A handshake made in Ludhiana
Let’s talk this week about India and its awesome festival of democracy. For nearly a month now, airwaves on the Attari side of Indo-Pak border have been clogged with averments, claims and individual assertions by a Party A or a Coalition B of being fairer than its rivals. The UPA told us as to why it must be re-elected, the NDA dwelt on the imperative of change and the Left-inspired Third Front drove home its importance in a sudden death play-off. Certain pre-conditions and demands on which some bit—and better— players predicated their post-poll loyalties seemed outlandish. I read between the lines and squeezed some political meaning out of them. Here it goes…
Mulayam Singh’s demand for Mayawati’s dismissal: The Samajwadi Party boss wants quick elections to the UP Assembly. He wants the CM sacked forthwith to leave as little time as possible for the Congress and the BJP to expand their influence in the State where they are believed to be on a comeback trail. The quid pro quo also forces a choice on the Left between the SP and the BSP in the post-election scenario.
Prakash Karat soft on Congress before the last phase of polling: Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool has impressive presence in constituencies headed for voting on May 13. The CPM leader has timed his comments to drive a wedge on the ground between the Congress-Trinamool workers. The Marxists’ propaganda is buttressed also by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul’s very conspicuous absence from the final stages of the West Bengal campaign.
A handshake made in Ludhiana: The Punjab city is known for its imitation goods. So, was Nitish Kumar’s handshake with Narendra Modi at an NDA rally fake or real? Ask Lalu Yadav and he’d accuse the Bihar CM of being a Hindutva fellow traveller since his days as Rail Mantri. Nitish says he posed out of courtesy with Modi who piled on him the moment they were face-to-face on the stage. Be that as it may, for Nitish it might turn to be a case of a momentary mistake causing a lifetime’s regret.
Telangana protagonist Chandrashekhar Rao’s turnaround: The TRS maverick went for a “heads I win and tails you lose” deal while showing up at NDA’s Ludhiana meeting without breaking ties with the Third Front in Andhra. The loss of an ally even before the results are out is a blow nevertheless for the Left. If the Third Front withers that fast, the Marxists might again have to play the Congress’s fairy godmother to pre-empt a saffron takeover.