Friday 14 December 2007

An alliance the regional party be averse of !

Written by Anil Singh

After embarking the ruling bandwagon, the only recognised regional party of the state- the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), has now given indications that it is not averse to having a pre-poll alliance with the BJP, in the next Assembly elections. This came out at the recently held biannual general meeting of the regional party held some days back.

If the regional party actually goes ahead with its alliance plans, then it’ll not be wrong to believe that, with this, yet another regional party operating in the Indian political arena has started the process of its merger with a big national party or in less severe assessment stalled its growth as a distinct entity.

Although the above thought seems a bit pessimistic, but there’re strong reasons to believe the same.

Before coming to these reasons, a brief look at the political environment of the state will make things more clear.

The present political stage in the state is occupied by two big national parties- INC and BJP, along with five or six other national parties- that have insignificant share at present, plus one recognised regional party the UKD.

So, if those national parties which don’t have noticeable presence in the state and which are trying to build their vote bank in the state at present are kept aside, only three political parties appear to be present in the state at present.

Out of these three, INC and BJP seem to be in the position of forming a government in near future, with the UKD supporting the ruling one.

Another thing that begs a close look is the issues that the state can offer to these three political parties in the next general elections. Although all sort of issues can surface during an election year, still they can be broadly divided in to three categories.

The first category consists of only one issue-that is Development.

The second category consists of issues which have a pro state or region orientation, like the transfer of state capital to some other location, land sealing, domicile and reorganization of constituencies.

The third and last category includes issues which have more to with the national politics rather than the state. These include issues which have proved to be vote generating for a political party irrespective of the geography and demography. Although presence of multiple issues like caste, religion, ethnicity is seen in this category in most of the other states, in Uttarakhand only one such issue is present, that is religion and to be precise the saffron or Hindutva politics of BJP.

So this is the present and most probably the future political picture of the state.

Now let’s see what belongs to whom. As the Development is the basic notion of governance, this only issue in the first category belongs to all the three players. So irrespective of the core vote bank issues, this issue is a must pick for every player.

The issues in the second category belong to the player which takes a pro state or region bias. Although, any of the three players can take pro state or region bias, it suits more to the party operating regionally than those that have a national presence. The reason is simple a pro state or region bias in one state affects the power arithmetic of a national party in some other state, where it is in power or aspires to be in near future. So by shear logic, the second category belongs solely to the regional party, in this case the UKD.

The third category, with a stand alone issue of saffron politics, solely belongs to the BJP, which is still known for its saffron undertones.

Thus if all the three parties contest an election independently, development will be the only issue with the INC; UKD will have development plus second category issues or pro state issues; and the BJP will have development plus the issue in the third category i.e. saffron politics.

In such a scenario, UKD seems to be in more advantage than the rest.

But in case UKD and BJP form an alliance in the next assembly polls and Congress goes independently, the above arithmetic of who owns what changes considerably.

In such a case, though the Congress will still have the development issue to rake, the BJP will gain at the cost of UKD. The reason is simple, although it will be easy for the BJP to gain from the pro-state issues belonging to the UKD, and it readily will, it is almost impossible for the UKD to gain from the BJP’s saffron politics.

So in such a scenario, BJP seems to be way ahead of the others, as it will have all the issues on its platter.

So the alliance the regional party says it is not averse to looks more parasitic than symbiotic (mutually beneficial one).

That’s why the UKD should be averse to such an alliance, otherwise…much is said above!

If you also feel strongly about the situation or have something that we can share in this regard, kindly have your say.

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