Thursday, January 21, 2016

Realignment in the air?

The Bihar poll results have re-germinated the seeds of ‘grand alliance’ for the umpteenth time. But what is the reality? Ironically, the party most irrelevant in Bihar (Congress) also benefitted the most from the ‘grand alliance’. But that happy accident is not likely to happen again, at least not by design. 

Recently, a pack of non-BJP leaders came together and issued a joint call to unite non-BJP forces. Looking at the substantial (and increasing) irrelevance of many of the participants, it would be tempting to write this off as just another sound made to prove that they are alive. But in poll-bound Bengal, a political miracle seems to be in the offing. Congress and the Left parties have been increasingly making noises about coming together. This article gives a very good peek at the background of such talks. Coming together to uproot the reigning power is understandable. But when you have to come together to turn a severe drubbing to a relatively bearable drubbing, you are in deep trouble. 

Each state has its own quirks and special variables. Tamil Nadu doesn’t offer much hope for any ‘grand alliance’ either; DMK, ADMK, Vijaykanth’s DMDK and PMK seem to occupy pretty much all the available political space. Congress, BJP and the left parties will have to find someone from this quartet who is willing to take them on board. BJP is not as untouchable there as in Bihar, so rallying up non-BJP forces won’t have much impact there. 

In Assam, Modi has gone in the ‘campaign’ mode already, and has bagged one alliance partner, Bodo People’s Front (BPF). BPF was a Congress ally for a decade. On the whole, no ‘grand alliance’ seems to be in the making there. Having said that, it would be interesting to watch AUDF.

In Kerala, BJP is too small and needs alliance partners. But Congress and Left are and will be bitter rivals. So no ‘grand alliance’ there either. 

In Uttar Pradesh, the political situation is too fluid to state anything with conviction. One factor is certain – Mayawati will hold the key because of her loyal voter base. After all, she has been in alliance with each of the remaining three – Congress, BJP and SP – at some point of time or the other. And her voter base dutifully follows her. So, if she finds the magic number, which when added to her voter base would unlock the doors to the power, she will be in. Her rivals will also be hell bent upon adding up the numbers to swing the chair their way. And her rivals and allies are still not defined. 

In short, the Bihar experiment is not as easily replicable in other states, and more importantly, at the national level, as the non-BJP parties would like to believe.

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