Isn’t it odd that a party which has its nominee in the Maharashtra government led by Devendra Fadnavis should organize an agitation demanding the waiver of loans to farmers? And that the same party has an MP as part of the Modi-led NDA? It is another matter that it was done on the platform of a farmers’ organisation.
But Sadabhau Khot, the minister, and Raju Shetti, the MP belonging to the Swabhimani Paksh, are also key figures of the Shetkari Sanghatana which was founded by the late Sharad Joshi. The agitation was organised in Kolhapur and it took time for the two to come together; the party was on the verge of a break-up, each going their separate way.
It points to the sheer inability of the Shetkari Sanghatana to influence decisions in the Fadnavis government. The BJP had benefited to some extent by the farmers’ votes and the organisation the Shetkari Sanghatana brought to the kitty. It suggests that while the people’s cause has to be voiced, the Shetkari Sanghatana prefers the loaves and fishes of office.
But stirring up the mud helps with the constituents and on that score the Shetkari Sanghatana is doing nicely. It also makes it evident that after a tiny share in power that was sent their way, the Shetkari Sanghatana is unable to even bleat beyond a point, for Fadnavis does not seem to like the idea of a blanket loan waiver. He is only now ‘studying’ the UP model.
Odd indeed are the ways of politics in India. One can switch sides, and the hosts can not only forgive the past fulminations of the entrant but dish out the reward by a nomination to an election which of late, implies a near good chance of victory. Thus, everybody is happy. And very much happy in power though they occasionally gnash their teeth.
The leading party maybe willing to stomach the ways in which the smaller parties makes them look silly but the fact remains that it cannot bend to every wish and whim of these parties. The smaller parties lending support, either as pre-poll allies or post-poll partners, need to keep their constituents alive. So out go the niceties of collective decision making.
Shiv Sena is a big contributor, bigger than the Khots’ and the Shettis’, in making a mockery of their own presence in the government. It does not function like a government constituent nor entirely as an opposition. It seems to enjoy this space between the stools even though Uddhav Thackeray keeps issuing the need to be ready for an early mid-term polls.
A party’s strength is measured in the run up to polls by the desertions. Voters have been accepting these switches. However, this distorts the very idea of anyone speaking of an ideology, for it is the first thing to be discarded. The current behind-the-scenes moves of Narayan Rane, who migrated from Shiv Sena to Congress to find a space in BJP, is one example.
There is another quirk of politics as has been evolving, and it is the coalition dharma which, by the very choice of word adds a gravitas of principles to what is essentially survival compulsions. It implies something inherent in it, a given, a requirement, though it is shamelessness and nothing more.
This dharma, however, seems to apply largely to the biggest party that needs coalition partners and not the others who joined the bandwagon to assume power as a collective. Manmohan Singh had to wink at the corruption his coalition partners indulged in with abandon and swallow its ignominy.
Updated Date: May 06, 2017 12:52 PM