Back to politics

With elections to the Legislative Assemblies in five States having been announced, political scene has dramatically shifted from agitational  politics to electoral politics.

Anna Hazare is back home in Ralegaon Siddhi – at least for the time being.  Arvind Kejriwal has written an article virtually admitting that Anna’s team has run out of ideas about how to run their movement now. Anna and his team have also given up their plans to campaign against the Congress in Uttar Pradesh as well as to launch the jail bharo ideas.

The politicians, irrespective of their political dispensation,  are happy there is no intruder who would venture to play on their turf. The electoral argument will now be sorted out by political parties themselves at the polling booth, not at Ramlila Ground or the Jantar Mantar Road,  particularly in Uttar Pradesh.

Actually, the contest for the five State Assemblies is becoming a kind of dress rehearsal for the next Lok Sabha election due in 2014.

With the Lokpal Bill having got stuck in the Rajya Sabha, post Assembly elections focus will shift to planing future strategies for the Lok Sabha.

While the Congress and the BJP would like to acquire a dominant position in the next Lok Sabha, regional parties would like to see that the next parliamentary polls should elect a hung House.

This is mainly because only in the Lok Sabha  without any clear majority the bargaining power of the regional parties and their leaders can go up in a new coalitional  arrangement at the Centre.

Ms Jayalalitha has already been bragging that her party, AIADMK will determine who should form government. Ms Mamta Bannerji, who declined to support the government on the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha has become characteristically strident against the Congress party.

Other regional leaders like Nitish Kumar of Bihar and Ms Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party are watching the emerging scene avidly. They would like to consolidate their position in their States and then fish in troubled waters in case no political party gains a dominant position in the new Lok Sabha.

This adds the importance of the current State elections results that will be known in the first week of March.

Rahul Gandhi has perhaps the maximum stake in the outcome of  UP elections, the State having 80 seats in the Lok Sabha. If he can improve the Congress tally in UP Assembly, beating BJP, then he can justify his claim to be the leader of the Congress campaign for the Lok Sabha election and make to bid for Prime Ministership.

An impressive Congress tally in UP Assembly will apparently help him to rally the party behind him projecting himself as an election winner.

UP is not less important for the incumbent Chief Ministers —  Mayawati, who is afraid of Mulayam Singh Yadav, eyeing the Chief Ministership of the nation’s largest State that can tilt the outcome at the Centre in 2014.

New alignment of political parties perhaps will become clear in August this year when the nation is to elect a new President and new Vice-President.

The year 2012 can turn out to be a more interesting year for the politicians whose attention had got diverted by the Anna Hazare’s agitation.

In a way, the case for parliamentary democracy has scored over the politics of the street.

– ANI, January 10th, 2012