March 30, 2013 was just yet another day, in the life of Indians like any other day, and so witnessed political games like it happens on any other day. But on certain days, the democratic ironies of these political games get so pathetic that they start sounding comical. That is the ugly aspect of it because it shows growing apathy among the masses on the irrelevance of the present political class elected by them. This apathy blocks the drive to fight the seriousness of the problem by wrapping it with mundane ignorance.
So sample this:
After a brief lull, the Beni Prasad Verma-Mulayam Singh Yadav verbal duel got back to its full life again. Beni, the Congress party member of parliament (MP) from Uttar Pradesh and the Union Steel Minister, started firing shots again at his old colleague, Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav. Incidentally, Beni left the SP boat before the 2007 UP assembly polls to join the Congress party ship later in 2009 to harness the greener pastures.
But Beni has been unable to create any ground for the Congress party in UP where the party is nothing but a dead political entity in spite of the fact that the Nehru-Gandhi family hails from the state and Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are elected MPs from traditional Congress party bastions, Amethi and Rae Bareli. And if we go by the media reports, even Priyanka Gandhi is preparing to take electoral dip and Rae Bareli could well be her address too, after the next Lok Sabha elections.
Ok, but here it is Beni Vs Mulayam. Many consider Beni, as influential Kurmi leader in the past, as the political mentor of Mulayam Singh Yadav. With dwindling Kurmi politics in the state, he was gradually sidelined in the SP. After leaving the SP, he couldn’t leave any political impact through his outfit, Samajwadi Kranti Dal. He had left the SP at a bitter note and the verbal crackers that we are witnessing to this day have their genesis in that.
So, on March 30, Beni, in his usual bitter tongue, proclaimed the next Lok Sabha elections would indeed be the funeral of the SP restricting the party to just four of the 80 Lok Sabha seats from UP. He also alleged Mulayam to cheat Muslims on Babri issue.
Though, we didn’t see Mulayam taking charge on this, we had Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav and some others filling the gap.
Akhilesh, the UP CM, said it would be the Congress party’s doom and the party would not be able to win more than 4-5 seats. SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav reiterated Mulayam’s words saying it was Verma’s frustration due to the two successive defeats of his son in the assembly elections.
Mulayam’s remarks came a day before in an interview (1): “Beni Prasad Verma has no status. His son contested elections and he lost even his deposit. He lost all 5 seats from the constituency where he is an MP. He is just flattering Congress. He behaves as if he’s the only leader left in Congress now.”
Another SP General Secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said Beni had lost his mental balance and demanded his removal from the Union Cabinet. The recent episode had begun some days ago with Beni accusing Mulayam of having terror links. Mulayam’s party made it an issue and disrupted the Parliament’s proceedings creating pandemonium. The party was demanding apology and Beni’s removal from the Union Cabinet.
Beni had to apologise to Mulayam over his comments as the support withdrawal by the DMK on Sri Lankan Tamils issue put the government’s survival on thin edge making it to placate the SP to manage the numbers in the Lok Sabha. The apology, it seems, somewhat softened Mulayam Singh Yadav because we didn’t hear anyone from the SP reiterating the demand to remove Beni from the Union Cabinet until on March 30.
With the latest tirade, the pitch was high again on March 30 renewing the demand of Beni’s removal.
And interestingly, some media sources reported that the UPA government was considering removing Beni from the Union Cabinet. An NDTV report said (2): “Samajwadi Party sources say the Congress has assured the party that controversial Union minister Beni Prasad Verma – who has been relentless in his public attacks on the SP and its chief Mulayam Yadav – will be dropped from the Union cabinet.”
Let’s see what happens next. Let’s wait to see how this sources-based news plays out in reality. But there was more in the store.
On March 31, a day after the latest run of jibes came the heavy punch from Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam’s brother and a minister in the UP government. He declared Beni a smuggler. He said: “You all know and you have also read that Beni Prasad smokes a lot. These days he is smoking a lot… he mixes something in the tobacco. He should undergo treatment for this. You have read also that he is into smuggling of opium. He mixes charas in his cigarettes. He is doing both these things. So his mind will be affected.”
So decorated words by our policymakers, for our policymakers – comically interesting! Isn’t it?
THE SUPPORT WITHDRAWAL GAME: THE SP-CONGRESS FRIENDLY FIGHT
The Congress party: We don’t need support.
The Samajwadi Party: Mulayam calls Congress cheat.
The Samajwadi Party: We won’t withdraw support.
The Congress party: The party doesn’t support Beni’s statements.
Even if it can sail without it, the Congress party needs Mulayam’s SP to manage comfortable numbers in the Parliament. The Congress party forcing Beni to apologise to Mulayam over the ‘terror links remarks’ validates this. Then there are other validating indicators.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram was in Lucknow on March 29. He shared stage with Akhilesh Yadav during an event to launch 300 bank branches in the state. Reportedly, he lauded Akhilesh Yadav and promised financial help to the state.
A regime at the centre of an outright criticism for failing to deliver during one year of Akhilesh’s tenure got a distinction on performance from the Harvard educated Chidambaram. He went on to say (3): “Akhilesh is a young Chief Minister. He has started his career well. He and his team willl do the best to bring Uttar Pradesh up in every single way. I assure the Chief Minister that the Government of India is committed to stand by Uttar Pradesh in its development”.
Clearly, Chidambaram’s act was just a placating one highlighting the fact the Congress party needs Mulayam’s support to avoid the heightened pressure points because other supporters after the SP withdraws (existing ones like the BSP or the prospective ones like the JD(U) or the AITC) would be excruciatingly demanding.
It is further validated by the fact that the Chidambaram act came a day after Manmohan Singh remarked that the SP withdrawing the support had real chances to happen.
But, it is the other way round too, it seems. The SP too, needs the Indian National Congress boat to sail through in UP.
With a rapidly rising anti-incumbency, the state government needs funds to offer and maintain the dole-outs it has promised to the electorate. And see, Mr. Chidambaram’s assurance is already in. It adds up to assurance on Beni’s removal from the Union Cabinet. The party has already made a safe distance disowning Beni’s remarks midst the reports of Beni’s removal.
So who says, Mulayam is going to withdraw the support soon. The public war of words is just a mask. Yes, the Beni Prasad Verma issue is a personal one but that is being dealt with, it looks. Apart from it, the whole war of words game is a friendly one.
The SP would not like to deliver the message that it is with the Congress party on issues like petroleum price hikes and rising overall inflation or on policy issues like quota in promotion or the women’s reservation that directly affect its brand of politics and hence chances in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Also, the Congress party is an opposition party of the SP in UP with Rahul Gandhi trying to resurrect the lost political base in the state and that can never happen in alliance with the SP, at least in the public eyes.
Therefore, the solution is mask the meanings and play for verbal duels. So, Mulayam Singh Yadav calls the Congress party cheat but says his party won’t withdraw the support from the UPA as it would allow the communal forces to pitch in. A worn out but ‘play safe’ statement and enactment, isn’t it?
So, where does this all boil to?
Keep on watching this friendly duel for more friendly jibes. Someday, the comical theatre of the pathetic may well turn into the hilarious rhapsody.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/
(1) Beni continues verbal attack on Mulayam, March 30, 2013 – http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/politics/beni-continues-verbal-attackmulayam_844509.html
(2) Congress will ask Beni Prasad to quit govt: Samajwadi Party sources, March 30, 2013 – http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/congress-will-ask-beni-prasad-to-quit-govt-samajwadi-party-sources-348198
(3) Chidambaram praises Akhilesh, assures financial help to Uttar Pradesh, March 29, 2013 – http://ibnlive.in.com/news/chidambaram-praises-akhilesh-assures-financial-help-to-uttar-pradesh/381862-37-64.html