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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 108

Games our politicians play

By M. Rama Rao - Syndicate Features

If wishes are horses, the Third Front of some eight regional parties out of power and out of reckoning at the national level should be making their presence felt in the Hastinapuri in under a fortnight. What will they do with a secretariat? That is not a question before them. What they see is an urgency to put their best foot forward to be reckoned as a player. The secretariat is being projected as the short cut to political power nirvana.

So over the next fortnight, we will see hordes of regional players descending on Delhi, scout for a place to put up the name plate of the front and hold a housewarming afterwards. Chandrababu Naidu, the Telugu Desam chief, had set the ball rolling when he was in the capital in connection with the birth anniversary celebrations of Haryana’s Tau, Devi Lal, at Ambala, a cantonment town on the way from Delhi to Amritsar. The occasion provided a backdrop for informal confabulations between Babu, the host, Chautala, who like him is sulking unable to reconcile to the electoral reverses his Indian National Lok Dal had suffered at the hands of the Congress, and the Mulayam-Amar Singh duo of Samajwadi party.

Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference also flew into Ambala to join the celebrations. He did not stay for the dialogue though. There is reason for this. Farooq wants to return to state politics. In Delhi, where he is a member of the Rajya Sabha, he finds himself out of depth. He is still unclear on the politics he should pursue even though he loves to wear his secular hat prominently.

Given an opportunity, he would like to close ranks with the Congress. On its part the Congress also would like to live with Farooq. It knows the alliance with PDP of father - daughter combine Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehabooba Mufti is not even a marriage of convenience. PDP has been calling the shots right from day one and has been acutely embarrassing the Congress.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad would like to go down as the Mr Clean of Kashmir. But he is prevented from taking action against the corrupt from the ranks of PDP. The other day he asked for the resignation of a PDP Minister. Within hours, Azad pocketed his pride; with a straight face told the media that he had never sought the resignation in the first place.

Azad and Farooq are old friends and therefore they will have no problem to cement an alliance. If they are not pursuing the alliance talk it is because of the bitter experience National Conference leader had during the Rajiv period. The tie –up with the Congress then had cost him dearly.

In Kashmir politics, any party can survive by not being close to the party in Delhi but by appearing to be at logger heads with the Delhi sultans. Farooq has realised this truism very late. Because, after his disastrous alliance with Rajiv, he had played ball with Vajpayee-Advani led BJP as a part of his survival politics. And thus allowed the ground slip from under his feet. His loss was PDP’s gain. The point is Farooq politics are unchartered and hence his flying visit to be seen in the company of Babu-Chautala-Mulayam.

Jaya Memsaheb is also facing the Farooq dilemma in a manner of speaking. She wants to go with the Third Front but is unsure of their brand’s viability. Indian politics have all along been, more so now, a two-legged race. Others are camp followers of either Congress or the BJP.

These days Mayawati is doing her damnest best to get out of the shadows of the either of the two biggies for a place of her own under the Delhi sun. Success will not come her way in the short term. And she knows; that is the reason why she grandly declares from every conceivable platform that for her what matters is power and nothing else. She must be congratulated for the dexterity she displays from moving from one crutch to the other without losing her identity – from Congress to the BJP and the SP to the BJP again.

Jaya ‘amma’ is not cut in the Maya ‘behen’ mould. Hence her difficulty; also she is conditioned by the dictates of Dravidian politics. Probably she likes to go with the BJP, which is a safe bet since the Hindutva party is desperate for a toe-hold in Tamilnadu. She knows something the saffron outfit is unwilling to acknowledge publicly. Ramsethu is not an issue of religious symbolism in Tamilnadu. It is so outside the state in the so called Aryavarta, or what we popularly call the cow belt.

Jaya knows this more than anyone else. When she got the Seers of Kanchi Kamakoti jailed, protests took place in Delhi and Houston. Not in Madurai or Chennai.

Her politics are Muthavel Karunanidhi centric. Her alliance with the BJP or the Third Front will depend on the trade off she can hope to work out. BJP disappointed her when she was their ally during the NDA rule by refusing to proceed against DMK.

- Syndicate Features -

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