Saare Jahaan Se Achha…the new articulation for political churning in India



Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, May 19: The results of the five state elections are more or less on the expected lines but in the process, a new articulation has come up whose architect is West Bengal’s most powerful personality Mamta Banerjee Di who describes herself as a ‘common man’. She represents one extreme of Indian democracy in pragmatic politics and a leader rooted to the soil and ‘aam aadmi’ in real sense of the term that might give anxious moments to the ambitious leaders eyeing greater role. She lives among the people. On the other extreme is ‘Amma’ Jayalalitha who has succeeded in  breaking the revolving door phenomenon in Tamil Nadu by retaining power. She keeps herself away from the people who prostrate before her whenever they get a rare chance, as today when the results gave decisive indication and she came out to give ‘darshan’. For the people in Tamil Nadu, Amma is a demi-god.

Significantly, Mamata articulated  the likely re-alignment of the forces in the country against ‘divisive’ BJP in the coming period quoting Iqbal’s ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achha, Hindustan Hamaara’ indicating the mobilization of non-Congress and non-BJP forces minus the Left. This has to be seen in the context of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar eyeing a larger role in this space. However, Mamata maintains she has no such ambitions.

She retains West Bengal with a big margin with Congress at number two place and the CPI(M) that ruled this state for more than three decades having been relegated to the third position. The problem with the Left over the years has been its amazing capacity not to learn. It is the people of West Bengal who did the introspection and threw out the CPI(M).

Interesting, Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal borrowed the CPI(M) model of cadre based governance discarded  by the people. The concept of Halqa Incharge introduced by him is the concept that originated in West Bengal with local satraps having all the powers. It is this system that has come to be hated by the people.

Mamata is a street fighter and fits in the role to confront the BJP, the party that in her perception is divisive and against minorities. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s car stopped in the BJP headquarters in the evening where he had gone to join the celebrations, he was greeted by the slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Matram’.

BJP has made its maiden entry in North-East by capturing Assom where the Congress has been ruling for the last 15 years. The BJP had succeeded in roping in leaders from other parties to craft its victory where ‘foreigners’-means illegal migrants from Bangladesh- is a  big issue. More than the BJP strategy, it was perhaps strong anti-incumbency that worked against the Congress. The one tiny state where the Congress is set to form the government is the Union territory of Puducherry.

While the Left has been virtually wiped out in West Bengal, it has returned to power in  Kerala where the Left Democratic Front has replaced the Congress led combination.

AIADMK headed by J Jayalalitha is virtually a one-woman party, the woman who prefers to maintain distance from the people but whose government functions like a charitable organisation. No other state in the country gives so much to the people in charity. The Akali Dal in Punjab has been resorting to this style of politics despite the state being bankrupt.

It is Uttar Pradesh and Punjab that are the next two crucial states which have the potential to shape the national political discourse. At the moment, it is Mamata who has emerged as the leader who has the capacity to anchor democratic front along with leaders like Nitish and Jayalalitha. She also mentions Arvind Kejriwal as her friend. Her best part of that she exhibits no ambition.

Congress, the oldest party in the country, is refusing to learn. Rahul Gandhi took more than four months to clear that list of Punjab office bearers as the party had to be re-organised after Capt Amarinder Singh was entrusted with the command to  lead the party to victory in February 2017 elections. This oldest party is pitted against the second oldest party in the country that is Akali Dal and it is the third intervention that is Aam Aadmi Party that is posing a serious challenge to these two established dispensations.

The Akali Dal has a lot to learn from West Bengal.


Jagtar Singh


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