Tuesday, December 15, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati’s games (Opinion)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009 1:15:00 AM

Mayawati's games


Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo
Mayawati has always played the political game with a certain
ruthlessness. The announcement she made on Friday agreeing to the
formation of the separate states of Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh to
be carved out of India's largest state Uttar Pradesh, followed by the
offer for the creation of Poorvanchal by the additional chief
secretary in the state government on Sunday, is just a quick move to
stump her main rival, the Congress party. If pressed to explain, one
of her aides - she does not waste much time in thinking out ideas -
may argue for the virtues of smaller states. But she is not bothered.
She is focused on the power stakes. The cavalier declaration about
splitting the state is to be seen as a tactical move rather than an
expression of principled intent.

There is not much disagreement about the need to slice backward and
troublesome UP into governable slices. Mayawati herself admitted that
the state is too big to administer. It is not hard to guess that she
has others things on her mind. She is thinking a few steps ahead of
the Congress, which wants to use the credible image of party general
secretary and the Nehru-Gandhi scion, Rahul, to put the party in the
saddle of power once again.

Congress has not been in power in the state for more than a decade.

During the 2007 state assembly election, Congress leader and minister
Kapil Sibal had described it as the 14 years of exile for the
Congress, trying to give it the Ramayana resonance where Lord Ram is
away from Ayodhya for the same period. The Congress did not make much
headway then. It has performed creditably well in this summer's Lok
Sabha election. This has given hope to the Congress leaders in the
state of recapturing power in Lucknow.

By asking for the splitting of the state, Mayawati is daring the
Congress, which is heading the coalition government at the Centre. It
is difficult for anyone to envisage the political fallout of Harit
Pradesh, Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal. It is sure to throw up new power
and caste equations which dumb-witted and slow-footed Congress can
never hope to master. Will Mayawati stand to gain from this? She may
not whatever the caste arithmetic she may work out. That does not
deter her because she feels that what is crucial is an aggressive
approach more than anything else. She understands the advantages of
mind games.


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