De facto dissolution

To look for sense and credibility in the current political milieu is as much a futile pursuit as, say, hunting for Veerappan. And governance also seems as elusive as the brigand. Never has the country been witness to such a unified comic show by all the players on the political theatre, irrespective of party affiliations with the BJP and its Big Brother’s antics taking the cake.

Only that the tormented prajas are in no mood to be humoured by all the slap-stick ticklers that are being dished out daily. The tragedy is that instead of learning their lessons from the rout, the rulers only seem to have gone crazier, if the current parliament session is any indication.

The BJP government, or the ‘BJP-led’ government as Vajpayee would now prefer to call it, has turned out to be the ultimate spoof on politics with the ‘able-stable’ cliche gaining as much notoriety as, say, the ‘old man in a hurry’. It is tempting to conclude that since the government did not bring down the prices, the prices brought down the government but such a rationale is rather too simplistic and even far from truth.

To blame onions and tomatoes for the debacle is a rotten alibi for non-performance in the last eight months, though it might have been the last straw. Instead, the real malaise is reflected by the recent dilly-dallying over IRA which is a clear pointer to a thriving culture of unhealthy dissent and lack of unanimity and coherence in the ruling establishment itself on almost every issue of concern. The thrashing at the hustings is only the proof of the pudding. The much touted party with a difference is in reality no different from others; rather worse considering that the expectations from the BJP were running high before the polls.

The ‘mask’ actually was hiding several faces, now it seems. With every face now looking down his shoulders, Vajpayee today is a very troubled soul, having lost his own face and voice too, in the melee. The Sangh Parivar, which sternly refused to believe that this was not its government with an absolute majority, continued to behave like a big brother by pushing its own agenda at every opportunity and inevitably getting stone-walled. Vajpayee, who never was enamoured of the over bearing Sangh, was in any case, also not in a position to pursue the dictates of the Khaki-clad as he has to lend his ears to other voices within the coalition too.

The day of reckoning between the government and the RSS was always in the offing, for the latter represented the real threat to Vajpayee and his outfit and not the allies as the BJP has always wished to project. True, it has become difficult to run this coalition owing to the irreconcilable objectives and interests of the various allies, but then the BJP can at least have the consolation of having willingly entered into such electoral tie-ups and it was fully aware of its partners’ aspirations even before the polls. There are no surprises in the BJP’s constant war with its allies. But the RSS backlash was something Vajpayee never bargained for though he should have reckoned with it much, much before.

If today, the BJP government is in a shambles it is purely owing to the enemies within its own edifice and not because of the allies or the opposition as is being made out. That would only be tantamount to perpetuating the delusion that has really caused the debacle, besides unfairly blaming the allies and unduly complementing the foes. The Congress got victory on a platter while the allies played no part in the polls.

If only Vajpayee gathers the courage to ask the Sangh to just lay its hands off the government, he would be rid of the main problem that is plaguing his government. An indication surely has come from the government’s decision to go ahead with the IRA Bill despite the opposition from the RSS, but the fact remains that even this ‘concession’ was extracted after enormous labour. The PM is yet to begin dialogue with the allies and opposition read Congress, which has not formally announced its decision yet. Convincing his own partymen itself has been so difficult!

The disturbing reality is that there is no hope in sight for a respite from this sort of parliamentary stalemate. With hurdles and road blocks abounding both within the ruling front and outside, and with loud morchas ensuring that even the minimum business cannot be salvaged, it is unlikely that anything of consequence can happen in parliament sessions. Frankly, it is doubtful if the House will be able to pass even a laundry bill, leave alone such lofty legislations like the IRA or reservation for women.

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Jawahar T R