Trust Vote -2 : It is no longer about the Deal but all about dealing.

Posted on July 20, 2008. Filed under: India, Nuclear, Politics |

The Left, UNPA, and BSP are meeting today to work out a possible coordinated motion to defeat the Congress on the floor of the Parliament. Already several leaders of essentially regional parties like the TDP and the TRS, are trying to put up Smt. Mayavati as a future PM. So, quite rapidly, Indian Muslims’ so-called opposition to the nuclear deal has been declared on their behalf by certain leaders, and equally rapidly the Muslims have become the card no longer to be played. Neither is the nuclear deal the chief issue any more. It is all about jockeying for capturing state power in the coming round of elections.

Each and every political party and its leaders are now concerned about its own electoral base, and because they can no longer be certain of the whole population they are concentrating on utilizing and enhancing fissures and fractures within Indian society to produce smaller highly antagonistic groups who would be easier to manipulate and control. “Dalits”, literally meaning “repressed” can not be “uplifted and empowered” as by definition then they will no longer remain “Dalits” and if they no longer remain “Dalits” a party of the “Dalits” can also no longer survive. So for BSP to capture and raise capital in the political-power market, it has to maintain a distinct “Dalit” population. Similarly, for religion based parties like the Muslim League or IUML, maintaining and intensifying sharper and sharper distinctions from non-Muslims would be a necessary aspect to remain in leadership. The Left, has no ideologically motivated support base in the Hindi belt (to a certain extent such Leftist support exists rather for the various flavours of underground Naxalites) and therefore has to ride piggyback on parties like that of BSP or indirectly that of Muslim League, and will also have to maintain and utilize caste based antagonisms. BJP desperately wants to go for early elections, and may try to win over (and in fact could also be encouraging) Mayavati’s efforts.

We should not be surprised if both BJP and the Congress try to woo Mayavati after Tuesday, irrespective of the trust vote outcome. The parties have their own small axes to grind – axes which they understand to a far better degree and which are also much more important to them than the Nuclear Deal or the inclination of the Muslims of India. It is clear now, that the Nuclear Deal and Indian Muslims are just excuses to be bandied about for polemics, and the real motivations are the extremely short-sighted personal ambitions of leaders nervous and unsure about their control over the whole nation.

To a general Muslim or a “Dalit” (perhaps sometimes both at the same time) just as for a non-Muslim, it is unlikely that an abstract item of foreign policy and potential future consequences of the Nuclear Deal in international relations is a matter of huge significance and obsession. The more important issues are getting a reliable health care, a basic modern education, potable water, access to resources for economic development, an affordable modern housing, affordable living costs.

The fact that all the political elite are shouting about is the Nuclear Deal or how it is against “India’s interests” and therefore against Muslim or Dalit interests, immediately shows that this is an obsession and polemical scoring point for an elite as detached from the people as the kings and Nawabs of old, and who speak in the name of the people.

But then why do the people vote them to power? To a large extent Indian electoral process is like a two stage game – where first the voters are forced to choose from a limited set of interested individuals who are one way or the other already well connected to the political establishment and instruments of state power. These establishments therefore form persistent groups, linked by kinship, clan and mutually profitable associations. Thus coteries from around MP’s or organizations putting up MP’s who usurp mediating role between ordinary citizens and the state services that they should have otherwise received automatically. This is the fundamental source of power of elected representatives.

In the second stage of the game, the elected representatives play among themselves for personal benefits including non-material ones such as prestige and power. The system probably runs with very similar features as to Stock Exchanges, where elaborate systems are in place to control “the spontaneity of individual investors” and force them to be herded into playing through agencies whose only guarantee is the constancy of the increasing fees and commissions and not returns to the individual investor. Most of the time these agencies form out of or are in reality extensions of already established big financial organizations, or the working conditions of the exchanges are made so that only such organizations can qualify.

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