Politics of opportunism in ‘post-ideology phase’

Kanshi Ram was ahead of his times, these days all parties prefer short cuts to power

ajay

Ajay Singh | March 18, 2015


#political parties   #bjp   #bsp   #national conference   #nc   #pdp   #kanshi ram   #nitish kumar   #amit shah   #kejriwal  


In the mid-1990s when BSP chief Kanshi Ram was not diffident about making “opportunism” his political ideology, it was frowned upon by media and mainstream politicians. However, two decades later a certain academic-turned-politician has discovered a euphemism for this and called it the post-ideology phase of Indian politics.

We have been celebrating this phase all over the country. Call it opportunism if you want to wear the tag of being an outdated, archaic fossil in your thought, the new trend can easily find its justification. Take the case of Omar Abdullah who took a potshot at the PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir while having a secret meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah to forge a coalition at the same time. This revelation was hardly startling given the Abdullah family’s penchant to stick to power.

For Abdullah, the BJP is communal and fascist so long as it does not align with him. The moment the BJP acquires enough strength to become a ladder to power in Jammu and Kashmir, it is acceptable to both the NC and the PDP. Similarly, the party which had been shouting from the rooftop all these years that Article 370 is non-negotiable is now amenable to dilute its stance to be in power. Ideology is conveniently expendable at the altar of politics.

More recently, this was evident in Bihar when chief minister Nitish Kumar moved the trust vote in the state assembly. Nearly a dozen JD(U) legislators who had pitched strongly for dalit chief minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi ostensibly for the cause of social underdogs voted for Kumar in order to save their position as legislators for six months. Since the JD(U) issued a whip to make rebels fall in line, they meekly surrendered as defiance would have invoked provisions of the anti-defection law. Interestingly, all of them, immediately after voting for Kumar, came out and criticised the chief minister for working against the interests of the state and downtrodden. Why did they vote, then? The obvious answer is to save their jobs.

That ideology is a fig leaf to be used to cover the hideous face of politics is evident much closer home in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal caught people’s imagination by promising them a politics which will be transparent and radically different from the past. However, shortly after taking over as chief minister, he acted in a manner as opaque as an iron wall. His coterie curbed dissent and threw out those who claim to provide the ideological anchorage to the party. If Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan had any illusions about steering the AAP to an ideological course, it must have been dispelled on the day they were ejected out of the party’s decision-making body. Absolute power is vested with Kejriwal who seems to be relishing every bit of it. There are all indications that he has been acting more conventionally than conventional politicians. He emerges as an ardent adherent of the maxim that everything is fair in politics.

The reigning ideology as of now seems to be opportunism that filled the void created by the de-ideologising of politics. Of course, Kanshi Ram was ahead his time when he dismissed any disdain attached to opportunism. He had been saying all along that he would not hesitate to side with anyone that protected and promoted the interests of “his people”, that is, the downtrodden. His opportunism was a carefully crafted and well-conceived strategy to empower marginalised sections and there was nothing personal about it.  He used opportunism as a tool to achieve his political objective of the larger good. In the process he could be accused of promoting a crass culture of corruption and individualism reflected in the BSP’s politics at later stage.

Comments

 

Other News

How Homo Sapiens urbanised in the blink of an evolutionary eye

Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time By James Suzman Bloomsbury, 464 pages Among the many assumptions the pandemic has forced us to reconsider, those about work are already changing. The work-from-home trend is redefining what it means to be em

Mumbai on full alert against Omicron

After reports of Omicron, a new potentially contagious variant of coronavirus detected in South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong, Britain and Israel, more European countries have reported cases, raising global concern and imposing travel restrictions.   The WHO has classified it as a ‘va

Five Ws of Gandhi assassination

The Murderer, the Monarch and the Fakir: A New Investigation of Mahatma Gandhi’s Assassination By Appu Esthose Suresh and Priyanka Kotamraju HarperCollins, 240 pages, Rs 399 The bloodied shawl has long since faded to a vague brown and now sports

13 states told increase Covid-19 testing

In view of several countries reporting surges in Covid-19 cases and many developed nations facing fourth and fifth waves despite high numbers of vaccinations, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has written to the states of Nagaland, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Kerala, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, J&am

PMC Bank proposed resolution: Areas of darkness at the end of tunnel

A few months after the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-Operative Bank Ltd (PMC Bank) was put under moratorium in September 2019, I met an announcer in a function on banking organised by an industry body, with which I have been associated. She was young, pretty beautiful and had a sweet voice and modulation. She

Atal Innovation Mission and Vigyan Prasar collaborate to engage with science and Atal Tinkering Labs

 Niti Aayog’s flagship initiative, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), recently announced to collaborate with Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organization of the Department of Science and Technology, Government o

Visionary Talks: Dr. Naresh Trehan, CMD Medanta Heart Institute with Kailashnath Adhikari



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter