The year 2012 will be a year of upheavals in Indian politics. No less than three non-Congress candidates for the prime-ministerial berth are likely to emerge, and the most interesting of them will be Mamata Banerjee. Simply because of the fact that though her own state is not having an assembly election this year, but because she is destined to play the role of a kingmaker/queenmaker in at least two of the states that will.
Of the other two, Narendra Modi has been obvious for quite some time. The Gujarat CM’s ambitions have been on display for quite some time. In fact, rumour mills suggest that NaMo will camp in Delhi from the end of this year till it suits him, or till it becomes apparent whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gives him the go-ahead to take the top post if and when it wins the general election.
The third – Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati – is somewhat of a circumspect candidate. Her aspirations depend on a lot of ifs and buts, and she may not wield enough clout to iron out these chinks.
So what exactly are these people doing to get to the top? Let’s start top-down here. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has already passed a resolution stating that it wants to divide the state of Uttar Pradesh into four parts. The move is more for her own political benefit than for the benefit of the populace – it would mean that her party, with a presence/majority in four states in the country, is a national party.
But like I said earlier, there are a lot of ifs and buts there. For starters, whether central government would even allow the state to be quartered and served for the consumption of a Dalit leader under whose regime Dalits have suffered quite a bit. The second, and an equally significant if, is the question of gaining majority on all four of these parts if UP is divided. It might seem easy, but may turn out to be quite a tricky proposition.
Then we have NaMo, who seems to have quite a few unlikely voices behind him. He somehow managed to befriend the Chinese, going to their country and inviting them to set up industries in his state. He has also been trying to project himself as a strong, no-nonsense leader, who is the fastest off the block when it comes to development – NaMo was the first to approach the Tatas after their Nano factory in Singur failed.
And last, but definitely not the least, we come to the person who was responsible for the above-mentioned Nano factory not materialising. Mamata Banerjee was once a loyal Congress member before leaving the party with some of her own loyalists to form her own outfit that kept the core/grass-root level ideologies intact. Hence Trinamool.
Political observers will argue that Banerjee is no better than the two Left Front chief ministers West Bengal has seen before her, and I would not exactly disagree. But then, when has Indian politics thrown up a good mix of candidates for the voter to choose from? Given that, the West Bengal electorate seems to have followed the old diktat, and chosen the lesser of two evils.
In the process, they seem to have fuelled Didi’s political ambitions, who seems to be harbouring prime-ministerial dreams. With her populist propaganda and method of working, she seems to be winning many hearts, even if what she promises isn’t exactly practical.
Who you gonna choose?
PS: Here’s a cartoon that our friendly neighbourhood Mr Sibal might not like. But just to show him the power of the internet, please let it go viral.
Oh, and this is a purely personal post. I know of no legal step that has been taken so far that will force me to take this down. This is a sarcastic feature I found on the internet that explains what our HRD minister intends to do when he calls for ‘pre-screening’ of content on social media. This is a social experiment to see if he is affected by the Streisand effect.