Merely a one week ago the Congress strong man and leader from Kerala A K Antony hinted that Congress is not averse to doing business with left front if such situation arises. But general secretary of CPI (M) Prakash karat took only less than one week to respond to this congress overtures and laid down his plan for the next general elections where he will try to repeat Harkishan Singh Surjeet for himself. Prakash Karat hopes to repeat the era of 1996 in Indian politics and emerge as the pivotal to non congress secular front.
One development in last few days also have made them emboldened where a major English news channel projected the mood of the nation where most of the regional parties and satraps are gaining momentum in national politics as two of the major national parties congress and BJP both are unable to cross the majority mark of 272 even together. It would be first time in Indian politics when both of the national parties have received so much erosion in their political base. If Congress is losing its popularity among masses for its miss governance and charges of corruption BJP is unable to fulfill this political space because of its weak and confused politics as a principle opposition.
For last four years BJP looks like the Congress of Gokhale which relies heavily on petitions and discussions in parliament rather than connecting itself to the masses and being seen to doing something concrete to reduce their grievances. As per example in last four years in every parliamentary session the issue of inflation was discussed but on the ground no effective measures were being taken to bring down the commodities prices the same case is with the issue of corruption. Every time BJP leaders came on TV shows to pat their back to highlight the corruption of Congress led government but nothing concrete they have done to feel the people as they are not part of this corrupt system.
This perception among the people of the country has paved the way for the political vacuum which BJP always denied with their conservative political estimate that in the case of Congress becomes unpopular they will be the ultimate beneficiary for being the largest opposition party.
It is true but politics is always a game of uncertainty and probabilities.
Since early 2000 BJP ceased to be a party of right wings in India and after coming to power they tried to become the alternate of centrist Congress rather than broadening their base among the liberals to woo them is right camp. In its term of six years in government BJP tried to replace the Congress and followed the centrist politics and become status quo and static. People have the expectations from the so called right wing BJP to break the status quo and static polity of country and move the country into some change but BJP leadership adopted the safe path to concentrate on the infrastructure and not to do more on some radical change in system.
It disappointed the people and once BJP have been unable to bring them back in the power since 2004 the utter confusion on the ideological level emerged and in last 9 years the BJP and its other associate organizations have been unable to provide any model of ideology to their supporters as well as to those young generation which becomes more assertive and politically knowledgeable in every growing years.
Once BJP lost the power in 2004 the whole blame was given to the India shinning campaign and since then BJP and its associate organizations become confused on their approach to economic or model of development and tempted to the socialist idea of development. The real reason behind the decay of the support of the BJP and its affiliate organizations is the utter confusion to present any new ideology and model before their constituency and instead of that they tried to make balance between their pro reform and socialist vision.
BJP had experienced how they were forced to evolve new ideology in the form of Hindutva once they were routed out in the general elections of 1984 and the leadership of BJP and RSS together have realized that Gandhian Socialism will not pay for the BJP as this political space has already been occupied by centrist Congress and socialists and when they decided to give the new mantra of pseudo secularism they have been able to create their own constituency , although it is another story that how they have been unable to fulfill their promises and which have cost them dearly in last few years but the time has come to redefine their political constituency and its aspirations.
Now if we come to the present political atmosphere of the country we can find few very interesting emerging trends in polity of our country. The emergence of new middle class in last two decades and assertion of disgruntled Hindutva constituency. Both of these groups have nothing in common in them but they are complimentary to each other knowingly or unknowingly. The New Middle class is very much conservative having traditional values with them but at the same time more liberal in its political and world views but the disgruntled Hindutva elements find them alienated in both politics and social class and want their voices to be heard and they have become the harshest critic of BJP and its affiliate organizations as they smell their own followings in society and it had created some kind of political ambitions in these people who want to replicate the 1989 Hindutva politics for them and become the leaders on their own without following the BJP.
On the other hand New Middle class is also the group which has emerged after the Mandal politics and economic liberalization has provided them opportunities to fight out the starvation of jobs and economic isolation in the wake of politics of reservation. Due to the nature of their background they are anti socialist and in some way find the centrist politics also not conducive for their growth and given this situation they have no option other than to follow the conservative and right wing politics but in last few years BJP have been unable to keep its flock together and both these constituencies have drifted away from the BJP and RSS and tried to explore some other options. It has shrunk the support base of BJP and RSS in last few years and before every general election they are supposed to emerge as the alternate to the Congress but finally they found themselves to the short of marks.
In this election BJP has the herculean task before them to keep both these groups with them and to make it happen they need to take the root of right. BJP cannot afford to be apologetic on Hindutva as well as not be seen more rustic and ugly on Hindutva to lose the new Middle class which want more sophisticated and delicate look to this ideology.
If BJP will be able to keep this flock together then left would have less chance to stitch a non congress secular alliance at center. But what had made Prakash Karat so excited to repeat Harkishan singh Surjeet it is also case of scrutiny.
In Indian polity we have found one very interesting phenomenon regarding the politics of left front. When left is unable to galvanize more support among masses they prefer to become part of elite and support the congress as their ally but when they found the support among the masses for themselves they prefer to stitch an alliance with non Congress regional forces to form an alternate polity.
The current statement of Prakash Karat should be seen in this changing political reality as left have sensed some emerging political space for them in coming months . This political space comprise of two basic components. The leftist Islamist alliance is going on the global scale for last few years when Huzo Shavez and Fidel Castro made good relations with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and in the name of resistance block against US and Israel several other organizations working closely with each other.
In last general elections left and Islamist forces tried to form an alliance between them and in last few years several Muslim regional parties have not only emerged but they have consolidated their base in their respective states which are more anti Congress in their nature and want to evolve an alternate polity without help of Centrist Congress and they always prefer left front with them rather than Congress. In Assam they have AUDF led by Badruddin Azmal, In Uttar Pradesh they have Peace party , In Kerala also they have several Islamist political groups and in West Bengal left front in itself hopes to occupy the Islamist political space.
Most of the small Muslim parties in various states where Muslims population have significant presence will find them comfortable to be in alliance with Non Congress regional parties and left front.
One other factor which could make left front glad is the presence of Aam Adami Party led by social activist turned Politian Arvind Kejriwal in New Middle class .This is the first time when left front will have its sympathizer in Middle class who have always been on target of this ideology but now they know it very well that kejriwal and company is very much left in its ideological leanings and they have also been able to attract the New Middle class in the name of their fight against the existing system. Aam Adami party is focusing primarily on their fight against existing system and tacitly remains silent on several other issues as their priority is to register their presence in next Delhi assembly elections and once it happens their political value will grow and they will in more demand in other metro cities.
These factors have made left to rethink about their political strategy for the next general elections and they see themselves yet again as the relevant political force.
Left front in the leadership of Prakash Karat is upbeat with the prospects of fractured mandate and growing decay of political appeal of two major national political parties.
In the upcoming general elections the new Middle class is going to play a crucial role as it has made up its mind to go for change not only political but some systematic change and it would be interesting to watch who will be able to woo them left or right. But I am not optimistic about the prospects of left front because as the election days nears the country will be polarized on ideological ground and New Middle class will find themselves to be more comfortable on the side of right.