Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The UPA confidence vote and Mayawati

For the past several days, ever since the UPA Government announced that a trust vote will happen on the 22nd, there has been an incredible amount of horse-trading ongoing to secure support. Everybody knows how Amar Singh ran circles around Shri Karat of the going-into-decline Left and left it in a position whereby it now has no influence and no leverage over the policies of the Government. So, one can assume that Amar Singh did what he could to win over rival MP's, while Mulayam Singh led the effort to ensure that the MP's of the Samajwadi Party did not bolt (seeing the final result where the Congress won it fairly comfortably, one can assume that all the efforts were successful). Who is left with egg on their faces ? Both the BJP that staked a lot of its political power on this no-confidence motion, and the Left, which went from a position where it was guiding the hands of power (a remote-control if you may) to a position where it does not count for anything more for the moment.
Given the low profile that Uttar Pradesh has played in the past few years in terms of a Government at the center, it was surprising that politicians from the state played such a key role. Mayawati was like the magnet, drawing in the likes of defectors from the SP, from the Congress, pulling in Ajit Singh (will the Government now rename the Chaudhury Charan Singh Airport back to another name now that Ajit Singh did not support the Congress ?).
There were a number of people who played up to her ego, calling her a future Prime Minister. Maybe it was a combination of this ego-massaging, a feeling that she is the future, as well as a call to the Dalit community all over the country to support her that she made comments such as these:

Undeterred by the outcome of the trust vote, BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday alleged the UPA and as well as the NDA of "conspiring" to prevent her from becoming the country's prime minister. Talking to media soon after the UPA won the trust vote in the Lok Sabha, the Uttar Pradesh CM said, "UPA's victory is not due to their policies but a well thought-out political conspiracy by both the NDA and the UPA to check the BSP and prevent the daughter of a Dalit from becoming the prime minister of the country."
Mayawati claimed that in the last week, her party has emerged as the fulcrum of national politics. "The Left also sees merit and finds that when BSP has given such good governance in the largest state of the country, it can be tried at the national level," she added. "What BSP hoped to achieve in the next 6-7 years, it has managed to do in 6-7 days," she said, referring to the UNPA and her new positioning in national politics.

These are the kind of politics that are abhorrent, that drive wedges in an already divided country. So far the BSP, for all the money-making practices of its leader, has been accepted as a platform that shows oppressed Dalits that they can also lead and have power; however, when somebody starts indulging in such negative politics, it has a major effect on their credibility.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:27 AM