Friday, November 13, 2009

India goes unipolar, alas!

What happened to the world a generation ago is happening to India now. When the Soviet Union collapsed, America became the world’s only policeman and George Bush put that status to diabolic use. With the BJP and the Communists writing their own death warrants, the Congress is becoming the choiceless face of a unipolar India. The odious potential of this can be seen in the party spokesman’s proclamation that the Congress triumphed in the latest bye-elections due solely and wholly to Rahul Gandhi’s “vision”. The spokesman did not say that Typhoon Phyan spared Mumbai because of the foresight and perspicacity of Rahulji. For this mercy, much thanks.

Of course Rahul Gandhi is an asset to the Congress. He has gained experience and does not make vapid statements of the kind that marked his early days. But to see him as the sole depository of wisdom is to belittle the Congress and, worse, to signal a new phase of unrestricted, all-consuming sycophancy.

Film star Raj Babbar won in Firozabad because of (a) his star appeal and (b) people’s disgust at Mulayam Singh fielding his son first and this time the son’s raw, inexperienced wife – as though Firozabad was a private fiefdom and the voters his vassals. To ignore these crucial factors and attribute the Congress win there to the “Rahul factor” is self-deception. Where was the Rahul factor in the nine out of eleven seats that Mayawati won despite Rahul’s systematic campaign against her in recent months?

Mayawati will remain a bubble for a few more years. But even she must have realised by now that she has no hope in hell outside UP despite the disbursement of vast sums of money. In Maharashtra this time she contested in 281 seats – and lost the deposit in 252. Not that Maharashtra’s well-wishers have reasons to rejoice. For the MNS ( Maharashtra Nava-rowdi Sena) has won some seats and already demonstrated how they plan to hold the state to ransom.

Like the Reddys are holding Karnataka to ransom. The cabinet, the civil service, the police force and the party high command have all been brought under the thumb of one family which makes no bones about its intentions to milk this once-proud state for its private profit. This is the most lurid evidence yet of the decline and fall of the BJP. With “new generation” leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley succumbing to the pulls of money power, there is no likelihood of the BJP finding a viable identity of its own in the foreseeable future.

The most disappointing – and the least surprising – of political collapses is the CPM’s. Not a single seat won in West Bengal. Not a single seat won in Kerala. What a fall for a party built on the dreams of the masses. Yet it surprises no one because the party of the proletariat had become the party of five-star leaders. The Bengal leaders at least accepted their defeat and said they would try to correct their ways. The Kerala leaders are justifying themselves by saying that the percentage of their votes had gone up and that anyway it was all the fault of an abominable media conspiracy.

A new left force is what the hapless electorate of India badly needs. The first requirement for such a turn-around is the resignation of failed leaders like Prakash Karat, Buddhadev Bhattacharya and Pinarayi Vijayan. Buddha perhaps may be willing to leave. The other two won’t. So the CPM will go down further in the days ahead. Which is another way of admitting that Rahulji will remain the vision for India. Watch for the party spokesman’s take when Typhoon Phyan comes our way next time.