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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Going against her own grain
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 11, 2012
First Published: 23:16 IST(11/10/2012)
Last Updated: 23:19 IST(11/10/2012)

The UPA government being on the backfoot after the stormy exit of Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee seems to have awakened the desire in other allies to create some kind of Hitchcockian suspense over their support to the coalition. The latest to play the guessing game is the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) czarina Mayawati who has ominously put off a decision, not for very long she assures the faithful, on whether or not to support the UPA government. In the same breath she speaks of the possibility of mid-term polls and how she and her forces will be fighting fit for this eventuality. As expected, she is opposed, indeed filled with sorrow, at the anti-people policies of the government. Indeed, some policies which will hurt the pockets of people have been taken. But then again, as in the case of Mamatadi, Ms Mayawati offered support to the government in the full realisation that it is a reform-driven one. So, why feign such horror and surprise when the government actually does what it has been champing at the bit to do all this while but was reined in by fractious allies like Mamatadi?

For Ms Mayawati, getting a respectable number of seats from Uttar Pradesh if the elections are upon us soon is going to be an uphill task. The Akhilesh Yadav government may not have covered itself in glory but the pro-Samajwadi Party sentiment has not yet faded away. Ms Mayawati while speaking of the plight of the poor did not exactly champion their cause in recent years, as she busied herself building monuments and statues of herself and other Dalit heroes, not to mention a large herd of stone elephants, her party's symbol. The argument that this was meant to instill pride in the Dalits has long worn thin. During the assembly elections, several television channels covered Dalit villages, some of them meant to be showpieces of empowerment. They were uniformly underdeveloped and few promises made to the people had been kept by the BSP. So, prudence would dictate that behenji first recover lost ground before rushing into the electoral battle. To make matters worse, the apex court has given the Central Bureau of Investigation the green signal to investigate the disproportionate assets cases against the BSP leader, something which militates against going in for early polls.

Unlike Mamatadi, Ms Mayawati is known to be cool and collected. By playing politics which will not yield too many benefits for herself or her party, she is going against her own grain. There is no clamour for early elections from her flock in Uttar Pradesh, neither is there an upsurge of sentiment in favour of this from any part of India. This seems to suggest that many of our political formations which claim to speak for the people are not quite in sync with what the people want. What people can do without is the suspense which often leads up in Hitchcock films to a shocker of an ending.


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