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 –




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 –


Or the real tea-seller?

Narendra Modi or Lalu Prasad Yadav?

‘I am the real one.’ – Lalu Yadav has made this startling claim in response to Narendra Modi’s efforts to draw electoral mileage from his tea-selling past.

Before this, we did not know that we had any other political dignitary that Mr. Modi from the tea-selling background.

But, Mr. Yadav’s words imply that Mr. Modi’s claims are not to be taken seriously.

Lalu Yadav has contended that Narendra Modi’s claims of being a tea-seller in his childhood days are not creditworthy. Mr. Yadav says he is the original (real) tea-seller of the Indian politics.

Lalu Yadav, who has been notoriously famous for his funny remarks and bantered speeches, said he never found it necessary to tell people about his tea-selling childhood days.

Modesty it may be, but, we cannot say this was a compassionate decision. Whatever be the truth behind Mr. Modi’s tea-boy time, he has eternally been on it, claiming and promoting his tea-selling past. He has been a durable brand ambassador for the tea-sellers across the country.

Lalu Yadav’s tea-selling background could have been a bonus on that. The additional branding mileage that they would have got with Lalu’s endorsement could well have expedited their arrival on the political scene much before. Tea-sellers should sue Lalu Yadav for this unnecessary delay.

Okay, that is for the loss of the tea-vendors and they need to think about that. But Lalu, too, has harmed his political prospects by proclaiming his tea-selling background so late. Suppose, if he plans to counter Modi’s ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ by launching a parallel discussion-on-tea sort of exercise, he would not be able to gain support from the tea-vendors.

And given the prospect of significant political returns by this branding exercise (reaching around 200 million people in 300 cities same day, same time, every week, until the Lok Sabha polls are held), Mr. Yadav’s reaction is natural.

But, how can this be Mr. Modi’s fault if Lalu Yadav could not see the opportunity to gain electoral mileage from the mighty cup of tea, part of almost every Indian’s daily routine, at home, in office, at the roadside tea-stall? If Lalu acted late then why is he blaming Mr. Modi now?

Also, Mr. Yadav needs to blame Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar before blaming Mr. Modi, the senior Congress politician whose ill-timed jibe at Narendra Modi’s tea-selling past gave Mr. Modi an idea to exploit the public sentiments by connecting to the people during their tea-time at tea-vending spots, dotted across the country, to sell his ‘for the common man’ dreams in the typical common-man-way.

Mr. Aiyar, a member of Lalu Yadav’s political ally Congress, should have discussed first it with Mr. Yadav, before targeting Mr. Modi. Based on his vast political experience and his magnanimous silence on his tea-selling background, Mr. Yadav could have advised Mr. Aiyar well.

But that is a lost opportunity now. Like with several other precedents, this time too, Ahmedabad has scored over Patna.

In the age of hyped up political branding exercises, Mr. Modi has moved first and has accelerated fast.

Whether he was a tea-boy or not doesn’t matter now. Who’s the real one, Mr. Modi or Mr. Yadav, is a futile question in the prevailing political circumstances with Mr. Modi clearly jetting ahead with his first-mover advantage.

Mr. Yadav, better luck next time.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


On one side, there is going to be this rat-race to take credit on who got the Lokpal loaded finally into the enactment line of the legislative procedure, with a rush to loot the ‘certificate’ of being the anti-corruption harbinger in a country where corruption has been at alarming levels and where it is has just found the status of being the central poll plank to become the dominant factor in the Indian elections with Aam Aadmi Party’s stunning debut in Delhi, ironically, the events happening concurrently, once again confirm, on the same day, the duplicitous nature of these claimants and their make-shift honest intentions.

Though, there is an amicable atmosphere prevailing right now in sharing the mileage from the outcome, it is bound to get stinky as the Lok Sabha polls approach near. And the ones in the ruling coalition, who will be crying over the top in taking the credit – their acts, on the day itself, were defying their very intent.

Consider this.

Lalu Yadav, who has been convicted and sentenced with five years of imprisonment under anti-corruption charges leveled against him in the much publicized Fodder Scam of Bihar, is given a grand welcome, after he walks out of jail after getting bail from the Supreme Court, after spending 8 weeks in the jail.

There was elation. There was jubilation. And there was celebration. One could not say if there was anything demoralizing being felt on his part, in the camp of Lalu Yadav, the former Bihar chief minister and the former rail minister. It seemed after being convicted and jailed, Lalu has got his acceptability even more increased.

And this Lalu says Sonia Gandhi, the number one in Congress, in the UPA and in the government and politically the most powerful person in India (save some big corporate names) called him to express her happiness on getting bail and walking out of jail. A Times of India report quoted him: “Congress president Sonia Gandhi had telephoned me after my release from Ranchi jail. She graciously extended greetings to me and expressed happiness over my release, Prasad told reporters.”

Okay, we do not have any right to comment on if it is a personal matter. But once it gets into the domain of forging political alliances, it becomes a public matter. And the way Lalu is speaking on forging alliance with Congress and supporting the Congress PM candidate for the upcoming general elections gives us valid reason to raise questions.

It is sure we are going to have another addition in list of repetitions that Rahul would tells us again and again in his electoral rallies – we gave you the Lokpal, we passed the Lokpal Bill, like he claims about RTI, Food Bill and other policy measures.

How pathetic, how phony, how ironic it would sound then claiming to be the anti-corruption crusaders while forging alliances with those convicted by the courts for their corrupt activities!

But, then, it not the first time for them, the politicians! Isn’t it?

Yes, but the two developments coincided ironically on the same day, when reported today, giving us yet another reason to remain beware of the difference between what our politicians say and what they do; to remain alert to the disconnect between their promises and their intent.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


October 2013

It was a day of justice when Lalu Yadav was, finally, jailed for his involvement in the multi-billion Rs. Fodder Scam of Bihar by a Ranchi court. The once undisputed king of Bihar politics and a central figure in the national politics is behind bars now.

But if we go by the post-sentencing analyses and if the words come out to be true, it sounds the ‘justice’ delivered was the villain and the convicted was the victim. It is worrying for Indian democracy. Let’s see what some of the headlines said:

Sympathy will help RJD regain power – The Pioneer

Arrest injects blood in RJD – The Telegraph

Jailed for five years in fodder scam, Lalu still a factor in Bihar

Lalu Prasad Yadav will bounce back: RJD leaders

Lalu’s traditional vote bank unlikely to erode

Fearing political loss, parties refuse comment on Lalu Prasad’s verdict

Lalu sent to jail: Chhapra seethes, Gopalganj sees conspiracy

Jailed Lalu Prasad’s aura still works for RJD

To write off Lalu as a politician would be a little premature

Ever since his debacles in elections, assembly and parliamentary, Lalu’s political obituary has been a matter of routine discussion. Okay, no one was writing him off in certain terms but certainly, no one was expecting a miraculous turnaround. And now we are talking of a turnaround, in windfall terms!

Bihar had become the worst place in India to live during the 15 years of Lalu-Rabri regime. Corruption, nepotism and Yadavs ruled Bihar with iron grip. This Fodder Scam is just one representative of what the Lalu-Rabri regime made of Bihar.

In spite of the strong caste and religious equations, if he was routed (in fact decimated by the poll ‘numbers’) in elections, it could easily be understood that the electorate, including his loyal votebank, recognized the corruption and the governance failure of his regime.

But now, if that votebank, many of which voted against Lalu on corruption and governance issues, go back to Lalu again just because they sympathise with him for he has been jailed, it would indeed be ridiculous and pathetic for the democratic health of Bihar and of country.

An analysis in The Telegraph says: What appears to have galvanised the RJD cadre is the “recognition” of an undercurrent of sympathy for Lalu — particularly among Yadav and Muslim voters — after the court sent him to jail. Contrary to the ruling JD(U) strategists’ calculation that the RJD flock would be up for grabs once their boss goes behind bars, Lalu’s party is increasingly getting united.

If it indeed happens, if the sentencing helps Lalu to reclaim the lost political ground, it would be yet another sad chapter in the history of India, already reeling under the political subversion by its ‘ruling’ masters.

17 years of court proceedings, many cover-ups, and the post-sentencing buzzword says Lalu may bounce back politically with this decision! Shouldn’t that be shocking?
What does it tell of the Indian populace? The rot is deep. Politicians work to deepen this rot.

Sympathy for being in jail! Sympathy for being convicted in a corruption case, even if more Fodder Scam cases are pending against him in courts at various stages!

Politicians exploit this irresponsible, impulsive behaviour of Indian voters. They do so because we act as their ‘more than willing’ partners when they do so.

*“Why India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –