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Millennium Post

Why federal front can be the answer

There might be more to Mamata Banerjee’s clarion call for bringing ‘poribartan’ in Delhi than just a show of strength and her attempt to enthuse the party cadres and Bengal voters to choose en masse the Trinalmool Congress in the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the eastern state in the coming general elections. Banerjee has categorically stated that she’s eyeing a change in the Centre and foresees a prominent role for her party in executing that goal, in conjunction with the other regional forces and political players. The West Bengal CM’s ruling out of both Congress and the BJP, the two national political parties, for her to strike a pre-poll alliance with and instead trumpeting the cause of a third or federal front, is not only sign of changing times that is seeing increasing decentralisation of power with the Congress crumbling from within, but it is also a sounding of a battle cry, as it were, for the subnational players to come together and coalesce on a common ideological platform, which is anti-corruption and anti-communalism. Banerjee’s mammoth rally was just fractionally a rebuke of CPI(M)’s loss of face in the Bengal electorate; it was instead a statement of larger ambitions and reconfiguring the national political theatre and ushering in a massive churn in its dramatis personae. With prominent regional parties pulling the political strings in a number of states, chiefly Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, besides West Bengal of course, the call to substantiate an alternative to both sycophantic dynastism of Indian National Congress and the communally-charged hardline politics of corporatised cultural nationalism of the Bharatiya Janata Party is one that is likely to find several takers.

With the general elections due in a few months that would see an electorate of 800 million people going to vote, with roughly one-quarter being first-time voters, the math is overwhelmingly in favour of the regional parties playing a definitive role, coming out from their previous role of being a sideshow to the real political tug of war between the two national parties. No longer just a bipolar game, politics in India is gradually consolidating its constitutionally mandated federal character, with half of the voting population residing in the six most populous states, which also have, interestingly enough, non-Congress, non-BJP regimes in power. With the rise of AAP, even Delhi has joined the federal bandwagon, with regional leaders such Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar, Jayalalithaa, M Karunanidhi, Kiran Kumar Reddy, BS Yeddyurappa, Omar Abdullah, Raj and Udhav Thackeray, now having emerged more confident to pitch for the national slot and jostle for political power in the Centre. The heavily centralised governance model of post-Independence India, when married to the vehemently corporatising post-liberalisation economics, has created a cocktail of unprecedented governmental corruption, egged on by crony capitalism, that is holding the country hostage to myriad sociopolitical and religio-econnomic problems. This has resulted in corrosion of people’s trust in parties that rule by the dint of their surnames or by shining a halo on leaders too megalomaniac to really care. Moreover, the federal front would also be the logical political consequence of the mass uprising that the country has witnessed since 2011.
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