Dr. M Faiyazuddin ,
The election drums have started beating as politicians get ready once again to draw in the voter. The poor are being lured out from their homes to cast their vote, as those well versed in seduction once again use their expertise to entice the voter. In UP, all of them are back at it again. The BJP has twisted its knickers by quietly bringing in a couple of nasty, corrupt ministers kicked out by the BSP says Seema Mustafa. The BJP’s list, announced rather late in the day, caught the party’s state unit by surprise and the howls of protest seem to have motivated the party leadership to remove at least one minister from its new galaxy of ‘stars’. This has come a little late in the day, and with corruption promising to be one of the main issues, it will be interesting to see how the BJP climbs over this hump. An editorial headlined “Talk is cheap” published in the Times of India on Friday, argued that by admitting graft-tainted politicians, the BJP has tarnished its anticorruption image.“Professing commitment to political probity is easier than practising it. By admitting scam-tainted Babu Singh Kushwaha into its ranks on the eve of the UP elections, the BJP has hobbled its anti-corruption campaign,” it said. It noted that the electorate is “intelligent enough” to see beyond what it described as “cynical manipulations by the political class.” This view was echoed in the Hindustan Times as well. “While Mr Gadkari may have reckoned that inducting Mr Kushwaha, a member of the other backward class (OBC) and Mr Singh, a Thakur, would play well into the caste-community electoral matrix of the UP polls, to blatantly welcome two tainted politicians was an act of being brazen to a fault,” said a Thursday editorial. This view was shared by the Indian Express . A Thursday editorial headlined “Look who’s hiring,” said that by welcoming Mr. Kushwaha and Mr. Singh, the BJP has blown its anticorruption image. “Over the last several months, the BJP has been on the high horse,” the piece said, explaining how the party was “lending its voice” to anticorruption causes like Anna Hazare’s campaign for a strong anti-graft ombudsman.
It is Rahul and not Sonia who will be spearheading the Congress party’s election campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Ever since the 2007 Assembly elections, the Gandhi scion has made Uttar Pradesh his personal project. He feels that the only way the Congress would be able to regain a majority at the Centre is if it recaptures control of Uttar Pradesh, a state it lost in 1989. Unfortunately for Rahul, his efforts are making little headway. Even his party MPs privately admit that the Congress may not be able to cross more than 80 seats in the upcoming Assembly polls. Ironically, the Congress has never won from the Rae Bareli Assembly seat. But the problem with Mr Gandhi is that often after saying promising things he moves on to other issues, having done little to address his earlier concerns. For instance, he may be now speaking out against graft but he was nowhere to be seen when Anna Hazare’s agitation in August had rocked the Union government’s boat. Highlights of Rahul’s address:
- Mayawati govt snatched lands from farmers.
- Central funds alloted to Uttar Pradesh for the poor are misused by Mayawati govt.
- If Congress is voted to power, it will work for common man’s development.
- Congress will develop UP within 5 years of coming into power.
- Why do UP people have to fetch jobs in Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.
The Congress has finally managed to rope in the elusive Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh for a tie-up in the upcoming assembly elections in the politically-crucial Uttar Pradesh. The Congress had come fourth in the last assembly elections in UP in 2007 but bounced back in the Lok Sabha with a stunning number, 21 seats. However, the UP voter exhibits different trends in Lok Sabha and assembly elections and the Congress has been keen for a tie-up to repeat its Lok Sabha performance. The scenario may change if the Congress-RLD alliance happens as the two parties can bank on Jat, Muslim and upper caste votes. Hence, both the parties were keen on an alliance in Western UP.
The Samajwadi Party remains strong. Though it slumped to 90-odd seats in the last elections, its vote share has remained constant. Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh Yadav have pulled out all stops to lure the Muslim voter, keeping the Yadav base intact. The alliance with former chief minister Kalyan Singh has been snapped, even as father and son travel, assuring Muslims that the party stands for their development and progress. The SP has some level of support within the Thakur community and other backwards, but the big base remains the Yadav-Muslim combination. The party also made clear that its supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will be the Chief Minister in case it is in a position to form a government. “Mulayam is trying to percolate this message down to the party that Akhilesh is the new Samajwadi Party leader and the party is contesting the assembly elections under his young leadership,” says Surendra Rajput, a local political analyst. Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday played the populism card by promising to provide free water supply to farmers, medical care and education to the poor if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh.
Mayawati can claim to have tried to promote development, however uneven. Law and order has also noticeably improved. Yet, throughout her tenure, she has laid too much store by political symbolism, as reflected in self promotional monument-building sprees. Ms Mayawati is famous for building statues of herself and other icons of her low-caste Dalit community. Critics accuse her of self-glorification and wasting public money. She accuses them of conspiring against her. Statues of political leaders are generally put up posthumously, but Ms Mayawati says that belief is outdated. Meantime, critical social sectors like education and health have seen neglect, with welfare schemes becoming instruments of patronage or graft as the scandal involving diverted National Rural Health Mission funds showed. By throwing out 21 ministers and MLAs from her party and denying election ticket to nearly half of her sitting MLAs, Mayawati says she is doing a ‘course correction.’ In reality, she denied ticket to every MLA who had won election by a few hundred votes in the 2007 Assembly elections. This is her way to tackle anti-incumbency. The state has earned notoriety for being number one in the country in kidnapping of women and violent crimes, including murder, kidnapping and abduction and dacoity, during 2010. It stands only second — first being Madhya Pradesh — in women being raped. Three MLAs of her own party are facing charges of rape. And four BSP MLAs are in the jail facing murder, rape and kidnapping charges. Mayawati, however, is unperturbed. On the personal front, Mayawati faces charges of disproportionate assets in the Supreme Court. Despite all this, Mayawati is set to spring a surprise in the elections once again. She proved all the poll predictions wrong in 2007 when she secured absolute majority by winning 227 out of 403 seats of the UP Assembly.
The real issues are – Corruption, Price-rise, Poverty, Population, Unemployment, Criminalization of politics, Power(Electricity), Water, Misuse of position/power, Misuse of funds, Difference between rich and poor. The controversial issue of OBC sub-quota for minorities has intensified the race among political parties to woo the crucial Muslim vote in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh So the upcoming polls will demonstrate whether the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, led by Mayawati , the mercurial leader of the Dalits (former known as “untouchables”) will be able to hold on to power. Pitted against her is the Samajwadi Party (SP), another powerful regional party, mainly representing the interests of a caste grouping called Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and led by the ageing former wrestler Mulayam Singh Yadav. These two parties have for a long time marginalised the two national parties, the Congress and the BJP, in a state which has, in the words of a commentator, a “two-dominant-party multi-party system”.