By Santosh Bhartiya
When the Congress was at the helm of affairs in Delhi and in many other states, a new theory, woven around political parties left at the margin of power, had emerged. The theory was called anti-Congressism, with Dr. Rammanohar Lohia being its chief proponent. It gives rise to a coalition-forming method to take on the Congress in elections. In Uttar Pradesh the first Sanyukt Vidhayak Dal government was formed under this arrangement. Indeed, ideological incongruities amongst the parties supporting anti-Congressism were evident. However, the first grand experiment conducted when, in 1977, the Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi brought the opposition – Leftists as well as Rightists – together. People supported them and the first non-Congress government came into power in Delhi led by Morarji Desai. Vishwanath Pratap Singh executed the second experiment of anti-Congressism, and formed his government in 1989 by bringing the Leftist, the Rightist and the Centrist on anti-Congress plank together.
This gave rise to a new trend in politics – communalism started dominating politics and the BJP started emerging stronger. The first BJP government at the Centre was formed under the leadership of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayeee, which included people who, at the same time, were staunch supporters of anti-Congressism and staunch opponents of communalism. Anyway, Vajpayee formed his government three times. Thereafter the Congress came to power, and in 2014 under the leader Narendra Modi the BJP regain power in Delhi this time with full majority. Thus began a new theory of anti-BJPism. At the heart of this theory was the fact that the BJP and its leader Narendra Modi were looking invincible in foreseeable future, therefore a non-BJP alliance was necessary and discussion on this line gained momentum. In Bihar, Congress joined forces with Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad alliance and they defeated the BJP.
In the name of anti-BJPism a meeting of all prominent opposition leaders was held at Mulayam Singh Yadav’s residence in Delhi, and they decided to form a new political party. But that political party could not see the light of the day because, as the rumour has it, the BJP leader Amit Shah with help of an influential Samajwadi Party leader forestalled the initiative. In Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections the experiment of anti-BJPism was not applied in full measure because Samajwadi Party refused to do so. For the Samajwadi Party thought that if it takes all the parties onboard, something should be given to everyone. Hence, it would be prudent to strike a deal with the Congress only.
However, this marks the end of thirty-year-old politics of the Samajwadi Party. Mulayam Singh Yadav has been isolated and his son Akhilesh Yadav tore apart his father’s policies. He is running his campaign and making seat arrangements with the Congress. He is not only trumpeting to form coalition government in Uttar Pradesh but also proclaiming that the alliance will remain intact in general elections as well. Perhaps Mulayam Singh is seeing the burning pyre of his politics with his own eyes.
In fact, this whole theory needs to be revisited at least once. The way ideological differences and similarities of Congress, RJD and JD-U were not discussed before forging alliance in Bihar. Similarly, the ideological differences and similarities of Congress and the Samajwadi Party were deliberate upon before forging an alliance in Uttar Pradesh. The basic principle of these alliances was the idea of power and getting share in power. Other than this there was no principle.
On the other hand, the BJP also forged alliances under the umbrella of NDA, which includes political parties whose ideological underpinnings cannot be reconciled with that of basic principles of the BJP. In addition to the basic policy of the religion-based politics, the BJP call for Uniform Civil Code and abolition of Article 370 which gives special power to Jammu-Kashmir. It has become irrelevant whether the BJP or its opposition functioning on their respective ideologies or not. Now they have one and only one ideology or principle and that is gaining power.
This makes the contradiction of development apparent, which includes 70 percent of India which lives in villages, which is poor and deprived and which probably never be able to get its share in the development of the country. Earlier the theoretical foundation of socialism was as follows: deprived section, Dalits, backwards, poor and women should get their share from the wealth of the country, and the leftover should be handed to the other sections. Leftists were also of the same opinion, but not anymore. In forging coalitions common minimum program has overtaken the ideological congruence. This has caused poverty and inequality to grow, malnutrition in villages to rise and education to hit the dead end or in another words being handed over to the corporate. Farming sector is being pledged to foreign powers. Even health sector is being given to the corporate. Things like education and health are beyond the reach of poor. Previously was no dearth of means of their death, and now some more have been added to that.
Now we must consider as proven fact that commitment towards principles and ideology, and priorities of poor, youth, backward and Dalits do not matter; the only thing that matters is power. For the sake of power an alliance is being formed with the BJP by those who do not conform BJP’s basic ideology. Similarly, there is a big gap between the fundamental ideology congress and of those who are forging alliance with the Congress.
I consider both kinds of politics, the politics of opportunism. In my view there should be a new kind of politics, in which if a coalition is imperative then all concern parties should merge together. For me coalition means ideological affinities. And then every party should put forth its policies before the people of a state or the country and explains why its policies need to be supported and why these policies are the best?
But whenever a coalition comes into play the matter of public interest vanishes in the thin air and the forces that struggle for the interest of people got exhausted. In my view there should be a politics opposite to what is being practiced today. I do not known whether that politics is feasible in recent time or not, still I wish to put my intent before the people. As long as a politics based on principles, ideas and dedication towards the poor is not initiated, the possibility of the strong presence of the ideas that are against coalition and democracy will remain intact. Now whether to stop it or not and what should be way forward, it is to be decided by those who are in politics. But today’s politics and coalition are at least not in favor of the poor or democracy in the country. Nor is it intends to speak for the poor.
(The author is Editor in Chief of Chauthi Duniya weekly. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)