Razia phans gayee goondon mein, courtesy Karunanidhi

Well-timed sweet revenge leaves ruling coalition vulnerable to Maya-Mulayam menace

ajay

Ajay Singh | March 20, 2013


DMK chief M Karunanidhi
DMK chief M Karunanidhi

There are certain uncouth expressions in Hindustani (that is, Hindi mixed with Urdu) which neatly sum up political-social dilemmas aptly but remain quite repugnant to the sensibilities of the elites. One such expression, which is in circulation in the UP for centuries, is: “Razia phans gayee goondon mein (Lady Razia is hemmed in amongst criminals)”. In central UP, this sentence sums up dilemma of “a wily weakling caught in a group of real goons”.

This expression prevalent among social underdogs of the Hindi heartland veritably summarises the predicament of the UPA government. For the past one year, the DMK has been sending across loud and clear signals that their disenchantment with the Congress was increasing. But the Congress chose to ignore it.

Remember the pathetic sight of DMK chief M Karunanidhi roaming around the palaces of Sonia Gandhi and prime minister Manmohan Singh literally beseeching their intervention to save his daughter Kanimozhi from the ignominy of going to jail. A veteran politician that he is, Karunanidhi knew it too well that the resources of the government were far too much to meet his simple expectation. Didn’t he know that not one of the industrialists named or even their image managers like Niira Radia was subjected to embarrassment despite their overt connivance?

Similarly, the DMK chief was equally piqued by the manner in which A Raja was made to bear the brunt of all the wrongs that happened in the 2G scam while others were not given even rap on the knuckle. Karunanidhi silently swallowed all these insults to hit back at an opportune moment. Like a wily politician, he struck at a moment of extreme vulnerability for the Congress.

But there is a still a grace in Karunanidhi’s style, given his background as a seasoned leader mentored by redoubtable Annadurai. Though his decision might have been influenced by his sense of hurt over humiliation, he struck on an issue which is thoroughly political. He raised the issue of Lankan Tamils which has always been close to his heart. With the UPA-2 hurtling towards an interminable decline, he found it convenient to jump out of the bandwagon and claim his independence in order to stay relevant. In the process, he can savour the revenge that he would unleash on Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.

Those who know Karunanidhi’s politics would testify that the DMK patriarch has followed the same pattern as he did when he pulled the plug on the NDA government in 2003. Then he had faced humiliation by the Jayalalitha government which ordered his arrest. The Vajpayee government cited its inability to do much because of the limitations imposed by the constitution in affairs of the state. Karunanidhi kept silent for a while and then withdrew support to the NDA, leading to its fall in the 2004 elections. The NDA has not been able to recover till now.

But the revenge that Karunidhi has silently unleashed on the UPA is going to be the biggest challenge for the ruling coalition. As of now, the UPA has survived on the crutches of the two most volatile and untrustworthy allies, Mayawati’s BSP and  Mulayam’s SP. The fact that both these leaders are being probed by the CBI in connection with corruption cases would render the UPA extremely vulnerable to the charge of being amenable to serve their interests. And both these leaders are unashamed about flexing their muscles to suit their political objectives which more often than not would be inconsistent with propriety.  Till the time Mayawati and Mulayam are allies of the UPA, the CBI would be reduced to the status of a mere pawn of this political battle which will further erode the government’s prestige and credibility.

Unlike Karunanidhi who adheres to a set of code that conforms to political conduct, Mayawati and Mulayam care two hoot about propriety and norms when it comes to their self-interest. There is little doubt that the UPA government would be up against a ruthlessly heretical political culture which will be a nightmare for the UPA every day. Unlike other allies who at least show the pretense of following a modicum of traditional propriety, Mulayam and Mayawati have none.

Perhaps nothing summarises the UPA dilemma as aptly as the Hindustani proverb which indicates that the agony of the “damsel in distress” would be much painful and longer than expected. 

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