BY TANVEER JAFRI : The general elections in India, the largest democracy in the world are near completion. All political parties are waiting for 16th May, when the results for 543-member Lok Sabha would be out & after that the game of forming the government would begin. Besides this, the drill for becoming the Prime Minister would begin by some senior leaders. In these elections, first time both the two national parties have announced their Prime Ministerial candidates. While the Indian National Congress has announced the name of Dr. Manmohan Singh for the second successive term, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has declared Lal Krishna Advani as ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’. Though except the Congress & the BJP, no other political party has considerable national presence, in spite of this fact there are many regional & small political parties whose leaders are daydreaming of becoming the Prime Minister of India.
In fact, since Choudhary Charan Singh & Chandrasekhar became the Prime Ministers with the outside support of the Congress, the conception that the person with minimum 272 seats or the leader of the single largest party would become the Prime Minister, has vanished. Apart from that, since the leaders like H.D. Devegowda & I.K. Gujral became Prime Minister, almost every politician is of the view that in this game of numbers anybody can become the Prime Minister.
In view of this political situation, while some leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has its base in Maharashtra, are projecting the name of the party chief Sharad Pawar for the post of Prime Minister, on the other hand there is Mayawati, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh & the chief of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who is ‘marketing’ her candidature in her own style. Last days, the Congress President Sonia Gandhi said in a rally that ‘nowadays there is a fashion of everybody aspiring for the post of Prime Minister’. In fact only a leader like Sonia Gandhi has the right to say this thing because she is the only person in the history of Independent India who rejected the post of Prime Minister after 2004 general elections in spite of being elected the leader of Parliament. By this sacrifice, on one hand she made her opponents speechless, on the other side she also proved that the main motive of politics is not just to capture the post of the Prime Minister. She made the post greedy leaders think by this action.
But the BSP chief Mayawati’s style of politics & thinking is different. Instead of admiring the 2004 sacrifice of Sonia Gandhi; Mayawati is attacking her for the recent statement where Gandhi said ‘nowadays there is a fashion of everybody aspiring for the post of Prime Minister’. Mayawati in her aggressive signature style said that if the ‘Tom, Dick & Harrys’ of every party can become Prime Minister, then why can’t an educated daughter of a dalit (Socially backward Caste)? She is absolutely right. The country had its President & Deputy Prime Minister from dalit community. Therefore, nobody should have problem of a dalit becoming Prime Minister. Following this farsighted approach, the BSP has first time declared its candidates on about 500 seats all over the country, though except Uttar Pradesh, the party doesn’t have any base. The candidature of such large number of people at national level gives rise to two possibilities. One is that Mayawati, following her ‘political style’ may have accepted large amount of money in the guise of giving tickets to upper middle class industrialists. Other possibility is that by catching candidates in such a large number, Mayawati wants to prove that the BSP is not only a regional party; rather it is a national party.
Nobody should have any apprehension regarding the Mayawati becoming Prime Minister. But some analysts who are close watchers of politics of Mayawati are not able to ignore some aspects of her politics. The most important among them is that the BSP, since its inception, from late Kanshi Ram’s Baam Safe & DS4 to until 2007 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, had talked about dalit society. Late Kanshi Ram & Mayawati both used condemned their ‘upper caste’ political opponents. Both these people succeeded in getting a considerable place in the Indian politics as a result of this caste based politics. But after the demise of Kanshi Ram, Mayawati understood that only dalit community can’t help her get full majority in Uttar Pradesh.
This was the reason that Mayawati started a new experiment in Uttar Pradesh. And that was to talk about all castes instead of only dalit community. This was her new formula of ‘Social Engineering’. Mayawati now started hugging the upper caste people, rather than criticizing them. This new experiment got her success & she understood that it is far effective than the older one. The question is that if Mayawati has really risen from limited dalit politics & talks for good of all castes, then why she always calls herself the daughter of a dalit & what she, as a leader of people of ‘all castes’, wants to convey by saying that her opponents don’t want to see a ‘daughter of a dalit’ as Prime Minister?
The wishes of whole nation are with Mayawati. She is also right in saying that if ‘Tom, Dick & Harrys’ can become Prime Ministers, then why can’t she? But indeed, if there are any real opponents of Mayawati in this country, they are in the village of Hoshiarpur in Punjab, where Kanshi Ram was born & from where the imagination of the BSP was realized. Today the whole village of Kanshi Ram is praying that Mayawati should not become Prime Minister because they feel that if Mayawati had not done justice with Kanshi Ram & his relatives, what she would do for the country? And another strong opponent of Mayawati is the chief of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan. Mayawati may feel herself as the messiah of dalits but another important dalit leader of India, Paswan feels that her politics is anti-dalit. It is too be seen in which direction wind blows after 16th May & how her experiment help her in transition from the Chief Minister to the post of Prime Minister.