Delhi/India: Governments of Touchables?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
03 January 2014 15:28 IST

Two major political events happened on January 2, in Delhi, the national capital and Bengaluru, the IT capital of India. Aam Aadmi Party government won the trust vote, with the support of the corrupt Congress in Delhi. And S Yedurappa, who had to resign as the chief minister on corruption charges, staged a homecoming to the Bharatiya Janata Party, in Karnataka.

Both the elections, held in 2013 with a gap of seven months, are significant. In Karnataka, in 2008 election, Yedurappa had rode the BJP (110 seats) to the seat of power with a sweeping victory over the Congress (80), in a 224-member House. Much before the Assembly term ended, BJP’s icon of South India – Yedurappa - had to resign due to corruption charges in an illegal mining scam, thanks to Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde. The May 2013 Assembly election brought the Congress back to power with 122 seats, reducing the BJP to mere 40. Yedurappa, who had split from the BJP to form Karnataka Janata Party, was pushed down to miserable 6. Within seven months, Yedurappa is back to the BJP, proving a point that corrupt are not untouchables to the saffron brigade.

Delhi was the bastion of the Congress for 15 long years, with Sheila Dixit as the chief minister. With a similar anti-incumbency factor and corrupt image the Congress has developed through its own deeds, the BJP (with Shiromani Akali Dal) was hoping to swing back to power. But the Aam Aadmi stole their dream. In spite of the aura of Narendra Modi, the saffron flag got stuck at 32, falling short of only 4, in the 70-member House. While rightly humiliating the Congress to mere 8, the Delhiwallahs favoured the youngest and the cleanest, the Aam Aadmi Party, with 28 seats.  Only two seats went to JD (U) and an independent. The saffron brigade could not get the magic four. Arwind Kejriwal, the new Delhi CM and a new hope for the country, won the trust vote yesterday, with the ‘outside’ support of the Congress, the JD (U) and the independent. The BJP was isolated.

The Congress had no choice but to offer unconditional support to AAP. In fact, AAP put some conditions for taking Congress support. Normally, conditions are laid down by those who support the coalition government. But AAP was firm and the ‘supporters’ surrendered. It happened for the first time in the political history of India. The scenario of opportunistic politics change upside down. The AAP has even ‘assured’ the Congress to bring Janlokpal bill and try all the corrupt Congressmen while also probing the CWG scam. It is obvious that the Congress will withdraw its support once AAP does it, but may not happen at least till Lok Sabha poll, which may take place in April or May.

But the analysis need to go beyond this, especially when neither the Congress nor the BJP is ‘clean.’ The corrupt Congress leaders have reservations over supporting AAP. And the BJP has embraced corrupt Yedurappa even before he is acquitted from the corruption charges. He had to quit CM’s post at the BJP leadership‘s insistence. The situation has not changed since, but the ‘corrupt’ ex-CM is back in the party fold, to ‘fight’ the corrupt Congress. It proves the point AAP leaders keep making – both the Congress and the BJP are equally corrupt.

Even in such a situation, the AAP however does not mind taking support from the Congress; but not from the BJP. Why? Obviously because of the communal image the BJP, and especially Narendra Modi, has. Even JD (U), which was part of the BJP-led NDA, stayed away from the BJP in Delhi. Will this be replicated if similar situation arises after the Lok Sabha poll? Will it be advantage Congress rather than advantage BJP if it turns out to be hung Parliament? The Congress may not perform, as it did not in Delhi or other states, but will the BJP gain out of it? Or will the BJP, and especially Modi, continue to be the ‘untouchable’ if it could not cross 200? In the final analysis, will it be the Government of Touchables, a la Delhi? Especially if AAP damages chances of the BJP all over India, replicating Delhi?

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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I do not see AAP will have wider impact across the nation. At present it is propelled by cryogenic fuel of imagination. Yes, supporters of all the political parties have realised that their established parties are corrupt. They may use AAP as a stick to discipline them in some pockets. That does not mean they would hand over a "mohalla" based party the reins of India. We should not forget AAP is of mohalla, by mohalla and for mohalla. Secondly it is not a party but group of independent individuals. They are free lancers and not professional politicians. They may be missionary politicians. Let us not fancy too much about these AAP else it can become AAPATTI meaning danger.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 13 th January 2014 12:01

 

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