Analyzing the election results, most media pundits have come to the conclusion that there is a gravity towards the national parties away from the third fronts.
But I infer a churn that has started at depths in Indian politics which would take time to come to surface, during the period in which established parties will seem to gain, while actually loosing their share of votes consistently.
Looking at the result state by state, where-ever there was a third front feasible, the electorate has increasingly (steadily) turned towards that third-front option and have turned away the primary two-fronts. So the talk to of two-party system in India is wishful thinking and nothing else. India is becoming more multi-polar than it ever was.
For eg,, in TamilNadu the DMDK is the real third-front. And it has steadily grown. It has grown in this election more than any other front. But it has not grown to the extent of breaking the established parties. It needs two things to morph into that stage. One it needs a permanent alliance of sub-regionally strong parties like that of a LDF or UDF in Kerala. Second, it may need to gobble up a part of one of the established parties.
In Andhra Pradesh, PRP is the real third-front. And it has really proved itself. The only front that has grown in Andhra Pradesh in this election is this third-front of PRP. Again it has not grown to the extent of breaking the established fronts. But it has given a huge channel to those opposed to the existing fronts.
Even in Kerala, the BJP which is the third-front there has grown considerably compared to previous elections. In Uttar Pradesh, Congress which is the third or fourth front over there has grown to a significant extent. In West Bengal since there was no third front except in pockets where BJP is present, the opposition Congress-TMC combine has benefited.. In Madhya Pradesh and even in Gujarat the BSP has started having its significant presence, though it is still far off.
In effect, I don’t see any gravity towards national parties by the public. Instead the gravity that is seen is towards the third options wherever it is available. Though this gravity is significant, the immediate benefit of this gravity is being reaped by the major parties (in particular the ruling combinations) due to the splintering of the opposition vote.
Hence except in Kerala and West Bengal, where there was no splintering of opposition vote, in all other places due to the splintering of opposition vote with the increased gravity towards a third option, the ruling combination of the state has gained.
The verdict of Indian Election 2009 is thus clearly anti-establishment. But the voters have been discerning to some extent. They want to give chance to third and fourth options in their region, thus splintering the opposition and helping the ruling party in the immediate term. But this re-grouping of forces has just started. The ruling parties cannot gloat thinking they have got the mandate of the people, except in few places like Orissa, Chattisgarh, Delhi etc.
Meanwhile as usual, the media sings the victor’s song. Talking of media, the media has been solidly supporting the UPA coalition since it came back to power glossing over all the power mongering happening in that coalition. The term media uses now for power mongering by various partners is ‘Balancing of power’.
Media has been putting a huge lip-gloss on the blatant demand for profitable ministries to sons, daughters and loyalists (resource persons) with the view of making money during the term so that they can be put to use in elections. This has been the case with all parties including the Congress.
The media also reports that Prime Minister and UPA chairperson have done lot of background checks on ministers. But it does not do any background checks itself nor it reports on such checks. The same media reported that PM was unhappy with few ministers on corruption charges in the previous government. The same media does not say what action PM took on these corruption charges in the erstwhile government, against the ministers or how PM agreed to give them positions of power again.
The dropped ministers are being called non-performing, while it does not explain how people dropped from positions of power due to non-performance are being made central ministers. Media often reports making a cabinet is Prime Minister’s prerogative, but always mentions PM and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the same breadth, as if they are one and same, when it comes to cabinet formation.
In short, media is not serving as a real watchdog, atleast for now.
There is nothing wrong in media having a honeymoon with the elected government for sometime. But then it has to serve as a watchdog even in that time, if it has to help the ruling coalition and the people. The same media served as such a watchdog with both NDA government and United Front governments. I am not sure why it hides behind now.
The ruling parties should not fall victim to media’s self-serving interests. In UPA, I see Rahul Gandhi as one figure, who understands this logic perfectly well. He does not have the habit of estimating people through media unlike many paper tigers of established parties. Hope he continues his habit of being in touch with people directly and guides the UPA programmes accordingly.
In short, nothing is lost for any political party in India. India is undergoing a positive political churn. I am sure it would provide progress and all round development.