By Kajol Singh / Delhi
Regional satraps from Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu claim they are battle-ready, but neither BJP nor Congress is prepared.
Despite some stakeholders declaring the possibility of an early election, the million- dollar question is: Will there be an early election? Probably not, as no political party or its elected representatives, wish to face election earlier than 2014. The Congress-led UPA Government too would like to complete its full term because the party has always waved the stability card at the electorate and would like to do so again.
However, most regional players have been talking of an early election. Since his party’s impressive victory in 2012, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has urged his party workers to be ready. He dreams of becoming the prime ministerial candidate or at least a kingmaker. The frequency of his pronouncements has increased as he has realised that the honeymoon period of his son Akhilesh Yadav’s Government is getting over sooner than expected.
The other powerful regional satrap, BSP chief Mayawati, has also been cautioning her party cadres to gear up for early polls. Although she is yet to recover from the electoral blow, it is perhaps bravado that makes her say that her party is ready. She would want the poll to be held as per schedule since, the longer the Akhilesh Government, whose popularity is fasting depleting, remains, the better it is for her party.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who dislodged the Left regime, too would like an early election to keep up the momentum. The mercurial leader realises that her two-year-old Government is losing sheen. Having severed links with the UPA and been embroiled in controversies, she is probably waiting to test her party’s strength in the coming panchayat election.
Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik has almost finished his one-time partner, the BJP, in the State, while the Congress is leaderless. Therefore, it would be to his party’s advantage whenever the Lok Sabha election is held. In Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who returned to power with a huge majority in 2011, is driving home her advantage. With the octogenarian DMK chief M Karunanidhi battling deteriorating health and groupism within the party, led by his two sons MK Alagiri and MK Stalin, the DMK is at its most vulnerable. Having withdrawn from the UPA Government, the party is completely isolated now. And Ms Jayalalithaa has made sure that her party does not lose its relevance. She has been active on the Sri Lanka issue and has ganged up with leaders like Mr Patnaik and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to put pressure on the Centre. An early election suits her.
The strange thing is that while talking of an early poll, Mr Yadav has made it clear that his party will not pull the plug on the UPA. Ms Mayawati too has declared that her party will not let down the Congress-led dispensation, while the DMK chief too has assured that he will not disturb the Government’s stability.
An early poll does not suit the BJP. There is an intense leadership struggle going on at the national level of the party, with Mr Modi trying hard to become the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee. BJP president Rajnath Singh is yet to settle down. The Karnataka Assembly poll next month will be his first acid test, but the party is not in prime condition. It would be better for the BJP to face the big election after the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan Assembly polls, where the party may do well. This is why, despite being the main Opposition party, the BJP is unwilling to bring a no- confidence motion against the Manmohan Singh Government even after the DMK’s withdrawal of support. The less said the better about the Left parties. They have not learnt any lessons. The lack of leadership and internal factionalism continues unabated.
As for the Congress, although a section wants an early poll, another section is opposed to it. There is worry about the slide in economy, price rise, inflation and the growing number of scams and their impact on poll prospects. The party also needs time to see the results of the cash transfer scheme and the proposed food security scheme.
Above all, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is being talked of as the prime ministerial candidate, needs time to show his leadership skills. Therefore, why should the Congress go for an early poll? The talk of an early election is perhaps only to keep the cadres enthused and prepared.