ith Indian elections just a month away and last day of filing nominations getting nearer, political parties busy allotting seats to their members and allies. A hurdle difficult to pass, all the major seven political parties are still passing this nerve-racking exercise. The biggest democratic process in India is turning hot and spicy day-by-day.
The latest recipe is from Gandhi scion Varun Gandhi. Born to late prime minister Indira Gandhi’s son Sanjay Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Nehru family daughter-in-law Maneka Gandhi, the young politician tried to impress his party leadership with Muslim bashing.
Knowing that his mother party is rooted in Hindu ideology, he shot rhetoric against Muslims in the country at a public function telling “if any Muslim tries to attack a Hindu, he will cut the culprit’s arm.”
Poor guy, lack of experience and discipline in an election atmosphere made him talk against a religious minority. May be BJP has never bothered to teach its cadre that a “vote” does not have religion during election. Though mosque demolition or temple reconstruction are the party agendas, Varun, is it sensible to criticise a section which is decisive in an election process? Had he not seen bearded mullahs and clerics embracing Hindu leaders at least in newspapers?
“We did not expect this from you Varun, You should apologise. And we will take action after seeing the text of your speech.” That was the reaction of BJP when the Utter Pradesh police booked a criminal case under the directive of election commission against him for instigating communal tension.
Very simple, the party leadership is trying to woo the voters. Of course, sparing the rod is spoiling a kid. But who knows whether BJP is doing just an eye-wash. Discipline always begins at home. Whenever a grown up person behaves in an uncivilised manner in public, we easily come to a conclusion that he or she might have been an enfant terrible in childhood. Lack of parental guidance makes children enfant terrible. Varun Gandhi is one among those enfants terribles the party has nurtured. Whatever explanation he has been giving since the controversy, they are not enough to mend the damage he has created for the party.
If Varun’s inflammatory communal speech has come up in another occasion, definitely the party would have appreciated him. But now, BJP is not ready to sacrifice votes for a person who has Gandhi in his name. While BJP is telling about action against Varun, naturally, doubts arise.
Will the party apologise for all communal violence that they have triggered in many parts of the country? Will they apologise to innocent Muslims and Christians they have targeted for their political gains? Will they apologise for Babri Masjid demolition, Godhra and Khandamal?
Will they end hate campaign terming Muslims as terrorists? Are they able to crack the whip against their own allies like Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or the latest of all Muthalik’s Rama Sena.
While BJP was trying to remove the stain Varun has made, party general secretary Arun Jaitley and president Rajnath Singh are seen in a serious rift over Sudanshu Mittal, a poll co-ordinator Rajnath has appointed without consulting party general secretary for the north-eastern states.
But schism is seen not in BJP alone. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is also trying to wriggle out of an issue its stronghold southern state Kerala is facing for the last one month.
Kerala’s CPI-M led Left Democratic Front (LDF) is accused of big brother attitude from its allies. Marxists in Kerala with no shame quarrel over seats out in the open with allies. Remember, the Marxist party is known for its discipline.
Schism between political parties is healthy and natural. But in Kerala, it is seen between members within CPI-M itself. The ugly scenario has gone beyond all limits giving ample opportunity for everyone to laugh at the party and its warring general secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.
May be another big Indian tamasha will come from newly formed non-Congress, non-BJP alliance called the Third Front. Because the old adage says too many cooks spoil the broth.
An initiative of Left Front, the coalition has won the support of other nine regional parties namely Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Forward Bloc (FB), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK).
While the ruling Sonia Gandhi-led Congress party and main opposition BJP make fun of the new alliance as a sham, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat is confident of assuming power in Delhi. If the Mayawati-led BSP could sweep the seats in the decisive northern state Uttar Pradesh, Karat’s dream may come true. But all depends on Mayawati’s political manouvre. And we have to wait and see whether Third Front makes any sense till the elections are over.
Comparing to other parties, dissident voices are heard little in the grand old Congress party. Kudos to party chairperson Sonia Gandhi! Even before the elections were announced she could bring together warring factions and rebels within the party. And so Congress broke its jinx of being a party with multiple voices.
Till the last general election (2004 Lok Sabha poll) schism was an identity of Congress. But now Congress seems organised and marching ahead for the polls with a fixed strategy under the leadership of Sonia. However, till the country goes for first phase of elections on April 16, its billion population is smitten with politicians’ attention grabbing techniques which gives them a true fun time, at no cost.