar paired stories. The second part of each pair nullifies any gain that the first part may give to a particular party. Take the Coal scam for instance. Now its too much to call it a scam in the first place (there may have been some irregularities; but the policy was a long-standing one and the Congress surely didn’t make the kind of money the BJP has alleged). But even if one was to call it that, it was merely the 2nd part of the overall minerals story. The first part was the Karnataka mining scam which took Yeddy’s scalp and which threatens to break up the BJP in the state. The Congress had been going gaga over the BJP’s discomfiture in Karnataka; but with the coal scam emerging, it was soon on the back foot. There was also the Goa scam angle in which both parties are involved in one way or the other. Even at a smaller level, for every coal mine the Congress is alleged to have given away to a sympathizer, there is a mine that the BJP has given to its. Its uncanny that the scam has singed both parties at the same time.

Or take the India Against Corruption (IAC) charge against Salman Khursheed. There is reportedly some hanky panky in the accounts of the NGO run by his wife. To be sure, there are more accusations at this point in time than actual facts. The only real fact is the CAG report on this which merely states that there are some factual errors in the reports put out by the NGO. For example, some of the “camps” where bicycles etc were distributed to the differently abled did not take place where they were reported. I am sure that Khursheed’s wife’s statement on Monday will provide a different perspective on the matter. Be that as it may, Khursheed is bound to face the heat for a few days. But then this was the second part of the IAC story. The same IAC had “exposed” how the BJP’s President Nitin Gadkari had scuttled the demand for a probe against the NCP over irregularities in irrigation projects in Maharashtra. At that time, the Congress had a good laugh and a chance to poke into the BJP’s ribs. But now, the BJP is having its day in the sun. Neither party has been able to enjoy itself for too long.

Take also the coalition troubles the two main parties are facing. BJP made hay while Mamata created the mess in the UPA. For too long, they enjoyed the presence of an opposition party within the ruling coalition. How well placed it was – not having to do anything; not having to take any difficult positions on any matter – just pointing a finger at Mamata to embarrass the ruling coalition. Now that Mamata has gone, the BJP is forced to show its hand. And what a dirty hand it is. The BJP which has always claimed that it is pro-reform is not pro-reform at all. It opposes everything; all types of FDI; all proposals of the government; all decisions of the Executive; everything. In the past, it didn’t have to come out this clearly. Now with Mamata gone, its all out in the open. But the BJP itself has been facing enormous pressures from its allies. First it was the Shiv Sena which refused to back the BJP’s Presidential candidate. The skirmishes in Maharashtra between the two parties are well known. Then it was the Janata Dal (U) in a very embarrassing and hurting manner. With the Shiv Sena and JD (U) up in arms against the BJP, there is hardly any coalition called NDA left. One wonders if each party is not jabbing at each other’s coalition partner in a tit-for-tat for political gains.

My theory is that there is a huge sparring match going on between the two major national parties. And in this sparring match, everybody is taking sides. There are activists, media, corporate honchos, even Constitutional bodies taking sides. This could appear to be just my imagination, but the repeated occurances of such incidents makes me believe that the entire country is polarized. And its getting ugly. An accusation against a “VBS” (allegedly Vir Bhadra Singh) just before the HP state election looks suspicious because of its timing. For the BJP, it must be a case of sweet revenge, for the Congress had reaped the rewards of the Jain Hawala case (also a diary based allegation, which the courts eventually threw out). Likewise, the announcement of the UK’s Foreign Office Minister in india to try and normalize relations just before the Gujarat elections seems too suspicious in terms of timing. This is just dirty, vindictive and opportunistic politics.

In the meanwhile, Kejriwal (the Joker, not the joker in the political pack) is getting a lot of space under the sun. But wait and watch what happens to him. Once the BJP and Congress realize that it’s a no-win battle for them both, they will conspire to finish Kejriwal off. And media, which is anyways on the side of either of two parties, will join hands. Saw the way Anna was finished? That was because he started complaining against the BJP too. Before that, it was an Anna backed by the BJP. The day Anna became “neutral”, he was finished. And the Lokpal was finished too. This time around, Kejriwal will be finished.

The real truth is that we are witnessing interesting times, if one can call this interesting at all. In reality, these are really troubled times for the country with both sides interested more in hurting each other that in tending to the hurting economy. The aam aadmi – by whichever name you call him – is hurting the most. When will our parties realize the dangers of a hurt aam aadmi? They better do it in time…..else they will both become history…..

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