‘Party lines’ were never as thin as they are in today’s politics!

Rohit Chandavarkar
Monday, 2 December 2019

Alliance of political outfits that are of opposite ideology is not new in India. Even 42 years ago in 1977 an alliance was formed against Indira Gandhi by several parties who were of opposite political ideologies. Right wingers sat with leftists in the Janata Party at that time to form the government. But leaders from a particular political party did not jump over to another party that believed in totally opposite political ideology. They remained loyal to their political faith. What we see today is chaos!

Just as we thought that the month long political drama in Maharashtra was finally over and all the dust had settled, suddenly on Monday morning, social media started buzzing with rumours of the possibility of BJP leader Pankaja Munde leaving the party and perhaps making some decision to join some other political outfit. After this rumour went viral on social media, there were even more rumours of one or two other senior leaders wanting to switch over from their present party to some other party. The rumours spread mainly because people of Maharashtra have actually seen so many defections in the past few months that they now believe ‘anything is possible’

Looking at the number of leaders and activists who have crossed over from one party to another in Maharashtra in the past two or three months one can clearly say the so called “party lines” were never so thin in the state!

Top leaders of the BJP in the state rushed to hold media briefings in Mumbai to clarify that Pankaja Munde was not going to leave the party and what was being discussed in social media and regional news television channels was only speculation, however there was no clarity coming from Pankaja Munde herself or her camp and the speculations were rife mainly because she removed the word BJP from her profile on her social media accounts and said that she would be announcing some important decision on 12th December which is her father Gopinath Munde’s birthday.

Some thought this was Pankaja Munde’s method of putting pressure on the party leadership so that she gets a senior position in the state council or vidhan parishad. What Pankaja actually does will be clear only on 12th December but her current action has given rise to talk in the social and political circles about how, not just in Maharashtra, but even at national level, “party lines” have become so thin. Congress’ national spokesperson crossing over to Shiv Sena, Congress’ state spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh crossing over to BJP, NCP’s Mumbai unit chief crossing over to Shiv Sena, BJP’s MP from Vidarbha crossing over to Congress. It’s an endless list of defections that the country is currently witnessing. Loyalty to political Ideology is the last thing on the leader’s mind when he or she is doing this!

It is not new that parties get into alliance with other political outfits that are of opposite ideology. Even 42 years ago in 1977 an alliance was formed against Congress party’s Indira Gandhi by several parties who were of diverse or opposite political ideologies. Right wingers sat with leftists and socialists in the Janata Party at that time to form the government.

Similar thing again happened when the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and came to power in 1999. A leader such as George Fernandes, who was a leftist union leader was made the convener of the NDA and socialists like Nitish Kumar were ministers in the BJP led NDA government. But leaders from a particular party, did not jump over to another party that believed in opposite political ideology. They remained loyal to their political faith. What is seen today, can be described as complete chaos. One cannot predict who from which party will cross over tomorrow to which party! Credibility is at rock bottom as a result of this.

All political parties are also to blame for this because they are allowing and encouraging these senseless defections. The Congress and NCP encouraged defections by taking leaders from Shiv Sena on board in the 1990s, the BJP, which always took high moral ground, is seen encouraging defections in the past four five years and Shiv Sena too is not allowing leaders from other parties to defect and join them. The loser in all this is the voter whose faith is broken and the value that is missing totally is that thing known as ‘credibility’!

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