Friday, April 30, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Unlikely friends (Opinion)

Published: April 29, 2010 23:48 IST | Updated: April 29, 2010 23:48
IST April 29, 2010

Unlikely friends

The euphoria in the United Progressive Alliance camp over the defeat
of the Opposition-sponsored cut motions in the Lok Sabha is belied by
the numbers: 289 for the government and 201 against. Exclude the
Bahujan Samaj Party's 21 MPs — and it is immediately apparent that the
Manmohan Singh government is a minority regime surviving on divisions
within the Opposition, and leveraging its position to exploit the
vulnerability of some of its rivals. That the dramatic rescue act by
the BSP owes to some deft back-room understanding is plain enough. The
larger question is the impact of this quid pro quo agreement on
BSP-Congress relations in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP and the Congress have
formally aligned just once, in 1996 when neither could have foreseen a
situation where they would emerge as principal rivals in U.P. With 83
of 85 Lok Sabha seats from the State in 1984 and 269 of 425 Assembly
seats in 1985, the Congress was master of all it surveyed in India's
most populous State. Yet by 1991, the party was out of the reckoning
in U.P. with only five seats in the Lok Sabha and 46 seats in the
Assembly. While the Congress' marginalisation in U.P. was politically
humiliating, it allowed the party the freedom to throw its weight
behind whoever it perceived as a friend — the BSP in 1996 and the
Samajwadi Party in later years, with a fair amount of cross-wooing
thrown in.

Once Ms Mayawati wrested power from Mulayam Singh, the Congress's
equation with the BSP changed — from on-again, off-again friendship to
bitter rivalry accentuated by the deep personal animosity between the
U.P. Chief Minister and Rahul Gandhi. The BSP chief and the Congress
general secretary tend to bring out the worst in each other. The two
fought bitter public battles much before the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
The feud intensified after the Congress staged a surprise victory over
the BSP. Not only has the Congress' rising star set himself the task
of winning the 2012 U.P. Assembly election, he has left no one in
doubt that he means to achieve this by weaning away Ms Mayawati's
phenomenal Dalit following. But the BSP chief did not earn her
formidable reputation for nothing. She has not deviated from the
strategy of building an independent base and repeatedly testing its
strength. Following her Lok Sabha setback, she has assiduously
targeted her core constituency, placing Dalits in key positions of
power and directing resources to Dalit-specific programmes. Against
this background, it is difficult to see either party giving effect to
the new 'friendship' forged at the Centre. It is a cardinal principle
in politics that principal rivals cannot be friends. And that is how
it looks, at least in U.P.


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1 comment:

  1. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................


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