When Chandrababu Naidu sat on a dharna the other day at the national capital, several other parties had shown solidarity with him clamouring to find a political space with their top leaders marking their attendance. Barely a fortnight ago, Mamata Banerjee had organised a rally in Kolkata which again saw top ranking leaders from almost all opposition parties closing ranks and displaying an unprecedented unity of sorts.
Doesn’t all this so-called unity reek of some sort of political maha milawat where each of the elements – or shall we say impurities – melds together to hold on to power and thereby keep itself politically relevant?
The Big Congress Maha Milawat
TDP vs. Congress
For instance, when Mr Naidu held this rally which was also attended by no less than Rahul Gandhi, he had conveniently forgotten that back in Nov. 2013, he himself had personally attacked the same Rahul Gandhi with a tweet,
“The poor don’t get benefit from the roads” – Rahul Gandhi. Alarming levels of intelligence for a person who dreams of running the nation.”
In 2013, Mr Naidu had attacked the Congress party, “All options barring the Congress are open. I have always been opposed to the Congress but nothing has been decided yet. The Congress has ruined the country and we need to find an alternative. Perhaps Mr Naidu should also remember that it was the Congress government in Maharashtra which had arrested him in 2010 for defying prohibitory orders. But most of all, no one has forgotten that the very formation of TDP was driven by an anti-Congress agenda. Therefore, this is not the first time that Naidu has shown his political flip flops. He has moved in and out of the NDA in 2004, 2013 and now 2018 while also siding with United Front once.
Samajwadi Party vs. Congress
Who can forget the Mulayam Yadav’s outbursts against Congress using the CBI when he had said,
“Congress used to take support by threatening others. I supported the UPA government in bad times but the Congress has put the CBI after me.”
Rahul Gandhi should also remember that the same Mulayam had called Manmohan Singh the weakest prime minister, who was crowned by none other than his mother Sonia Gandhi. In a more vicious attack, in September 2012, Mulayam had said,
“Congress party has reached a stage where it has lost its political credibility and this is reflected in the series of scams that have been unearthed during the UPA regime…”
Moreover, it is interesting to note that on the last day of the parliament’s budget session, sitting right beside Sonia Gandhi, Mulayam Singh wished Prime Minister Modi that the latter came back for a second term. It indicates that many top leaders are themselves not confident about this maha milawat.
BSP vs. Congress
When Mayawati had attacked Congress and BJP for “ignoring” dalit icons BR Ambedkar and BSP founder Kanshi Ram, it speaks of the fundamental difference in the political worldviews of the two parties. While inaugurating the controversial Rs 685 crore memorial, Mayawati had hit out at Congress saying it had no right to criticise when it had raised so many memorials for the Nehru-Gandhi family across the Yamuna bank in Delhi..
JDS vs. Congress
Then JDS which has run another dynastic party in the south shouldn’t forget that HD Deve Gowda was toppled by none other than Congress merely after a year in power. The ongoing tug of war in Karnataka government is yet another illustration of the politics of opportunism that is playing out in full public view.
It is evident that both on seat sharing and the leadership issues Congress and JDS are still undecided as the following headlines suggest.
National Conference vs. Congress
Farooq Abdullah who has often called PoK a part of Pakistan has had a blow hot blow cold relationship with the Congress party sometime going along with a manipulative Congress Party at the Centre, and sometime opposing it with the sole aim of staying in power bartering away the interests of the common people of J & K. Mr Abdullah’s political memories would still have been fresh about how Indira-led Congress would have attempted to dislodge his government in the early 1980s. And we are not even talking of Sheikh Abdullah’s many trips to and out of jail thanks to Congress.
DMK vs. Congress
The NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had revealed in an interview in February last year that he had quit Congress in 1999 because Sonia Gandhi had wanted to become the prime minister after the collapse of the Vajpayee government when it should have been either him or Manmohan Singh.
In January 2003, the Nationalist Congress Party had described Ms Sonia Gandhi as the “main obstacle” for forming an alliance to counter the BJP at the national level.
TMC vs. Congress
Congress shouldn’t forget how Mamata had pulled out of UPA in Sep 2012 reducing the Manmohan Singh government to a minority, let alone Mamata’s opposition on FDI in retail and Lokayukta issues a year before in 2011. Mamata would also remember how Congress has also cozied up with the Left – her most bitter nemesis – at the Centre while seeming to battle it in the states.
The Congress party which is now supporting Mamata Banerjee on Saradha scam had attacked Mamata on the same earlier. We have documented the hypocrisy of Congress in our earlier article.
AAP vs. Congress
The so-called anti-corruption crusader Mr Kejriwal has had no qualms in standing up with the same Congress he had sought to overthrow once. As he increasingly faces challenges in Delhi, there are talks of him even aligning with the Congress in the upcoming elections.
RJD vs. Congress
In March 2009, Lalu had been outraged and had signalled his intent of snapping ties with Congress in Bihar on hearing that his rebel brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav had met Sonia Gandhi.
The Maha milawat among the Rest
So far, we have only sampled the mahamilawat that the Congress has served up. But the current maha milawat goes beyond the Congress – Rest binary. There are multiple milawats of all kinds within the rest of the political parties too. For instance, besides competing with each other in the state, the SP and BSP have in the past been literally at each other’s throats. After the infamous guest house incident in 1995 and the dismissal of Mulayam government, Maya had said on Mulayam,
“India’s name would have been so besmirched because of Mulayam that it is difficult to imagine”,
referring to the latter’s strongarms tactics to remain in power. In January 2003, Mayawati had even accused Raja Bhaiya of plotting her murder, a person who was once given a ministerial berth soon after Mulayam had come to power. Then Mulayam Yadav had accused Mayawati of shielding rape and murder accused in June 2011. In May 2012, Akhilesh had accused BSP of a Rs. 40,000 crore scam. Then In September 2013, Akhilesh had revealed in the state assembly that “Maximum riots took place in the state in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 during the Bahujan Samaj Party regime…” when defending himself over his handling of communal violence in western UP
Then between Mulayam Yadav and Lalu Yadav, the two Yadava strongmen from the Hindi heartland of UP and Bihar, notwithstanding the marital alliance between their two families, the two have quietly aspired for the post of prime ministership, often working at cross-purposes. Mulayam would surely remember how Lalu had said no chance on a question of Mulayam’s prospects of becoming the Prime Minister in 2004. Then in December 2013, Mulayam had called Lalu a Congress sycophant on the issue of Muzaffarnagar riots. In another curious equation between Mamata and Mulayam, Mamata would remember how Mulayam had ditched the former during presidential polls in 2012.
The list is endless if we continue to explore this maha milawat of maha milawats. There are far too many contradictions without a common political programme. Political survival seems to be their only policy, far removed from the interests of the common people. If by any chance they manage to cobble together this maha milawat, the country is possibly headed for mahavinash. But the silver lining is that even if do, it will be surely for a very small period. Before we know it, the mahamilawat will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.