The fall of the Congress government in Karnataka has once again exposed the limits of secular adhesive as a substitute for political ideology. The same is coming to starker focus in the ongoing Left barrage against the UPA on airport privatisation and India'sstand at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran.
The strike by the communist unions in the four metro airports has crossed all legitimate limits of ideological protest against the ruling coalition, which itself is propped up by the agitationists. In the early Stalinist days of the communist rule in Kerala in the fifties, the then communist Chief Minister EMS Namboodiripad used to say that the sham bourgeoisie democracy has to be torpedoed from within and to achieve this end the communists should simultaneously carry on with class war and statecraft. The curious theory could not take the communists too far. In the face of a mass upsurge against this absurdity and misrule, the first communist regime was thrown out for another decade.
The discredited theory of the fifties seems to be repeating in Delhi under the UPA experiment. The communists are supposedly angry and upset with the globalising economics of Dr Manmohan Singh. Understandable. It was not long ago, when Dr Singh was the Finance Minister under PV Narasimha Rao, the communists used the epithet ?agent of World Bank? against him. Now in the name of keeping the BJP at bay, the communists are supporting Singh and his mentor, UPA chairperson. But their daily harangue against the UPA has become too farcical and boring. That the nagging has come out in the open, to the streets, creating indescribable harassment to the public and loss to national property, has to worry us all. As long as the communist class-struggle remains in the confines of the coordination committee, we need not bother. But they cannot be allowed to hold the country to ransom, in the name of their role in sustaining this rickety regime.
That secularism, for which the communists are allegedly making all this fatal sacrifice, is not worth the banner they hold is clear from their own behaviour in the UPA. If one is to seek more proof, see what is happening in Uttar Pradesh, where each of the so-called secular parties is at the other'sthroat? And in Bihar we have seen the raison d?etre of the UPA is not cement enough to hold the partners together.
It is in this context that the Karnataka developments are to be viewed. For, it is of tremendous national import and practical value. H.D. Deve Gowda'sprotestations notwithstanding, the Janata Dal (Secular) majority decision to teach the big brother Congress a lesson or two is the writing on the wall. It has more convincingly than Bihar or Uttar Pradesh proved that Congress cannot fool all for too long. They cannot cover up their lust for power with the fa?ade of secularism. To begin with Karnataka was lost for Congress in the 2004 elections. With 65 MLAs, it was way behind the majority mark. The BJP with 79 MLAs had emerged the largest single party. In an unholy arrangement with the JD(S), which had 56 MLAs, the Congress usurped power in the state, without even working out a common minimum programme. It was unholy because, every vote the JD(S) got was in the name of anti-Congressism and anti-incumbency. So the JD(S) was a more natural BJP ally than the Congress. Other than the bogus chant of secularism there was nothing common between the Congress and the Janata Dal (S). The fall of the Congress government was thus only a matter of time. The Janata Dal (S) cadre is essentially anti-Congress, and more pro-BJP. That is why from the very outset, the former Prime Minister'sson H.D. Kumaraswamy canvassed for forging a post-poll alliance with the BJP rather than the Congress.
The Congress has once again proved that it cannot hold a coalition together. It is so power hungry that it cannot share power with others. Even in the Centre it is conducting, with just 142 MPs, as if it is running a single-party government. It has ill-treated every single coalition partner, be it the Left, the JMM, TRS, DMK, RJD, PDP and Samajwadi Party. Should these parties suffer this humiliation in the name of secularism to perpetuate a family rule? It is for them to decide.
For the BJP the Karnataka development is a grand new opening. It is for the first time that the party will be legitimately in power in a south Indian state. The vista of opportunities beckoning it is large. The TRS too is eager to come and ally with the BJP. It will not be a bad idea for the party to scout around for the disenchanted in the UPA and expand the NDA as a larger formation of national will. The AGP in Assam and the Lok Dal in Haryana are its natural allies. The Samajwadi Party in UP is in a frantic search for new alliances. A certain degree of unconventional adventurism is often considered good politics in times of national calamity. And the UPA is nothing less than a national disaster.