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Coalition politics of convenience

In the era of coalition politics, there neither are permanent allies, nor perennial foes. However, what is unfolding in the name of coalition politics in India these days is simply a ruthless politics of convenience, with no ideological or ethical core to keep things together. In the recent brouhaha created by DMK when it quit the Congress-led UPA government in the wake of a watered down UNHRC resolution against Sri Lankan war crimes, what became obvious was that M Karunanidhi’s party had taken the fullest of advantage of a golden opportunity to severe its ties with a shaky apparatus of power sharing. Not only is the UPA-II government in choppy waters over a slew of corruption allegations and mindboggling scams in defence, telecom or coal block allocations, amongst several others, it is also facing the flak for the relentless price rise coupled with economic stagnation at present. So, DMK’s withdrawal from the centre was of course a calculated move to exit at a time when moral grandstanding over the Lankan crisis could possibly act as a smokescreen to cover up the dirty politics beneath it all. Yet, when it comes to Machiavellian machinations, UPA can give DMK a run for its money any day, as was evident in the ‘unfortunate’ timing of the CBI raid at MK Stalin’s house on the very next day the Tamil Nadu party quit the coalition government. On the other hand, DMK itself is under stress over the war of succession between the two of Karunanidhi’s sons, although the DMK supremo has made it amply clear that it is Stalin, and not Alagiri, who will be at the helm of affairs after the old man retires.
 
While every party sheds crocodile tears at the other’s expense, the government can hold the allies to ransom threatening to expose the myriad of corruption cases in which the party bosses are embroiled. While CBI is clearly a puppet of which party is at the centre, the resurgent regional leaders leave no stone unturned to poke the centre for their slice of the pie. Politicos like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, who are propping up the UPA government with their external support, openly declare their intentions to float a Third Front as an example of their ‘commitment to social change.’ While it’s true that Indian politics is increasingly assuming a more pronounced federal structure, with the era of Nehru-Gandhi brand of politics of the personality cult of a larger than life individual leader a relic of the past, the everyday negotiations have become a matter of tiny and temporary gains, without a greater vision or goal. No clear-sighted understanding of India’s role in the global arena is present amongst the legislators, while at the same time, there is no earnestness on the part of the government officials and elected members of the parliament to work towards the betterment of society. Coalition politics is therefore only a euphemism to denote the selfish and utterly myopic cohabitation of convenience.
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