In UP polls, there are few takers for same old wine in old bottles; sadly, that's all on offer
Ajay Singh | November 14, 2011
By all accounts, Rahul Gandhi’s campaign from Phulpur in Allahabad on Monday proved to be a tame affair. His diatribe against Mayawati sounded like a usual political parody which is being drummed into the ears of the state’s electorate for years on end without any result. He expressed his anger against rising corruption in UP and increasing backwardness. But his silence on the corruption at the centre was no less eloquent than his rhetoric today.
He said that the centre had been providing a huge fund for development which is being diverted. Despite the truth in the allegation, the audience at Allahabad, once regarded as cradle for new political consciousness in the country, remained unmoved. He emphasised his empathy with the poor by pointing out that his forays to dalit localities were intended to experience the life of the poor. But his claim sounded less convincing given the all-powerful image of the Nehru-Gandhi scion in reality.
But is Rahul Gandhi the only one to indulge in such inanities? No, he is the latest, preceded by many worthies across the political spectrum. Only on Saturday, Mayawati addressed a conference of Brahmins and tried to play Brahmin versus Thakur rivalry to win over Brahmins. The fear that either Digvijay Singh of the Congress or Rajnath Singh of the BJP would become the chief minister should the BSP lose elections was drummed into the audience. The implicit message was that the BSP would be the biggest protector of the Brahmins’ interests.
At the same time, Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been promising all along during his tour in the state that he would take a sweet revenge of his own if his party gets back to power. Perhaps he seems to have inherited the traits of revenge from his father who rose in political stature after passing through a tough time in the ravines of the Yamuna in Etawah. That the SP still carries the legacy of gang-war into politics is a fact that reminds people of the saying that a tiger does not change its stripes.
What is extremely curious is the conduct of the BJP which appears to be caught in a time warp. As they proceed through two yatras led by Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra to culminate in a public meeting at Ayodhya, the BJP is still pinning hopes on Hindutva. Perhaps by not projecting a chief minister, the party leadership thinks it a great strategy as both Brahmins and Rajputs would latch on to its bandwagon. Apparently, the BJP leadership has been living in a state of denial for the past one decade when it concerns UP. They have been expecting a political windfall in absence of viable options before the electorate without realising that they had ceased to be an option long back.
In reality, the country’s most populous state has been through acute political crisis where mainstream parties have ceased to be options. They all look alike and their idioms and phrases have outlived their utility and worn out. This is the precise reason why a numbness in otherwise vibrant electorate is quite visible. Contrast this scenario with Bihar where 2010 election was held with much fanfare. Political parties in UP are forcing the old grammar of castes and criminality to win over the state. There is no alternative — which is a bad omen for people of the state.
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