Elections in the states
Does development gets any attention?
Or it is all votebank politics, big money and violation of election code of conduct? Everyone, even the media, is talking about UP elections outcome. It is the make and break moment for Rahul Gandhi, they say.
Is it all then about one person, one party and one state?
UP is, of course, the battle ground. There are four parties and the four are nationally important. The parties invariably invite comparison with other similar parties and personalities. Punjab is an example of dynastic politics totally engulfing the entire state, the Badal family dominates and so too the Amarendra Singh’ royal tag encompasses the whole clans across many families. Punjab is known to the outside states as a very prosperous state with high agri production and also much enterprise.
But the sort of dynastic politics practised by the Badal family, it is now seen as desperately caught in high unemployment, 37 per cent rise in unemployment and also the flight of nearly 900 hundred industrial factories to nearby Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat. This is shocking news for a distant state like TN where too you see the rise in unemployment and also the similar unemployment allowance for unemployed youth.
Unemployed youth in Punjab? Unemployment allowance of Rs.1,000 per month in Punjab?
Yes, this is unbelievable and shocking indeed.
There is also allegations of corruption and bad governance.
Corrupt politics in Punjab? Bad governance? Again it looks other states to fall into the same pattern. Again, we can see the same pattern in TN, if not in other states too.
The point is that development, good governance and also safeguards against corrupt politics are also missing if not totally neglected?
The same sort of neglect of good governance, resort to caste and communal politics and also taking extreme positions of some sensitive issues, be it the anti-Sikh riots of 1984,as in Punjab or anti- or pro-LTTe or chauvinistic issues have come to the surface.
Lately, as in UP, it is blatant resort of violation of Election Code of conduct or use of big money, why even terror tactics, why event threat of President’s rule, if the Congress is not voted back to power are all signs of the times.
In this atmosphere of highly charged environment where is the scope for long-term thinking or some sober approach to realities.
The realities of politics are about to rub in very soon after the dust dies down.
UP also raises the question whether the Congress can come back to power on the sort of propaganda and tactics adopted by the Congress.
A cool-headed analysis of the past history shows that after 1967 the Congress never came back to power in the UP.
In the 1990s it was always the non-Congress and BSP and SP were the contenders for power in the state.
Given the sort of divide in UP, it would continue to be a caste based divide and it would continue to be a corruption-driven politics that can survive in the absence of any other radical change.
As between now and before, it is the duo, Akilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi.
After March 6th,the results might show whether Rahul Gandhi would get the legitimacy and credibility to walk into 7,Race Course Road as the official occupant .
Otherwise, as M.J.Akbar, the veteran journalist notes that instead of the duopoly of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi it might be a triumvirate. Rahul Gandhi might still continue to play a role. Age is on his side.
Then, in politics, it is not all about development and progress?
Yes, it looks like that also increasingly.
Who knows the coming Presidential elections the Congress could mismanage the elections and might be lost for the Congress. Then what happens?
The government might fall and new general elections might engage out attention.
Yes, the way the Congress is in desperation to anoint Rahul Gandhi(it is another question whether he willingly enters the Prime Ministerial race or opts out. The latter possibility is also possible given his visage and his pronouncements, he is less articulate than Akilesh Yadav, and we have to say).
Of course all this speculation might go wrong if Mayawati comes back once again.
This too is a possible scenario. Then, the very same game might start. Megalomania and the same wasteful expenditure that is becoming more and more the norm in some of the states.
So, there is no definite clue to the future of the question: development vs. caste and populist politics.
Of course, the bad examples are too many to talk of the good examples. West Bengal is also another example.
While there are some good examples like Bihar, Odisha, MP and even Chhattisgarh. Even a state like Kerala with its own positive features is a well-governed state with its good press, education and grown political awareness.
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