Sunday, June 26, 2016

Indian Coalition Politics 2.0

Coalition politics has not only taken roots, but it has also ‘matured’ and become completely homogeneous with Indian polity. One good example can be seen in Maharashtra, and a bit later, will be seen in other states. In Maharashtra, elections of ten major Municipal Councils, including Mumbai, will take place in February 2017. The power partners, BJP & SS have started providing hilarious entertainment to public at large. SS spokesperson called the ‘BJP’ government “Worse Than Nizam”. Of course, nobody can accuse Sanjay Raut of possessing intelligence. He has proved his worth to his master in some obscure way, hence he has been running the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ in an unfettered manner. So far, BJP used to ignore such barbs. Primarily because BJP, till a couple of years ago, was the ‘junior’ partner in the alliance.

But now the BJP spokesperson came up with an equally senseless rejoinder, asking Raut, ‘when are you taking a divorce’, and comparing Uddhav Thakre with Asrani’s character (jailer) in SholaySS of course came up with some rejoinder. But the last has not been said yet. And never will be. Because there is more to this seemingly frivolous banter. The last year’s assembly elections have given a new meaning to ‘coalition’ in politics. Fight separately and come together later. This model of course was conceived by the great Sharad Pawar, when he broke away from Congress to start his own party. Within months, he joined hands with Congress, of course only to keep the ‘secular forces together’.

BJP and SS have gone one step up. Both the parties realized after the Maharashtra assembly results that they couldn’t have achieved the numbers (BJP jumped from 46 to 122 and SS from 45 to 63), had they fought together. Of course this is only part of the picture. The other part was completed by Sharad Pawar by breaking the Congress-NCP alliance immediately after the BJP-SS breakup was announced.

In a four cornered contest (the fifth corner of MNS wasn’t really a corner, it was an illusion of a corner), winning suddenly becomes a game of fewer numbers. Theoretically, if there are two major parties, then the winner will have to get at least 35 to 40% of polled votes, generously considering the numbers eaten up by minor spoilsports.  In a four or five cornered contest, this magic number drastically reduces. And if you have a master advertiser leading your campaign, winning becomes that much easier. The beauty is, nobody can stop you from coming together post-results. It also gives enough space for the political aspirations of your workers. In a coalition, there is always heartburn over seats. And the vote transfer doesn’t always happen as well as it is supposed to happen. Furthermore, you can distance yourself from the decisions of your own government, citing ‘coalition compulsions’. So, in the coming days, keep a lookout for more ‘entertainment’, which will be independent of what happens after the elections.

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