Congress vs BJP

They have long been trying to make it a bi-polar affair, with limited success of course, in India’s murky parliamentary business. As the two main players—Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—have no all-India representative character, though they enjoy a kind of self-congratulating comfort by calling themselves national parties, they have no option but to team up with regional parties led by local satraps, to run the biggest show of democracy. The fantastic rise of regional lords, thriving mostly on obnoxious and backward ideologies heavily charged with feudal fervour, is really a peculiar phenomenon which may finally lead to the formation of more princely states than what existed before 1947. In truth regional caste lords and parochial bigots behave like kings, queens and princes of yester years. They have the unique privilege of being called regional and national as well when they join any of the two broad coalitions that manage the musical chair at the centre. As the 2014 General Election is approaching regional heavy-weights and light-weights are making permutations and combinations all the time to strike the jackpot.

But basically there is no difference between BJP and Congress. Regarding reforms, globalisation and capitalism both are in the same mood—they are in the same boat, rather a leaky boat. Both want a few becoming richer and richer at the expense of the majority victims becoming poorer and poorer. Both want MNCs to flourish unchecked in India. Both the parties are corrupt. Coal scam, 2G Spectrum scams, Bellary Mines scams etc. etc. In reality both are in the same soup. The worst of all corruptions is the import of coals, because of giving coals to the private companies at the cheaper rate by devaluing Indian rupee.

Regarding communalism and the secular dimension of the Indian constitution Congress party claims that they are different from BJP. For one thing here BJP is open and transparent in claiming that they are for the majority Hinduism and they want such nationalism forgetting about the Indian constitution regarding the status of minorities. However, the Congress is subtle and doesn’t hesitate to indulge in silent communalism. This is very clear that Congress does not take a stand on Dalits Christians and Dalits Muslims becoming part of SC/ST category of the Indian Constitution. While the Congress accuses BJP of communalism after Godhara in Gujarat, the BJP blames Congress of killing Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The blaming game doesn’t make Congress more secular and BJP less communal.

People of India cannot take a stand in the midst of such contradictions in the political parties including regional parties that always explore possibilities of better bargaining. And yet many vote during the elections. Indians think this is the only right they could assert with some satisfaction. So the surveys show that NDA and UPA will not get a needed majority to rule the country. BJP thinks that Modi will work a magic as he did in Gujarat better than Advani. On the other hand Congress thinks that Rahul will work a magic through popular enactment like RTE, RTI, Food Security and other populist measures. Ultimately BJP and Congress will have to depend on the regional parties. It all depends on how the UPA and NDA work out this in wooing regional power brokers by giving them more privileges than the number they have. This may work for some time till the bigger say in everything is determined.

And the Left, better to say what is left of the Left, looks too old and tired to talk even for a while, about social change to which they are committed, at least programmatically. For all practical purposes they have lost relevance to the oppressed and toilers. Sometimes they support Congress and oppose BJP for no basic reasons. Sometimes they oppose Congress along with BJP for the sake of opposition. Voters are being asked to get polarised on minor issues and even non-issues, between Congress and BJP or their coalition fronts—UPA and NDA. India seems large enough to accommodate all contenders including kings, queens, princes and ragtag radicals.     [contributed]

Vol. 46, No. 17, Nov 3 -9, 2013

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