Ever since the coalition politics has come to stay in India, politicians have been busy in aligning or realigning themselves with each other with a singular objective of capturing or retaining power. This article analyses some of the emerging trends.
The Bharatiya Janata Party which was in dumps until recently was buoyed with its electoral gains in Gujarat and Himachalpradesh has been looking for ways and means to retain its victory and consolidate it further with an aim to capture power in the centre. With this objective in mind it has announced Mr.L.K.Advani as the country’s Prime ministerial candidate if it were voted to power. With a view to give a further credibility to this move, the National Democratic Alliance which met on Tuesday endorsed the choice of Mr.L.K.Advani. The endorsement was significant because of the unanimity in the choice by as many as nine-chief Ministers and tacit approval of Mr.A.B.Vajpayee. It also signaled that he would be playing only an advisory role and thus settling the succession issue once and for all.
The meet also brought into focus the absence of Trinamool Congress which is still presumed to be an ally of NDA. The statement of Ms.Sushma Swaraj, a senior leader of the Party that only time would tell whether Trinamool Congress is still in the NDA, was ambivalent enough to keep the doors open. The meeting of the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr.Narendra Modi with Ms.Jayalalitha, the supremo of the All India Anna D.M.K. in Tamilnadu has given enough indications that an alignment of both the parties at least on a national level was imminent. This is especially so because of the fact that MsJayalalita has parted ways with the United National Party Alliance (UNPA).
If this is the trend with the major Opposition Party, the statements that have been made by both the Communist Parties from time to time are in the nature of showing their unhappiness with the UPA of which they are still the allies but yet critics. They have been talking of forging a secular and democratic alternative to both the Congress and the BJP. According to Mr.Prakash karat, the General Secretary of communist Party of India (Marxists), the main planks of the third front would be anti communal, pro people and independent foreign policy. This front is broadly expected to comprise of both the Communist Parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Telugu Desam Party (UNPA) and some other smaller parties. For all the tall statements made by Mr.Prakash Karat and his meeting of the leaders of UNPA every now and then, it is not clear as to how such a third-front with differing ideologies, if at all it emerges,would stand the test of time. For example, Chandrababu Naidu, a constituent of the UNPA is known for his pro-policy in opening up the economy for foreign investment, the Communist Party has been vocal in its opposition for blindly opening up the economy. It is also not clear as to who would be the common leader of such a front and whether this leader would have a national clout. For all these reasons, the emergence of a third-front especially on a pre-electoral basis is a very remote possibility.
With the major parties polarized, the situation is none too happy for the ruling Indian National Congress. With Uttarpradesh far out of reach, a diminishing clout of Mr.Lallu Prasad Yadav in Bihar and with a West Bengal never in its side, the choices before the Congress Party appear to be very limited. It has to solely depend on Tamilnadu and Andhrapradesh and not knowing which way the Karnataka would go. Even in Tamilnadu whose Chief minister’s unstinted support it can rest for the present, the future may not be that rosy, for even Dr.Karunanidhi is not expected to repeat his record performance of winning all the Parliamentary constituencies in the coming General Election as he had done in the past.
From the above facts, in a limited way, it appears for the present, Bharatiya Janata party appears to be better placed than its opponents. However, the limitation of the Party is its poor base in the South and inability to retain the power in Karnataka. But given the fact that the voices of dissent from its allies is less than that of the other side, still it may be a favored alternative to the Congress.