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Mixed Message

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Has the newly inducted Congress MLA from Purola, Rajkumar, been told he would never be eligible to be Chief Minister in his new party, the BJP? (He will have been promised the party ticket for the coming election.) This has been the experience of Congress MLAs inducted earlier, as their ideological commitment has not been considered ‘pure’ enough to be chosen above their RSS rooted comrades. Also, have BJP workers who strive hard to establish the party in constituencies dominated by Congress leaders been made aware that their efforts would amount to nothing in granting tickets during elections, should the sitting MLA choose to jump ship? Does the BJP have so little confidence in the support it has among the people that it will compromise on, both, ideology and respect for its own workers?

It is true that the stakes are very high and winning is everything in present day politics, but India is a democracy and some conventions need to be respected. Absolute annihilation of the opposition cannot be a goal, as it not just undermines democracy but also blinds the ruling party to its own faults. Perhaps, the only way balance can be restored in the present day politics of Uttarakhand would be through ‘reverse migration’ from the BJP to the Congress, particularly by those who have been denied the opportunity to head the government.

It may be noted that, owing to the large scale inclusion of Congress leaders, particularly the kind steeped in that party’s amoral culture, BJP’s own style of governance has been adversely affected. Not only is there increased suspicion of corruption, the compulsion to choose CMs on the basis of just their RSS connections has also compelled the party leadership to overlook ability. The case of Tirath Singh Rawat is an example of this. The people vote for the BJP because of the values it represents, not its ability to annihilate the opposition. (The BJP, itself, is on the receiving end of this phenomenon in West Bengal, in a far more brutal way!) Of course, blame falls equally on the Congress for having almost entirely lost its political character in the desperation to distinguish itself from the ‘ordinary’ parties through its ‘royal dynasty’. The answer lies in the voters making smarter choices by supporting upstanding, tried and tested MLAs, no matter which party they belong to. The rest would be thrashed out in the Assembly.