Migration season

Political bird-watching as a pastime is always such fun. Typically, poll times always trigger the migratory instincts of politicos and the current season is no exception. This week particularly displayed a marked escalation of activity across many party aviaries. The political air is suddenly thick with heavy, haywire traffic.

Too many birds of varying feathers are in flight, seeking to find whatever flock that would whet their appetite for power and pelf. Some travel in groups so that they can negotiate a plumb perch, but there are also lone wanderers scouting for a safe passage. There are meaty birds that are in demand with big time bird hunters stalking them while there are also the unwanted ones which nevertheless hover over the landscape in the hope of a lucky landing. Human hawks and doves, vultures and pigeons and of course, crows abound. And in this winged kingdom, past is no bar for a future flight path.

Lalu’s shaky habitat was rocked most. About thirteen MLAs broke ranks, flew the coop and almost landed in Nitish’s nest. The RJD cowboy, who along with his clan, treated bovines and Bihar alike when it came to milking, was quick to react at this desertion. In one fell swoop he reclaimed a bulk of his pets and even displayed some of the prodigals, with he himself leading the pack on a cycle rickshaw sojourn to Raj Bhavan. In a telling slip, Nitish, who had been cultivating a saintly image, tripped, betraying his penchant for political preying like every other of his ilk. That of course is no consolation to Lalu who has to now find more fodder for his restless, hungering lot, his farm’s pecking order having been rattled!

Lalu’s woes rose as a friendly bird decided to part company in search of better prospects. Ram Vilas Paswan, a seasoned long-distance flyer and a veteran of many a watering hole across political borders, ruffled several feathers in the secular stock as he switched to NDA. This was the man who had in 2002 blamed NaMo for Gujarat riots, and quit NDA, just in time to continue seamlessly as a minister in UPA. The Cong is understandably aghast, while the BJP is gloating over this catch, which has been enabled not just by Paswan’s known power addiction, but some new eggs that have hatched in his home. Son Chirag Paswan, who has taken wings sees joining the BJP formation as a sure way to fly high. Ditto with TDP Cybernaidu’s household where fresh feathers rule the roost. Somehow, to many new, young dynastic wannabes, Rahul does not seem an attractive flying mate.

The waning attraction of Congress is most evident in UP. There is a daily exodus from its flock. And as in Bihar, the BJP is making the most of this mating season, when several disgruntled birds of whatever hue are itching for a union. Sometimes, as with Paswan, the BJP’s readiness to cage anything that flies by, does rankle. But with 120 seats at stake in these two states, the BJP apparently wants to leave no bird untouched. As for Cong, it is a lonely sky what with many prospective partners planting their claws on the ‘secular’ platform through a Third Front, a red-hued political apparition that shows up on the horizon during poll time, serves as a virtual resting place for birds-in-transit and then vanishes without a trace post poll. Even the TRS, a sure bedfellow in Telangana is now sulking. The only consolation for Cong is the arrival of the screen bird Vijayashanti, who just flew in from the TRS.

In TN, the AIADMK, after sealing ties with the Left wing, has closed its doors on all other outfits. The DMDK keeps losing its legislators to the ruling party even as the Captain is swaying unsteadily mid-air, unable to decide which of the national parties can quench his ‘thirst’ most. The MDMK and PMK too remain suspended, tethered to the BJP but not yet fully into the fold. The DMK, whose cosy cocoon has been stirred no end by some unseemly bickering amidst the ‘self’-respecting siblings, is waiting in the wings with alternative tweets to suit whatever alliance it clinches. But with the TN flying fraternity, what really counts is the post poll scenario, when migrations and matings can set new rational records.

For all the other lost political birds in the nation wanting to pitch into the poll arena, and who do not like Mukesh Ambani, there is Aam Aadmi Party. Particularly, VIP aadmis like Rajmohan Gandhi and an assortment of activists and disparate individuals would find AAP a veritable Vedanthangal. If not anything of substance, a lot of noise and flutter is guaranteed here! Not to mention the stink it revels in raising.

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Jawahar T R