MORCHA MAZE and the politics of alliances
IT IS time for fresh political alliances in UP. While former Prime Minister VP Singh has made the ruling establishment jittery by launching the Jan Morcha headed by suspended Samajwadi Party MP Raj Babbar, there are also determined moves by some Muslim leaders to bring the community on one platform. Several Muslim groups have been working in this direction.india Updated: Jun 04, 2006 10:31 IST
VP Singh, Raj Babbar and their conglomerate of political parties is giving the present State Government sleepless nights. Meanwhile, an assortment of Muslim organisations, having political ambitions, is also ready to eat into the present government’s vote share. The SP-RLD alliance sits up and takes notice.
IT IS time for fresh political alliances in UP. While former Prime Minister VP Singh has made the ruling establishment jittery by launching the Jan Morcha headed by suspended Samajwadi Party MP Raj Babbar, there are also determined moves by some Muslim leaders to bring the community on one platform. Several Muslim groups have been working in this direction.
While it is too early to predict the fate of these outfits, they would certainly help in consolidation of anti-Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-RLD) electorate and give a fillip to the anti-incumbency factor. Highly unlikely to win the elections, these groups may put a spoke in the victory march of the present ruling alliance.
Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP) had won just four seats in the 2002 Assembly elections but it had damaged BJP prospects in nearly 70 seats. Jan Morcha and the Muslim fronts could do the same for SP. This scenario has caused ripples in the present dispensation.
Jan Morcha, a group of several political parties of clashing interest, has only targeted the Samajwadi Party. While VP’s Morcha had in the past sealed the fate of Rajiv Gandhi, this time the Raja of Manda is out to settle scores with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Initially, when VP Singh had been roaming around in the State for the last one year raising farmers’ issues, nobody in the ruling alliance took him seriously but with the launch of the political outfit there is flurry of activity in the ruling party. VP and Yadav had not been pulling on well for a long time. But in order to mend fences, Yadav met VP in Delhi in April last.
But instead of softening his attitude towards the Chief Minister, Singh announced the formation of a morcha that too led by Babbar, whose utility had been questioned by the SP. “Babbar ki upyogita kya hai” (what is utility of Raj Babbar) commented Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, while announcing his suspension from the party. “I have proved my utility,” retorted a smiling Babbar at Jan Morcha’s first successful rally here on May 30.
Babbar, now a phenomenon in UP politics, has all the potential to create problems for the SP. He has already announced to demolish the SP bastion. However, whether he succeeds in his plan, remains to be seen. The biggest challenge for the Morcha would be to keep the partners together. While they are already at loggerheads, the possibility of them further pulling apart cannot be ruled out.
While the Morcha has opened a direct front against Samajwadi Party, the possibility of adverse impact on the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) could also not be ruled out. The RLD tried to cash in on the utility of VP Singh on farmers issues, but the party failed to realise the game plan of VP Singh. Known as a master strategist, VP Singh has now landed the RLD in a fix. The Morcha alliance with Mahendra Singh Tikait’s Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) is an ominous sign for Chaudhury Ajit Singh in western UP. There is already a revolt in the party against the all-powerful flood control and irrigation development commission chairperson Anuradha Chaudhury.
On the other hand minister for Haj and Minorities Welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi has been making efforts to disturb the RLD’s Jat-Muslim combination in western UP. The RLD is thus, back to old political gimmicks of ‘Harit Pradesh’. The party, which put the issue on the backburner for the last four years, has now plans to take it out to counter the anti-incumbency factor.
The RLD sharing power with the SP is unwilling to part ways with Mulayam Singh Yadav. The reason is not far to seek. In western UP, the RLD is directly pitted against the BSP, where it needs the SP’s help. The problem has also been aggravated because of Qureshi’s Muslim Morcha, which could queer pitch for the RLD. Though in a counter move to keep Muslims in good humour the RLD got Jamiat Ulema Hind (JUH) general secretary Mahmood Madni elected to the Rajya Sabha, its president Arshad Madni, who has more following than Mahmood Madni, is close to the Congress. Qureshi said Muslims were feeling disenchanted with the RLD.
On the Muslim front Maulana Kalbe Jawad’s People’s Democratic Front has been trying to fish in troubled waters. Jawad has been making efforts to mobilise ulema (clerics) on PDF platform to give proper shape to the fledgling party. The anti-Jawad group led by Imam Jama Majid Ahmad Bukhari will be meeting in Delhi on June 10 to launch a parallel organization. While Jawad has already burnt bridges with SP, BSP and Congress, the tilt of Bukhari’s front would have to be seen.
Muslims in the State are, however, at the crossroads. Will they go with emerging fronts or retain their old tactics of supporting the winning horse from BSP, SP or Congress, is being hotly debated within the community. Even though Mayawati formed the last government with the help of the BJP, she is not an ‘untouchable’ for the Muslims, who seem favourably inclined towards her. However, the ulema (clerics) close to Yadav have also started a damage control exercise. The chief minister has already launched an exercise to retain his ‘Maulana Mulayam’ image.
While enumerating the largess given to the Muslim community, the party has also chosen a Muslim Amir Alam Khan from Muzaffarnagar for Rajya Sabha election on June 15.
Interestingly, not recognising general discontent among the people against the government, the spokesman of RLD Anil Dubey said Jan Morcha would only harm the BSP mainly in eastern UP, where Rajbhar, traditional supporters of BSP, had joined Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Bharatiya Samaj Party, which is a constituent of the morcha. Sidetracking VP’s movement against the government, moves are thus, afoot to highlight the caste combination of the Morcha to derail the whole exercise.