Stalemate in Uttar Pradesh

It is unfortunate that even after fresh assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh is again under President's rule due to the hung assembly. All the three major political contenders - BJP, Congress-BSP and UF have miserably failed to gain required number of seats in assembly to form the government. In coming days, these parties and combinations will try to engineer defections by horse trading and other dirty methods to secure the majority in the House. BSP may be worst sufferer in this game because it is a party which has always played a gamble of power politics and never prepared its representatives for a principled political opposition. Though Congress is mounting its pressure on UF to accept Mayawati as Chief Minister, if however UF succeeds in persuading Congress not to press beyond a point but to support UF in UP to form the government, the MLAs of BSP of Muslim and backward origins may shift towards SP. Political situation in the state is fluid and nothing concrete can be said about the future course of political developments except that political instability and confusion will continue.

Broadly speaking, voting pattern of social forces was not different from the last Lok Sabha elections but, attitude and degree of involvement was definitely different. Though BJP's share of seats and votes have declined compared to its tally in 1996 Lok Sabha elections, its social base was broadly with it. More than 70% of upper castes and 50% of most backward castes were with the BJP. But in the assembly elections, upper castes and urban middle classes were not very active and their turn out for voting, like Muslims, was also poor. Even in western UP, 33% of the Jat community voted for BJP while Tikait-Ajit combine got 36% of Jat votes. Dominant social forces of Uttarakhand have gone with the BJP.

But, following the fractured verdict and political impasse, the process of change and realignment may get momentum. Yadavs and Muslims constitute the core in UF, Mulayam will try to expand its social base by wooing Rajputs. Among OBCs, Kurmi is a dominant caste and earlier it was by and large with BSP. Now, it is divided in BJP, Apna Dal, and SP. SP will try to win the total support of this caste. Mulayam is trying to impress upon the Muslims that if they had voted for UF entirely, they would have formed the government.

The Dalit social base, particularly the major segment of it, is firmly with BSP. The ascendancy of BSP is continuing but by allying with Congress after moving away from BJP, its calculations - and also Congress' efforts - to revive the Dalit-Muslim-Brahmin alliance has not succeeded. Though an understanding between BJP and BSP for the formation of a government in UP cannot be completely ruled out, it will be difficult for BSP to come out of the fold of Congress.

Among the left, CPI(M) has definitely gained, however, in its area of concentration like Varanasi, it fared badly. CPI could not arrest its trend of decline and it seems that in future, the contention within left movement will be between CPI(M) and CPI(ML). Besides, impressive political propaganda, in same pockets, our work is deepening, and some new social forces are coming closer to our party.

The imposition of President's rule is an unfortunate but inevitable step. When all other political formations have expressed themselves against supporting the BJP, its claim that as the single largest party it should have been invited to form the government doesn't cut much ice and that would only amount to giving it the license to indulge in horse trading. Drawing a parallel with what happened in Delhi after Lok Sabha elections and demanding the same in Lucknow in the name of 'constitutional norm', 'democratic principle' etc. would be absurd. Because at the centre there is no such thing as President's rule and it is not the same at the state level. The imposition of President's rule without dissolving the assembly has however strengthened the hands of UF and created scope for horse trading. Now that there seems to be no chance for reconciliation between any of the two combines with each sticking to its conditionalities, keeping the assembly in suspended animation for a prolonged period will only pave way for horse trading and other forms of ugly opportunism. Sooner the assembly is dissolved the better.

To save the democratic process and to fight against horse trading, mafiadom, communalism and corruption, we intend to launch a state-wide campaign, besides organising people at grassroots level on their class and sectional issues. Against these three major formations our party will take concrete measures to project its radical left plank in the state, because none of these political formations have anything concrete to offer to the people of the state and political limits of these parties has been badly exposed.

-Akhilendra Pratap Singh