Who is Caesar’s wife here?

With just under a year to go to the Lok Sabha polls, I shudder to think at the mish-mash India is faced with if neither the Congress nor the BJP were to get a majority – or at least emerge as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha.

Sharad Pawar was right in advising the Congress not to celebrate its victory in Karnataka too soon, though I cannot help but suspect that even he was shocked at the Congress sweep – perhaps he had been expecting more damage to the Congress by his two friends in that state, old pal HD Deve Gowda and new found friend BS Yedyurappa who is now all set to be part of the third front at the head of which Pawar hopes to become prime minister one day.

Pawar was said to have advised Yedyurappa through the Karnataka polls on how to win his seats and damage the mother party as he had done in 1999 to the Congress in Maharashtra.

But given the results, I do not believe Yeddy is as much a winning force as he had thought he would be before the assembly results.

So if the BJP is set to lose Karnataka in 2014 and the Congress Andhra Pradesh, where do the two main parties get their numbers from and make it to government at the Centre?

I believe even regional outfits like the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress might not do as well in their respective states next year for obvious reasons and much as Narendra Modi is being touted as the saviour of the future, his state has only 26 seats — given the Karnataka experience he seems to not wash at all with people outside of Gujarat.

The BJP got a drubbing in all the areas where Modi campaigned even after those constituencies were chosen carefully as safe seats for the BJP where Modi could campaign without damaging his reputation or charisma.

A friend who knows how much I fear a polarising and communal personality taking centre stage in India laughed as he saw the Karnataka results pouring in and told me he was convinced the more Modi is projected as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate the better it would be for secular forces in the country and when it came to a choice between two secular parties people would indeed opt for the one that stood a better chance at making t it to the government as they have done in the southern state.

But if that is true – and that could only mean another victory for the Congress, what of all the scams and scandals the various ministers seem to be involved in and seem to be looting the nation with impunity? Do we really want more of the same?

But then, as my friend said, the real and root cause of all the Congress’s problems seems to be the Prime Minister – of course, an honourable man but there is no better description of him today than to equate him with Dhritrashtra.

Dr Sngh’s tenure worked very well in the first term but now hos niceness seems to translate only into inaction or weakness.

I am genuinely beginning to believe that Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh did not shoot an arrow in to empty air when he spoke of dual power centres being detrimental to both the government and the party.

Sometimes one can be too nice by far and when Sonia Gandhi seemed to have laid down the law to the Prime Minister, union railways minister Pawan Bansal did have to see the writing on the wall and go home.

Why it took so long I cannot fathom because usually the Congress does not wait for court verdicts before kicking out people for allegations of corruption – starting with Abdul Rehman Antulay in the 1980s to Ashok Chavan more recently in Maharashtra with Natwar Singh, Shashi Tharoor and Suresh Kalmadi thrown in between (though that does not seem t stop anyone much and some are rehabilitated soon enough).

The saffron parties are no better given the Karnataka experience and the fact that Modi in Gujarat is petrified of having a proper and independent Lokayikta appointed in his state; I had believed that there were only two persons on government — Dr Singh and Mamata Banerjee — who were clean as a whistle.

Now Dr Singh seems to be protecting the corrupt and with the chit fund scam tainting Mamata and her Trinamool Congress here do we look for alternatives?

To paraphrase the famous s adage, governments seem to corrupt and if we do not want coalition governments, will absolute majority corrupt absolutely? Is a mish-mash then the better option?

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