JANATA DAL: 1988 TO 2015 – THE STORY REMAINS THE SAME

After much downs and few ups, six factions of the erstwhile ‘Janata Dal’ or evergreen ‘Janata Parivar’ came together to save India’s secular fabric – at least that is what they had claim.

And in process, they thought, they could make a front to revive their dwindling political futures.

But they could not or did not deliberate on ‘state Vs national’ aspect of their ‘coming together’.

Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and Janata Dal (United) in Bihar are fighting to win the upcoming elections in their respective states.

An assembly election loss, after a humiliating show in the Lok Sabha polls last year, would be a heavy burden for Samajwadi Party to bear. The party may not recover from it. Losing assembly polls in Bihar, after complete decimation in the Lok Sabha polls, will make Nitish Kumar and Janata Dal (United), irrelevant in national and state politics.

Rashtriya Janata Dal, after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam, is fighting a battle that he has already lost. An association with his corruption taint may be detrimental electorally. Samajwadi Janata Party exists only in three words, literally. Janata Dal (Secular) is losing its appeal in Karnataka.

The family head of the family show, Indian National Lok Dal, has been jailed for 10 years in a corruption case and his party failed to make any mark in the Lok Sabha as well as in the assembly polls.

And these six parties came together to form a combined entity together.

But it was an alliance of political opportunism with no political pragmatism.

Primary issues, potent enough to derail the process, like name, symbol and main party office of the new political entity were not worked out. And they remain elusive.

On ground, four of these parties have no or very less political currency left. RJD may work some political miracle given the prominence of ‘caste factor’ in the Bihar polls, but even that is not possible for others of the lot.

SP and JD(U) are restricted to UP and Bihar only – in their respective states. And they are fighting battles of political survival in retaining these states.

So, there is no conflict of interest – at least politically. SP can help JD(U) and RJD in Bihar and these two parties can do the same for SP in UP. But that needs prior understanding, that wasn’t tried to work out before the ‘grand Janata Parivar merger’ was announced.

After he left Congress, Vishwanath Pratap Singh had formed Janata Dal in 1988 to extend his political interests and as there was no ideology behind the move but a political purpose to somehow form the government, the party started witnessing splits fuelled by political ambitions.

It was Chandra Shekhar’s prime-ministerial ambition behind emergence of Samajwadi Janata Party or Mulayam Singh Yadav’s regional ambitions behind SP. Then Nitish Kumar and George Fernandes walked out with Samta Party. Lalu Yadav did his part by forming RJD in 1997. Om Prakash Chautala started his political family with Indian National Lok Dal. Nitish Kumar had one more split when he split Samta Party and formed Janata Dal (United) in 2003. Then there are more.

Since its formation, if Janata Dal has anything constant to talk about, it is its split after split at regular intervals – over a dozen and counting – splits fuelled by political ambitions.

Though Mulayam Singh Yadav has not walked out of the ‘reunited but still unnamed Janata Parivar’, he has clearly left the two parties of the new entity in Bihar. As told, he is feeling insulted and humiliated over the treatment meted out to his party in Bihar – by the political brethren of his ‘reunited Janata Parivar’.

But the real reason lies in securing the regional power centers first. The leverage that the combined entity can give in national politics comes later. If there is no regional political currency left, thinking of being a force at the national level will be nothing more than daydreaming.

UP being SP’s only power corridor, it needs to save it first, pooling and exhausting all resources to fight the wave of huge anti-incumbency to win the 2017 assembly polls. And it would avoid embarrassing and electorally sensitive elements like aligning with Lalu Yadav and Congress, the party that is its opponent in the state.

So, it was a ‘decision as per the political norms’ when he decided to walk out of the alliance in Bihar. In fact, by doing so, he can reap the benefit in a better way. SP has always been non-existent in Bihar. So, it doesn’t take the state seriously. Now, if the election returns, somehow, with better results this time, with the party again fighting on all seats, it would be a talking point for the UP assembly polls. After all, Mulayam can think of cornering some of Yadav and Muslim votes there – with increasing political isolation of Lalu Yadav (and Nitish would not like to see a politically stronger Mulayam Singh Yadav in Bihar).

Now, it is to be seen whether Sharad Yadav and Lalu Yadav become successful in brining Mulayam back into the alliance – as they are claiming.

But the development has clearly indicated one thing – and again – that Janata Dal was a loose amalgamation of different political groups which had come together to get into the power corridors and it had no ideology of its own – and every ‘satrap’ kept his political interests before the interest of combined entity. That led to its premature or early death.

In 1988, it was in the name of opposing Congress. In 2015, it is in the name of stopping BJP. In 1988, it had a combined identity, a name and symbol. In 2015, the ‘merged’ parties are still fighting elections as separate parties. In 1988, there was no political ideology to back the formation of Janata Dal. In 2015, the story remains the same.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S COMING TOGETHER OF JANATA PARIVAR HAS TO BE SEEN IN THIS CONTEXT..

It is a ‘parivar’ where family members want to maintain their own homes, their own signs and their own identities. And while wanting to do so, the resourceful of them want to impose what they are, on others, expecting that others would follow the suit.

Unlike a family, they are still together, waiting for the signs to emerge that who can claim the stewardship, who can push for the symbol and who can draw the identity mileage.

That is the story of ‘Janata Parivar’, a group of six political outfits – Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal-United (JDU), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), H. D. Devegowda’s Janata Del-Secular (JDS) and Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), the party of former prime minister Chandashekhar – that trace their origin the once relevant Janata Dal (JD).

The three most important parties of this ‘Parivar’ are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two Hindi heartland states with huge populations and therefore powerful legislative equation at state level and in Parliament.

UP has the SP government where elections are due in early 2017 and Akhilesh Yadav’s government will be facing huge anti-incumbency. JDS is limited only to Karnataka, INLD to Haryana. SJP is just in records. It doesn’t exist politically. Bihar has the JDU government. Elections are due in the state in few months and JDU is finding it difficult to fight to retain the chief-minister’s chair in spite of the development claims by its Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The RJD, that has ruled the state for many year, is fighting the survival battle after court-conviction of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Except the JD(U), all these parties are family businesses, run like that only.

And all these parties are facing threat of being pushed out of power or being made irrelevant by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP’s clear mandate in Lok Sabha elections, its sweeping performance in UP and Bihar and its impressive victories in states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, among others, created a challenge before the political spectrum to handle what was facing them.

Political parties including Congress are answering it with their own devised methods. These parties opted to merge under the banner of the JD to present a formidable front that was strong enough to take on the BJP, even if they had taken separate routes to promote personal egos and personal interests.

Lalu and Nitish have been long-time rivals in Bihar and the RJD’s ‘jungleraj’ used to be main campaigning plank of Nitish Kumar and the BJP. That was until the BJP was in alliance with the JDU. Now, Lalu and Nitish are together, and are the main targets of the BJP.

Well, we never expected Indian politics to play out ethical games. Every outfit is engaged in taking pragmatic moves to further political interests, including political survival.

Today’s announcement by the ‘Janata Parivar’ of ‘contesting Bihar polls together’ is an extension of those efforts.

We heard a long ago that these six outfits, having their origin in the JD, would merge and form a new party. As expected, nothing has moved on this front. There are issues like ‘name and symbol’ of the new outfit. Obviously, the party with strongest electoral presence will leverage the position better. Outcome of the Bihar polls will be a logical way to assess that. If Nitish makes a comeback, the decision will shift to the UP polls (as expected). If the JDU doesn’t perform well in these polls, the SP may gain the upper hand.

So, it’s a wait and watch game – for them, for other political folks..and for us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THOUGHTS AFTER ‘PROPOSED’ DISPLAY OF BONHOMIE TO REVIVE JANATA DAL (1)

THE QUESTIONS

FIRST THOUGHTS ON ‘PROPOSED’ BONHOMIE TO REVIVE JANATA DAL
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/first-thoughts-on-proposed-bonhomie-to-revive-janata-dal/

1. Why the name Samajwadi Janata Dal? Only to placate the parties involved (Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal United, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal Secular, Indian National Lok Dal, Samajwadi Janata Party)!

2. Why not Janata Dal? Are the technical issues involved, if any, so nagging?  After all, irrespective of it’s political fate so far, the name is well entrenched in the Indian psyche.

3. Nitish Kumar quoted ‘ideology’ behind the unification move. If Janata Dal, formed in 1988, indeed had any ideology and if that ideology is the reason behind this latest effort, would it not be logical to come under the political symbolism of the name Janata Dal?

4. A new name, trying to get its validity from a so-called old ideology, and trying to justify the move with it – doesn’t it justify that the Janata Dal formed by V. P. Singh in October 1988 – with people from parties of different ideologies and purposes (including V . P. Singh himself) – had no ideology of it’s own and was an opportunist coming together of people to score on political front?

5. Moving on from the name, even if we go by the logic of ‘in the name of ideology’, how can it keep the parties together when it miserably failed in its original avatar?

6. Will the ‘warring’ factions (parties) of the Janata Parivar be able to put aside their differences (even if counting in the upcoming wedding of Mulayam’s nephew with Lalu’s daughter) given the fact that history of Janata Dal is replete with split after split, beginning in 1990, within two years of it’s formation, with as recent as in 2010?

7. What is the difference this time that can work in its favour?

8. Isn’t it a desperate call to survive in the Narendra Modi era of politics, that, after winning the Lok Sabha and assembly polls comprehensively, is looking poised to win Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the two states run by the ‘big daddy’ constituents of the old Janata Dal with a new name now, if at all an officially unified entity is born with its own election symbol?

9. Going with the political reality of the day, the state oriented element looks logical. But on projecting nationally, the bonhomie looks firmly fragile with three big prime-ministerial ambitions – Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav (even if he is legally forced out of active politics at the moment – yes, the daughter factor may lead him to side with Mulayam in case he is not in the race). Shouldn’t we look at the window that shows the relevance and the future of the formation in context of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar assembly polls only?

10. With just 15 Lok Sabha and 30 Rajya Sabha MPs and presence in just four states, will they be able to project the identity of the ‘unified’ or the ‘new entity’ nationally?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FIRST THOUGHTS ON ‘PROPOSED’ BONHOMIE TO REVIVE JANATA DAL

THE QUESTIONS

1. Janata Dal to be revived again – a desperate call to survive or a craving to fill the void of the ideological vacuum that the numerous divisions of the party caused or a well thought political bonhomie to capitalize on the political currency of the different parties under one umbrella?

2. If a desperate call to survive in the Narendra Modi era of Indian politics, will the ‘warring’ factions of the Janata Parivar be able to put aside their differences and clash of egos, as evident so far while going by the political history of Janata Dal?

3. Would the name Janata Dal be sanctified again or would we see extended deliberations over it?

4. If intended so, if at all, how would the exercise be given an ideological makeover?

5. Before the name (or even after it), would naming the leader of the unified parties be the main contention?

6. Who would be the big daddy of all – Uttar Pradesh and Bihar? Samajwadi Party with its government in Uttar Pradesh and Janata Dal (United) with its government in Bihar are equally poised to call the shots.

7. Shouldn’t we expect a name right now as the prime-ministerial ambitions have no space to raise heads at the moment? Parliamentary elections are over four years away and BJP is on a strong pitch with complete numbers on its own.

8. What would be the immediate goal of this unified entity or the revived Janata Dal?

9. Who will be the convenor or the coordinator to manage the personalities like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar, the three names with ‘strong’ prime-ministerial ambitions or H. D. Deve Gowda, a former prime minister?

10. Would this ‘revived Janata Dal’ see further revival with more factions (or parties or people) of the erstwhile Janata Dal coming to join it?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/