Pransu Raj Kaushik
Life is such that one needs to adjust to situations as it warrants. In the present context, it seems that there is no better ilk following this dictum to the ‘T’ than the political fraternity of this country. They not only adjust, mix-up and adapt, but also act as catalyst in making others follow suit. From the bare minimum political understanding that I confess having, I believe that politics is a system of a certain thought process or ideology, wherein an individual, in this case a political worker, participates. Therefore, it can very well suffice that whenever a person believes in a certain ideology, he or she obviously follows the political discourse of a similar category of political group or party.
The upcoming Assembly election in Assam is turning out to be a pretty interesting ‘match’. I may be excused for not finding any better word other than ‘match’ to define the scerio. Even the ongoing World T20 cup has failed to live up to the frenzy and the never ending twists and turns that each passing day has lain bare in the political spectrum. The AGP, which owes its very conception to the ideology of regiolism, has seen many of its erstwhile members joining hands with both the Congress and the BJP alike. Atul Bora, Hiten Goswami, Padma Hazarika and many others who were once the voice and face of the anti-foreigners’ movement and later, held office in the Prafulla Mahanta-led government, are now surprisingly seen wearing the saffron cap with equal aplomb. Himanta Biswa Sarma, who undoubtedly is the State’s most followed political figure, is another example of a leading politician changing his ideological leanings to a diametrically opposite one.
Chakya had rightly said, “A permanent relationship is dependent on a particular purpose.” Similarly, I believe that a purpose not served leads to severance of a relationship by some. So, it can be counter argued that political proponents of a certain ideology change their beliefs and affiliations whenever they realize the futility of their thoughts. I accept that it is undoubtedly a favourable argument. But, what does one have to say about the sudden or almost overnight change in beliefs? Hemanta Talukdar, who is the sitting Congress MLA from Gauhati West constituency has rebelled and filed his nomition as an independent candidate because he was denied a ticket by his party in the upcoming election. Again, he is one among many such politicians who have filed nomitions as independent candidates after failing to secure tickets from the parties that they belonged to. Such volatile reaction from people who profess to be disciplined soldiers of a particular ideology is really shocking to say the least.
It is futile to singularly lay blame the politicians alone when in reality, we voters equally fall prey to the catalytic effect of our leaders changing colours. Have not the fans of Himanta Biswa’s supposed good work automatically change allegiance and followed suit without even batting an eyelid when their leader did so? It is worth emphasizing here that I am not mentioning about his direct supporters, who obviously will follow where the leader treads. It is not unfathomable to understand that a politician is as good or bad as the electorate that chooses him or her. The sole reason of opposing such hypocrisy is the fact that what right does a politician have to preach about idealism when the prime motive for him or her to be in the trade is after all, the greed for power. Being ambitious and at the same time accepting this fact is the quality of a brave individual in the present political context. In this regard, one should be appreciative of the supposed statement given by the BTAD chief and BPF leader Hagrama Mohilary that he will align with the party that has the maximum chance of forming the next government. The worrying point is for political leaders like Badruddin Ajmal or Tarun Gogoi, who seem to immediately change stands based on the convenience of situation. The recent Rajya Sabha elections for the two seats from Assam are an easy giveaway in this regard. Only time will tell if Gogoi still sticks to his question, “Who is Badruddin?” or changes course to “Where is Badruddin?” after the Assembly elections are done with.
Over the course of time, the ‘You scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ dictum has taken a huge toll on the value system and trust that one expects from our political leadership. The politicians themselves have encouraged this mess. They have created a cocoon of identity over themselves and when they divert from that cocoon or try to break away, it is obvious that people will label them irresponsible and power hungry. Why should politics not be based on realism rather than on bogus ideologies? The answer again lies in the mindset of the electorate, if they wish to be realistic; the leaders they elect will be realistic as well.
Now, has a multi-party democracy allowed the rise of divergent issues to be raised politically? And is it good for the society that different voices are being given requisite space? Obviously there are pitfalls in this system. The system has left open a stage for whosoever to rake up any issue and form a power group in pursuance of that. This leads to a web of issues and many overnight issue-takers, in this case the politicians, trying to outdo each other with different and unending perspectives of their own. More the web of confusion, the lesser will be the attention level of the general public. This in turn leaves enough room for a politician to play the ‘politics of convenience’!