Sunday, May 2, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Political opportunism

Political opportunism
1 May 2010, 0612 hrs IST,ET Bureau

The juggling act that attended the government's cut motion triumph,
and the deal-making shenanigans in Jharkhand underscore the rank
that is accepted as the natural and normal way of conducting politics.
It often becomes all too clear that notions like transparency and
accountability are mere catchphrases in our political culture.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati's critical support to the UPA on
the cut motion, for instance, was passed off as a common attempt to
keep 'communal forces' (read: BJP) at bay. It perhaps isn't even
necessary to judge the piousness of that sentiment on the basis of
allegations that it had more to do with the CBI easing off a bit on
some cases against Mayawati in return. Rather, one can remember not
just the declaration of support, but active campaigning the BSP
supremo did for Gujarat CM Narendra Modi during the 2002 Gujarat
assembly elections. Granted, the BSP has an unabashed and open policy
of political opportunism, stemming from the political belief that
Dalit politics can gain only by having no permanent allies or foes.
But, clearly, the appellation 'communal forces' is as convenient a fig
leaf for the political class as 'minority appeasement'.

Events in Jharkhand could also be ascribed to the political churn, or
rather the chronic instability the state has witnessed since its
inception in 2000 — what with seven different governments (with one
led by an independent MLA) since then. That has meant issues of
governance being subservient to the scramble for power. It is true
that Shibu Soren represents the current sorry state of the strong
tribal movement for the creation of the state. The frantic attempt to
maintain a toehold on power by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha offering to
let the BJP take the chief ministership, as well as the latter party's
abrupt halting of its withdrawal of support move reflects the
'politics is self interest' paradigm. Not long ago, political parties
were calling for accountability and transparency in the IPL. But those
concepts seem markedly absent when it comes to practicing them
politically. Capturing and retaining office is all that counts. And
the larger problem is that our polity holds that truth to be


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