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Third or Federal Front must develop a diversity-centric ideology

Kiran Batni http://kiranbatni

Updated: February 26, 2014, 12:25 PM IST
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It's fashionable to make fun of political parties other than the Congress and the BJP. If you're not doing it, you're likely to be accused of stunted cerebral growth. Social media trolls throw out such accusations seemingly for a living, but even the serious types are guilty of it. For those who put their hand in the fire for Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi, ridicule for non-Congress and non-BJP parties comes naturally. But make no mistake: even those who'd like to stay equidistant from the Congress and the BJP are not free from this sort of thinking.

The AAP, which is supposed to be the number one anti-establishment party, and which likes to drag individuals from both the Congress and the BJP into corruption allegations, is also party to this ridicule. The way in which Arvind Kejriwal dismissed and made fun of state leaders like J Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, Deve Gowda, etc., in his recent interview to Barkha Dutt of NDTV, stinks of high-handedness, arrogance and elitism. But more importantly, it stinks of the Idea of an India run completely from New Delhi, the 'cleanliness' of those running it notwithstanding.

But why this attitude towards non-Congress and non-BJP parties? The answer is that these parties haven't proved that they're capable of providing a stable government at the Centre. There is truth in this claim, but first, let us examine what this truth illustrates. What does it mean when parties which are so popular in the states cannot work out a partnership and form the Central Government? It means that there is no popular Central Government in the first place. It means that the BJP and the Congress, which claim to provide stability at the Centre, are providing a stability that is unpopular in the first place. The people don't want this stability but the electoral system, and the patriotic horse-trading that follows, can nevertheless manufacture it. That's what it means in the ultimate analysis.

But it is not impossible for these popular state parties to actually work out a lasting partnership and come up with a stable and popular coalition. The Third Front or the Federal Front is currently only a loose coalition seeking power at the Centre. But if they work on it with some seriousness, they should be able to come up with a convincing ideology with which they can go to the people, form a single party if need be, and win the Lok Sabha elections. But what sort of ideology can accomplish these things? It is too early to spell out the details but we can conclude, once and for all, that that ideology must be centered on India's diversity, predominantly linguistic diversity. The guardians of unity have abused India for so long, imposed the uniformity of death for so long, and neglected India's languages for so long, that it's time for diversity to become the new political mantra in India.

First Published: February 26, 2014, 12:25 PM IST