The Inside Jobs

The election battlelines have been drawn no doubt. But it is a rather hazy line that hardly delineates or divides anything. Despite the bugle having been sounded, warring troops are still shuffling in and out of formations with the poll call only setting off skirmishes within several party ranks. The battlefield instead looks like a chaotic arena that you see in sci-fi movies wherein a voltage trip triggers a jarring clash of metals amidst jaded robots, ending in a jumble of twisted debris.

Many a politico and party know not where they stand and therefore have no clue on who the adversary is. So, for now, by default, either the party leadership, an ally or a contender to a favoured seat is considered the immediate enemy. Sure, top campaigners are on top gear, firing salvos against their clear opponents, but they too have to constantly look over their shoulders for that proverbial back stab. With insiders turning outsiders and vice-versa, much of the poll din presently is made of implosions.

The Congress presents a picture of strange paradoxes. With more walk-outs than walk-ins, as was the case with Parli during its torturous ten-year tenure, the party faces a unique problem: Abdication. While at the national level there is still a race for seats considered sure bets, itself a dwindling number, the party, in TN, sees an unseemly desertion of the field by so-called tall leaders. Vasan has signed off Signor Raul’s battlewagon and the smart PC is likely to go off the network if he could help it, may be, allowing his son to boot up. Almost all sitting MPs want to sit out of the contest. These high profile champions of Kamaraj rule however have declared generously that their best wishes and moral support plus whatever else they can offer are assured for the GoP! Friendless and none to field, Cong is already off the fray in TN.

AP is a cauldron that can stump the pundit, pollster and politico alike. With the State bifurcation slated to happen post Assembly elections but with the ‘unified’ Assembly’s numbers, the pitch is completely queered. While all parties are troubled no end by the duplicitous campaign they have to carry out in Telengana and Seemandhra vis-a-vis bifurcation, Cong has more to reckon with. Post YSR, it has been steadily rolling downhill in what was a bastion in ‘04 and ‘09. Jagan has played havoc; CM Kiran Reddy has floated his own party. And as if the woes are not enough, Chiranjeevi, who merged his party with the Cong in exchange for a ministry, now has actor-brother Pawan Kalyan launching his own outfit … with a name that will take till voting day to spell. Trust AP to turnout a truly typical Tollywood tamasha!

Modi’s road to nomination to Race Course Road was itself littered with minefields planted by his own seniors. Though seemingly a smooth ride since, the regular burst of protest from within keeps dogging his progress. 80-plus Advani still sees a bright future for himself. Sushma never misses a chance to spite her party’s chosen one. Modi is yet to zero in on his constituency what with old timers unwilling to relinquish in his favour. Ditto for party prez Rajnath. It makes for a sorry spectacle to see the two top BJP leaders getting lobbed hither and thither for their own tickets. And now comes a dampener from RSS which has advised its parivar against an overdose of NaMo chanting.

The multi-cornered contest in TN is itself a a result of several inside jobs. In a surprising and swift surgical swipe, the AIADMK clipped off the unsuspecting Left wing and took off on a solo flight. Left in the lurch, the Comrades are competing with Congress to finish last. Incidentally, with that the Communists default dream-setting, the Third Front also caved in and withered away, without any help from the US’s CIA. The BJP’s grand alliance here is still stuck in seat-sharing talks with PMK and Vijayakanth’s DMDK pitted against each other for the same constituencies. With Cong non-existent and AIADMK/DMK possible post-poll partners, the BJP will still have its hands full managing its friends.

But the ultimate unkind cut from within has been suffered by the DMK with Alagiri’s brazen revolt. After a cordial courtesy call on PM MSingh, K’s eldest sin, pardon, son has charitably predicted one or two seats for the DMK. The man who made electoral history in Thirumangalam through his cash & carry of votes is now a vocal critic of DMK’s money power. The party which has shot itself in the foot by foisting tainted Raja and Maran, will find this home-grown dagger twisting in its guts most painful.

Now that’s about the dirty political arena. But the ‘Broomstick’ that appointed itself to clean up the muck from inside is turning out no better. Arvind Kejriwal, the eternal victim of politicos, the system, Mukesh Ambani, media etc is discovering that his real enemy is in the mirror. The game is up, AAP!

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Jawahar T R