Janata Parivar Unity: Acche Din are not ComingWhat happens when chest thumping satraps of this or that caste or community, with king sized egos, try to come together in order to consolidate their vote banks and fight a perceived common political enemy? Their respective egos, buttressed by their chamchas, advise them to lead the united front and they do not yield the ground to others. Hence, the front either does not happen or if it does, breaks down in a few months.
By Sunil Garodia
The current fiasco over the much hyped unity in the so-called Janata parivar (comprising of the splinter groups of one man shows that emerged after the break down of the Janata Party) followed the same trend. Laloo Prasad, Nitish Kumar and Mulayam Singh Yadav thought they had everything sewed up and they were very excited at fighting the BJP unitedly in Bihar, with it being a trial for bigger things in UP and then the whole of India. But mutual distrust among these leaders is greater than their fear of losing the elections.
The reasons for this distrust are many. First of all, all of them claim to represent the same constituency of voters Ã¢â¬" the backward classes, the so-called other backward classes (OBCÃ¢â¬â¢s) and the minorities. In the backward classes, they have managed to break down equations so fine that each leader claims the support of one or the other class. In theory, if they unite they should be assured of all such votes. But in practice, none of the leaders is willing to let go of his hold over the caste he represents. Secondly, most of these leaders have a deep distrust for each other on account of real or perceived back stabbing in the past and fear of repetitions of the same in the future. Instead of unitedly fighting the Ã¢â¬ËdevilÃ¢â¬â¢, their egos are pushing them individually towards the deep sea.
The present unity effort has fallen flat mainly because Lalu Prasad had asked Nitish Kumar not to include two persons Ã¢â¬" Lalan Singh and P K Shahi Ã¢â¬" in his cabinet as they were perceived by Lalu to be the ones who sent him to jail. But Nitish did not heed LaluÃ¢â¬â¢s request. Now Lalu thinks that Nitish will indulge in more such Ã¢â¬ËbetrayalsÃ¢â¬â¢ if they fight elections under a common party. Lalu is also apprehensive that Nitish and his party will corner most of the prized portfolios if the new set up wins the polls. Further, he does not like the emergence of Nitish Kumar as the champion of the downtrodden and the minorities. He feels that the new set up will not give him the eminence his supposed stature demands. Hence, he has forgotten all about the BJP and is now concentrating all his fire on Nitish, including making overtures to Jiten Majhi, Nitish KumarÃ¢â¬â¢s bÃÂªte noire.
As it is the strong caste based overtones in Bihar have meant that all parties are doing things they will not normally do. The BJP has started wooing the OBCÃ¢â¬â¢s and the Mahadalits to retain their support, as they had voted for it en masse to give it a spectacular 31 seats out of 40 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state. Nitish is bending backwards to win upper caste support, as their 15% votes can tilt the scales in many constituencies. In such a scenario, a united Janata parivar would have given the BJP a run for its money. But for that to happen, each leader will have to take a haircut. That does not seem likely now.