The terrible thing about writing a column before the dramatic result of the trust vote today is that one is left in a frustrated limbo! I cannot comment on the first day of the parliament either, since the piece needs to be at the editorial offices by early afternoon. That leaves me with the ‘right’ to kite-fly and dream of the various probable and improbable scenarios that could well emerge after today.
If the government loses the vote, Prakash Karat will be grinning like the Cheshire Cat, scrambling about, trying to get the numbers right to go to the president and show his strength to form a third front government till the next elections. His deal with Mayavati may be just this — to make her an interim prime minister for a short span of time, which will allow her to go to the general elections from the central pulpit, having had a few months in the seat of ‘supreme’ power in Delhi, privy to all the information she might want at this point of her political career. And, wouldn’t it be truly ironic if Mayavati welcomed the Bharatiya Janata Party into a combine, with the Left lending support to this strange configuration from outside, yet again?
Or, the United Progressive Alliance will go and elections will be called. Either way, India will soon go to the polls and the chances are that there will be another fragmented dispensation at the Centre that will be pulling the country in different directions, endorsing petty, personalized politics, making sure that India is brought to her knees. This is sad, but possibly true. It is becoming increasingly clear that most of the allies of the UPA are losing ground and that their numbers are bound to decline. The Congress could remain static or could grow if it plays good politics and does not succumb to the horse-trading that has become its hallmark. It could play an effective role from the opposition benches to make sure that the Indian democracy matures well.
Any rag-tag grouping will not last beyond 18 to 24 months, after which there will be a mid-term poll in which a new and young leader could project himself with conviction and ask the people of this benighted nation to extend their support to him to build a modern India together without wasting any more precious time. This country, having witnessed the shenanigans of debase and corrupt political leaders, will be ready to risk the possibility of a dramatic change led by inexperienced but sincere individuals who are not carrying the baggage of the last decade of Indian politics. The Congress will be cleansed with the purging of the old, infirm and unbending leaders who sit at its high table and prevent radical change. Strangely, it is the disabled who are disabling the Congress. The same goes for the BJP, a party that should put forward its younger leaders. Hopefully, all the blackmailers of today, who are trying to extract their pounds of flesh at the cost of India, will fall by the wayside and disappear into oblivion. Perhaps a cleansing process will kick in.
India deserves better. She deserves better leaders, better laws that are not leftovers from the colonial period. Severe and stringent personality checks need to be enforced when giving tickets and the laws need to be rewritten and overhauled. With these two correctives, the funding of political parties and elections will have to go through a massive restructuring and there is much to be learnt in this regard from Barack Obama — the way he used social networking to raise vast amounts of committed, albeit small sums of money, from a large anonymous base. This prevents political blackmail. Ask every Indian who can afford it to donate one rupee, or more if he so chooses, and see what happens. India could well renew herself and move forward with determination.