It?s time to end support drama

Published on Jan 22, 2006 12:58 AM IST

WILL SOMEONE please tell them to stop making a mockery of democracy! It?s high time they were told that secularism that they were so concerned about was protected. Enough of street brawls now, it?s high time curtains are drawn on their drama of supporting each other.

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None | BySunita Aron

WILL SOMEONE please tell them to stop making a mockery of democracy! It’s high time they were told that secularism that they were so concerned about was protected. Enough of street brawls now, it’s high time curtains are drawn on their drama of supporting each other.

And if both Congress and Samajwadi Party feel that secularism’s safety is linked with the stability of their governments then also they are wrong. Withdrawal of support by either of them would not impact the health of either of the two governments, numerically or otherwise.

So while Samajwadi Party men have to just walk to the Rashtrapati Bhawan announcing withdrawal of support to Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, Salman Khurshid has to lead a handful of his legislators to Raj Bhawan to withdraw support to the government they condemn day in and day out.

Thereafter, free from any moral bondage, the two can play their roles of political opponents more effectively. It will also save them from again and again reiterating their compulsion of supporting each other – to keep the communal forces at bay. Both at the Centre as well as in Uttar Pradesh BJP lacks the numerical strength to grab the chair.

Agreed supporting parties should not forfeit their right to publicly criticise each other, but here apparently both Congress and SP hunt for reasons to accuse and abuse each other. In fact, while for the Samajwadi Party Sonia is responsible for all the ills plaguing the country, for Congressmen the only villain in UP is Mulayam Singh Yadav. May it be phone tapping or Mulayam’s eviction from official bungalow in Delhi or for that matter Krishnanand’s murder or KGMU strike in UP, the two leaders squarely responsible are Sonia and Mulayam respectively. So the cadres burn effigies, leaders use choicest of abuses and yet support each other. Otherwise also, there seems to be no meeting ground for the two parties in Uttar Pradesh, then why overdo or overstretch the support drama.

In fact ever since the coalition era has started, the politicians have redefined the word ‘support’, not only in Uttar Pradesh but also all over the country. Even the ideologically committed Left could not remain untouched by this infection.

However, so far they are maintaining some political dignity in opposing their partners’ political-economic agenda. Have we heard Left burning effigies of Sonia or blaming individuals – they are nailing parties. We have seen this drama in Bihar also, where Congress while supporting RJD kept its ante up against Lalu and Rabri Devi.

Coming back to Uttar Pradesh, the word ‘support’ was first redefined by Kanshi Ram in early 1990s when BSP-SP coalition government was at the helm of affairs. Mulayam was the chief minister. For the benefit of those who were not witness to the drama Kanshi Ram used to literally take Mulayam’s class on certain issues close to their heart. Often Kanshi Ram-Mayawati threatened Mulayam of some ‘political bombshell’ but, for reasons best known to them, always withdrew it at the eleventh hour. Their deteriorating relationship resulted in violence at the State Guest House as SP workers became vindictive, physically lifted BSP MLAs while they were holding a meeting with Mayawati. Till date the embers are simmering.

Thereafter, came BSP-BJP coalition government. The second time they came together to form the government they evolved a unique formula of government by six-month rotation. Again, the chief minister in waiting Kalyan Singh kept playing the opponents role while Mayawati ruled. And when he assumed the chair, Mayawati, within a month, rushed to Raj Bhawan to withdraw support. Till then she publicly decried all actions and decisions of Kalyan Singh. The outcome once again was violence -- political parties for the first time played a bloody battle on the floor of the House as Kalyan Singh broke parties to complete the numbers.

All this continued with the splinter group of Congress, Loktantrik Congress Party extracting its pound of flesh from Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. They kept boycotting cabinet meetings, holding press conferences to threaten the government of pulling out of it.

So a support of this kind has been a double-edged sword, which only ended with violence. Though nothing of that sort has happened so far with Congress and SP locking horns, but tension is brewing. Mulayam has blamed Congress of hatching a conspiracy to murder him, he has ordered STF probe into phone tapping case while the CBI probe is already on, has made political forays into Sonia’s Rae Bareli. On the other hand Congress is fighting its battle via the apex court, demonstrations and press statements.

Now should they wait for the ongoing brawl to turn bloody? In the interest of the state they should withdraw support.

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