By rendering for Indian politics a performance that entailed singing a parting song, Tirade Maestros-in-Concert (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee demonstrated what coal-ition politics sounds like when a power-packed 'jugalbandi' turns discordant: collision politics.
In setting the ball rolling, not for a rollback of reforms as much for a fresh roll call of the coalition class at the Centre, Mamata Didi sure set the stage for a string of performances that became the media moment of the week. So stellar was the staging of sop opera 'Bade bure lagte hain… reforms' that it even ensnared eyeballs away from the 'court' drama starring Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, and from the season's comeback star on the T20 turf, Yuvraj Singh.
Reform being the dialogue driving this media-staged soap, it did re-form the vocabulary emanating from this script of collision politics. And how!
Full-throated Didigiri Inc (FDI)
In the decibels and din sparked off by the Full-throated Didigiri Inc (FDI), headquartered in Hooghly land, it was but natural that most of the debates and panel talks on the electronic media were driven by re-tale.
Re-tale being the repeats that multiple party mouthpieces had to deliver on panel after panel, channel after channel, about the fallout of the 'FDI' on the future of coalition politics. Investing in this re-tale certainly proved more financially viable for the channels than parking their money in mouths that could spout exclusive and expensive sound bytes about the twists in this tale.
That the Full-throated Didigiri Inc (FDI) could open the floodgates for this multi-brand re-tale in media studios was more by virtue of the pitch at which it performs than due to the rant on reforms.
Putting the cap on gas
Seeing that Mamata was doing all to fuel the fall of the coalition at the Centre, the survival of the Manmohan Singh dispensation became heavily dependent on the supply of LPG (Leaning Pro-Government) from the two other 'Ms' Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh and Dalit diva Mayawati.
The possible supply of 'LPG' from the SP and BSP stables sure saw Mulayam and Maya acting pricey, making the imbroglio over gas even more fluid for the Congress.
This left the Centre wondering where to put the cap: on the clamour from Kolkata for turning off the cap on gas or on the full-of-gas Mulayam and Maya.
Interestingly, the feud over FDI and fuel hasn't been about political double standards. What really pricked Mamata and propelled her parting shot were P Chidambaram's doable standards. In sticking to his guns and refusing a rollback on reforms on the grounds that "A political government knows what is doable and what is not," the finance minister apparently spelt out his contribution to the political lexicon: doable standards.
This evolution of the political vocabulary from double standards to doable standards had Mamata seeing not Red but foreign bread. And whilst most political parties preferred to wait and watch, the media referred to Mamata's foreign watch. Double standards weren't really dead!
The Centre's refusal to roll back the reforms sure saw some reshuffle in the ministerial roll call. With Manmohan rather rushing ahead with reforms, adamant that FDI in retail would prevail, Mamata's parliamentary colleagues were left with little choice but to be the losers in the matter of ministerial berth control.
It's another story that in place of the rollback they may have preferred to get their role back.
On matters of roll back in the interest of the constitution, the anatomical one, that is, the most active and authoritative figure was none other than Baba Ramdev. For, the yoga guru certainly used the instability of the 'central' nervous system to practice poses that promised to preen him into a position of proximity, held hitherto by Arvind Kejriwal, in Team Anna.
This meant assuming postures that entailed a leaning of his torso in a friendlier tilt towards an ancient centre of political energy, epitomised by andolan activist Anna Hazare, to arrive at a politically correct asana: Pr-anna-yam.
The writer is a Chandigarh-based columnist.