A REDHERRING CALLED BJP
Jai Mrug; a young Mechanical Engineer for I.I.T., Mumbai and a student of politics, brilliantly pinpoints the reasons behind this slogan inscribed on the standards of almost all other political parties except a few and makes an objective analysis of the lacunae in our political process.
The reinstatement of the united front government with a new leader reinforces two basic truths of Indian polity: one - the Congress is at its nadir and therefore not in a position to face a mid term poll, two-anti-BJPism is still bonding force between a motley of disparate groups as well as between this chaotic formation and the Congress. But had the Congress not been at its nadir it would have as well opted for a mid term poll throwing all the calls to save secularism to the winds. Hence though anti-BJPism is the ostensible reason for supporting the United front, the truth lies elsewhere. The United front bills anti-BJPism as its noblest virtue. One needs to analyze on individual merit the case of each of the regional parties of the United Front vis a vis the BJP.
First if you label a party communal and a danger to the Nations secular character then the so called malice of its ideology does not vary as a function of time. In 1990 the Chandrashekhar government was supported by the Congress to keep the BJP at bay. The same government was dumped not for reasons pertaining to 'secularism', but because the Congress had the requisite organizational strength and a charismatic leader to lead it at the hustings. Now the Congress leadership had neither of these options open to itself. On the other hand the Congress was actually losing its mass base away to the regional parties and the BJP. The United Front too had been acting confidently and exploiting the helplessness of the Congress. To reassert its importance the Congress decided to strike where it hurts the most, below the belt. It alleged that the anti-BJP UF was not as anti communal as it was expected to be and therefore a misfit for Congress support. But the tamasha let loose by the old man in a hurry made only more resolute the pro BJP sentiments of the people as indicated by the opinion polls. Thus now the UF ceased to be anathema to the Congress. The Congress conveniently made a scape goat out of H. D. Deve Gowda. Had the Congress gained ground rather than losing it would have in al probability hurled similar invective at both the UF and the BJP.
In short the Congress support to the UF is not a great sacrifice to save the nation as it is made out to be, but a mere fig leaf to hide its own directionlessness. If anti-BJPism was indeed a very important cause then the Congress should have as well supported a government under the leadership of somebody other than Chandrashekhar in 1991 as it not did with the United front. In fact the BJP was more in the thick of the Ayodhya agitation in 1991 than it is now.
The regional parties in the United Front on the other hand represent another variety of anti-BJPism. While the anti-BJPism of the Congress is representative of a helpless deadlock inflicted on it by destiny for the regional parties it is matter of choice and comfort. The talk of losing a votebank (the minorities) may be just half the truth, the remaining lies elsewhere.
Consider the TDP boss Naidu, the United front of which his party is a significant component has him as an important player. According to reports when the fall of the Deve Gowda government was then why shout BJP hai hai rights from the beginning when the chances of avoiding a midterm poll are more sound in league with the BJP rather than with a ramshackle UF. First a ramshackle UF can attain a majority in the parliament by blackmailing a helpless Congress to support them. Having achieved this the regional parties can have a good time trying their luck to get the post of PM for their candidate. The likes of Naidu can go around as Kind makers, a privilege they obviously cannot enjoy in a BJP led configuration.
The anti-BJPism of parties like SP, JD, and CPM, is understandable for reasons of vote bank and ideology respectively. But for the other parties it is a question of getting maximum leverage and the best share in power with minimum amount of numbers on their side. Thus a TMC with a two digit score could not have a dreamt of the top slot in a BJP led government.
It is this disproportionate share of power that one can enjoy with smaller numbers that keeps their anti-BJPism going. Hence their parties can afford to have a more flexible attitude towards 1996 Lok Sabha the TMC and the DMK gave enough indications that they were willing to break bread with the BJP. The United front was still in the womb of time and the Congress still undecided. In fact Murasoli Maran went ahead to remind the presspersons that the DMK and the BJP had fought the emergency together. Thus where the BJP is strong enough you can blackmail a helpless Congress into supporting you.
But where the BJP is not as strong but has the numbers that can make a difference beg its support. This is what the AGP did not once but twice. In the elections held for the Guwahati Municipal Corporation is 1995 the AGP did seek the support of the BJP for installing its own mayor. In a house of 60 the AGP and the Congress had won 23 and 22 seats respectively the CPM one, independents five and the BJP nine. The support of the BJP was thus imperative for the AGP to have its own man head the local body of Guwahati. The deal was almost struck but for the AGP not willing to accommodate a deputy mayor of the BJP. The deal then broke down. But during the Rajya Sabha elections the AGP formally wrote a letter asking the BJP to support its candidate and the deal was through. The AGP candidate sailed through with BJP support. But one must admit that the argument of losing minority votes does hold water for the AGP keeping in mind the demographic composition of the state. Even then the fact remains that, of all the parties of the federal front it is the AGP which has most flouted the politically correct secular dictum of treating the BJP as an untouchable.
Thus if the Congress becomes strong enough say with the entry of Sonia Gandhi is may as well forget all its anti-BJPism. It would ditch the United front and make a fresh bid for power on its own. On the other hand once the regional parties are convinced that the UF is a sinking ship they too will mellow their anti-BJPism. Some of them may even join a BJP led front. So then how do you define this game called anti-BJPism. Well it is best defined in the idiom of the leftists who are the most vocal anti-BJPists.
The leftists contend that whenever the revolution is about to take place the Bourgeoisie unleash counter revolutionary forces to stall the revolution. These forces untie the exploited and the exploiters in the name of lofty ideals like nationalism or religion. They thus postpone the inevitable ' confrontation'. The CPM was the major force behind the formation of the United front. It has a bully like attitude on most of the stands taken by the United front. It also has the most anti-Congress attitude of all. Its strength as compared to the other constituents of the United front put together is small. Some what similar is the case of the Brahmins as compared to the other castes in Hindu society. Remember according to leftist ideologues the Brahmins are smaller in number but use religion as the opium to exploit the masses
They allegedly use culture as a means to preserve
the hegemony of the exploiters (upper castes) over the exploited (lower castes).
The CPM successfully cobbled up with a little assistance from others a coalition
which would survive on the helplessness of the Congress. The lofty ideal to
unify these exploiters and the exploited i.e. the Congress is Secularism or
its equivalent Anti-BJPism. A taste of their own medicine for out leftists comrades,