‘coalition kickbacks’ – Priti Jain

It’s quite vexing to witness how the ruling alliance has managed to make a complete fool out of the whole electorate; the nation has been reduced to a mere spectator bemused by the evolving nature of Indian politics. The newspaper headlines have seen a reduction in their shelf lives and it takes no time for them to be replaced and shoved to the interiors by something more ‘important’. There is so much movement around the globe that a lot rests on the gravity of the matter to sustain itself visually. I’m not sure if these scams and scandals have made us stronger or more politically intrigued but they have definitely left us immune to identical incidences with lesser intensity.

The recent cacophony in the house owing to the withdrawal of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has left the Congress at the mercy of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP). For whatever reasons, be it the Tamil issue for DMK’s leave or the FDI policy for the Trinamool Congress’s exit, the stability at the center no more prevails. But the one party getting the best of both worlds is Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. Knowing for a fact that the Congress is really fragile at the moment, it has joined the bandwagon criticizing the working of the government. He does not stop here. He goes beyond this by insinuating the formation of a Third Front Party as a better alternative to the current ruling power by putting forward the possibility of an early 2013 elections. This entire hullabaloo by an ally is certainly some nightmare for the Congress. If we look at the reasons above for why an ally separated its ways with the central government, you tend to find a single bone of contention instigating the split. Here, there’s absolutely nothing, the allegations by SP are generalized criticisms that every Indian is well aware of. The hollowness in their accusations coupled with the denial of any intentions of separation from the national alliance is a clear sign of their underlying financial and political motives. The follow-up by the Congress in opening up its coffers for the state of Uttar Pradesh along with the recent networking of 300 bank branches throughout the state have filled the platter for the SP head. The father-son duo have efficiently benefited from this alliance.

Though their allegations seem flimsy, their demeanor can certainly be traced back to two pressing issues. The beauty of a coalition is that it brings forth the regional issues within a state at the fore of the parliament making democracy a wholesome process. But at the same time it can hold the national government hostage to its domestically oriented demands. Hailing from the same state, SP and BSP have different minorities under their bags; the former being hell-bent on providing better representation to the Muslim minority and the latter for SC and ST. Better representation always translates itself into reservations. With the introduction of the bill for reservation for the SCs and STs in promotion in the parliament, it brought great ire to Mulayam Singh Yadav.

A defector from the Samajwadi Party and a current cabinet Steel Minister from the Congress, Beni Prasad Verma lately has been on scourging spree against his former party. Accusing it of deceiving the minorities and forecasting a dismal performance by the party in the next elections, the loquacious MP has gone all the way in thwarting the ties with the alliance. It’s true that a coalition government is only a settlement to gain power and there’s no pre-requisite for the party members to be fond of each other, but publicly lashing each other out will only jeopardize the image of the ruling party. This has given birth to a certain trend within the parties; first scathe a party or an individual member and then the party either displays displeasure with the ally or retaliates with the same vigor. This might go on for a while ending with either an apology from the instigator or his resignation.

This convoluted mess enveloping the Congress has left it in a dilemma of either pleasing its bickering allies, getting its own party issues straight or thinking about reformist policies for the people who voted them to power. It cannot be knowingly unknown to the fact that the nation has lost faith in the government owing to their scandalous tenure so far. But the opposition should not get its hopes high who itself has a dearth of a true leader and a clear majority. The question of early elections does rise but the allies are too reluctant to give up the position they hold and wouldn’t dare to exhaust the benefits of being in a coalition.

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