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Left's moralism and Mayawati as PM candidate

Kancha Ilaiah

Updated: March 20, 2009, 11:56 AM IST
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The question of emergence of the Third Front has become a speculative issue. But its real emergence is based on the fact whether the BSP is part of that team or not. Whether the BSP would join it or not depends on whether they would be willing to declare her as their Prime Ministerial candidate or not. As the BJP is getting more and more crisis ridden just before the Lok Sabha elections, if only the Left Front was to declare Mayawati as their Prime Ministerial candidate and forge an alliance, the nation would have gone for a different election. At one stage after the Left Front left the UPA it declared that it would forge an alliance with the BSP and declare Mayawati as their Prime Ministerial candidate. Why are they dragging their feet now?

In an era of Obama becoming the symbol of the post-racist world, if the Third Front was to elect a Dalit woman as the Prime Ministerial candidate, whether she would become the PM or not, the Left would have gone with the wind of 'Change' - a slogan that has shaken the world quite a bit. The Indian Left is not sure whether they would see a day of democracy bringing them to power at Delhi as it did at Kathmandu. But with Mayawati as their PM candidate they would take first step in that direction.

The Left and secular intellectual moralism that Mayawati is corrupt hence they should not make her the PM of the nation is an anti-thesis of the historical march of change. These were the same intellectuals who pooh-poohed Lalu Prasad as corrupt character as worth nothing, as he eats notes as a buffalo eats grass, at the Delhi level, when he became the Rail Mantri. He has kicked them on the face after he became the Rail Mantri. He made that ministry most efficient and profit-making during his tenure as Rail Mantri and has brought down the corruption levels in that ministry quite significantly. It has become the most efficient ministry in the entire history of its own existence.

The question is not how the middle-class, upper-caste moralists see Mayawati. The question is how the Dalits of the whole nation see her. The Dalits of the whole nation see her as their political representative and she is seen as the Dalit representative, who inherits the historical legacy of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. It is true that she has changed the slogan from Bahujan Samaj to Sarvajan Samaj. She now includes even the upper-caste poor and others in her agenda of social change. Whether that is tactical or strategic is a question that needs to be pondered over. Whatever it could be, if she becomes the PM, a Dalit woman who has an image of her own would become the PM on her own terms and that would be a significant development in the history of this nation and the Left could have claimed their own positive role in that process. By declaring her to be their PM candidate, the Left could have established a different relationship with the whole Dalit community of India. The Muslims of the nation would have moved away from Congress in an all-India context and aligned with the Left and Dalit combination. The Third Front would have got an all-India presence and the left would have expanded its own democratic base.

Even in the overall interest of the nation she could become a better PM than many who ruled India and many that are aspiring to rule India. There is no one notion of rule and one notion of development. The concept of development carries its own caste and class baggage. The nation can debate that once she sets her agenda of development. In reality the Dalit-Bahujan leaders are untested in terms of their administrative capabilities given their long history of marginalization. So far Mayawati has shown her political astuteness. And she is ruling a state that has a very high level of poverty. Yet she is convincing the poorest of the poor-Dalits of UP that she could deliver something. Though she is spending some money on some symbolic sites and statues that approach will change over a period of time.

Questions like how does she handle the international affairs without being able to speak and write good English is a moot question. She would have her own translators and writers. Precisely for that reason all the Dalit, Aadivasi children should also get their education in English medium. That should become the priority national agenda of the BSP and also the Left. It is not enough that the Left leaders and intellectuals alone should speak good English; the whole nation including all Dalit-Bahujans should aspire to be the PM of the nation with good English educational background. I appeal to behenji and the bhais of the Left to make quality English-medium education for all children as the national agenda in this election.
First Published: March 20, 2009, 11:56 AM IST

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