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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

It is natural for the opposition to build an anti-corruption plank against UPA

Given the slew of mega corruption charges against the UPA regime, it is natural for the Opposition to try and build an anti-corruption plank. Such anti-corruption politics always runs on the steam of presumed popular anger against the rulers and the credibility of the proponents.

So, as L K Advani launches a nationwide yatra against corruption from Jai Prakash Narayan's birthplace in Bihar and Anna Hazare, his anti-Congress crusade from Bhajan Lal's Hisar in Haryana, both protagonists are as much on a test of credibility as the leadership of the Congress/UPA regime.

Evidently, the driving force for both Advani and Anna Hazare, Patel-II and Gandhi-II to their respective, politically-converging supporters, is their opposition to the Congress. Both LK and Anna also have the strategic understanding that, to take on the Congress and its rainbow political constituency, they need a plank that can unite all anti-Congress formations.

They think the anti-corruption war cry can remove all fault lines within the larger Opposition. So, notwithstanding his admiration for JP, LK is actually dreaming to become an aged version of VP Singh just as the projected Gandhi-II is trying to be a modern-day JP.

Knockoffs and recycled themes are admission to lack ofnew ideas when confronted with a radically-changed post-Mandal/Babri Masjid Indian politics. Here, the socially-empowered and demanding sections, aspiring youth and upwardly-mobile middle class call the shots. That is why the NDA's shrill 2004 and 2009 campaigns without credible leadership, plank or partners took a sound beating.

That is why the likes of Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi, products of the JP movement, now try, successfully, to master the new grammar of politics and governance to capture the imagination of the new voters but don't mind playing gracious hosts to L K Advani at JP's village, after his own party's chief minister ambushed his plan for a Gujarat yatra launch.

LK shows determination, at age 84, to stand up to the RSS bosses and his own party colleagues who have been trying every trick to force him to declare he is not a prime ministerial candidate any more. Just as he never took back his take on Jinnah, despite collective battering from his own political family, Advani is doggedly holding on, thinking he will be the PM if UPA-II collapses midway.

His dream exposes the split within the Parivar right when his yatra hopes to unite the anti-Congress forces! We will revisit Advani's month-long yatra if it survives the internal shelling. Till then, over to a more colourful Anna act at Hisar.

One should welcome Anna's decision, finally, to play an active and open role in electoral politics. Because that helps us get a better view of a disconnect in what he preaches and what he practices. Anna always asks people to answer his questions in black and white. "Are you for or against corruption?" "Are you for or against Jan Lokpal?" "Are you against or for the Congress?"


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