After the advent of Mayawati, the maverick Dalit czarina.
"qu'ils mangent de la brioche." (meaning thereby "Let them eat cake..." ) is what supposedly was said by Marie Antoinette, the last French Queen who was later on guillotined. Some of the same cake culture is presently being witnessed in Uttar Pradesh these days, particularly after the advent of Mayawati, the maverick Dalit czarina. As we all know, Uttar Pradesh is regarded as the Center of political activities in India. The most important reason for this is the sheer size and numbers that this State carries. While the State comes fifth in area, it is the most populous state in the country with the present population somewhat near 16.5 crores. As a result the state sends 80 Member of Parliaments to the Lok Sabha as compared to 1 and 2 sent by some of the smaller states. Even the state having the second highest number of Lok Sabha MPs, viz., Maharashtra is far behind at 48. This numerical dominance easily makes Uttar Pradesh a very important political state. Well, my purpose in quoting these figures is not in any way to present a parochial view or regionalist outlook as propounded by so many of our leaders from every part of our country, be it Kashmir or Gujarat or Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu or the North East states. They all claim that the Indian government is treating them shabbily- as second hand citizen and then use this as a tool to exert pressure on the Center to get some of their demands fulfilled, Here, my aim is simply to show that with this natural political advantage, the politicians of the State should naturally have been expected to behave differently, a bit more rationally than others. But the situation in the State's political scenario is just reverse. While Uttar Pradesh has the two major National Parties, the BJP and the Congress like most of the other States, it also has the preponderant and dominating presence of two such parties which have slowly acquired a national colour and texture but still are hugely dependent for this existence and influence on Uttar Pradesh. In addition, there is the Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh and Apna Dal of Sone Lal Patel with their caste based presence as well as the RJD of Lalu Yadav, LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan and NCP of Sharad Pawar trying their best to expand their area of influence other than their parent State of origin. With so many Regional and National Parties being present in their full might in the State, it would naturally have been expected that the State would be witness to fruitful, positive, useful and richly productive kind of politicking, keeping in view the interests of the people of the State as the prime yardstick. After all, doesn't each of these parties claim to be the representatives of the people? On the other hand, look at what these parties are actually up to? It seems that the only purpose, the only aim, the only motivation and the lone propelling factor these parties are governed by is the self-seeking impulses. To grab power by hook or by crook, to admit more and more rich, powerful, crooked, criminal, bandied and aggrandizing persons in their fold who would not only be supporting them with huge amount of their own money but would also help them in amassing unthinkable amount of wealth through all sorts of abuses of powers, privileges and positions is what these political parties seem to have made their single-minded pursuit. What hurts the most is that while everyone in the State knows (right from an agricultural labourer to the top bureaucrats and industrialists and intellectuals) what these persons are up to, what their real character is like, what are their nefarious and self-seeking ways, how much money they have been able to gain in such a short period of time and yet these completely shameless persons never feel tired of boasting about their personal and political integrity and honesty. The only two things these people (I mean politicians) know are- firstly to praise themselves and secondly to condemn others. Ved Vyas, the revered author of Mahabharat and the Bhagwat Gita, once wrote- Ashtadash Puraneshu Vyasasya Vachanam Dwayam Paropakaray punyay Papay Padpidanam (ie, in all the Purans, our traditional mythical books, the only two things worthwhile are, firstly that altruism is the real virtue and hurting others is the greatest sin). Our politicians, in the same vein have made self-praise and other's denigration as their only two universally accepted means and methodologies. The ultimate aim is power and for that they can go for any sort of compromises, underhand dealings, luring, sale and purchase and would not hesitate to even commit some criminal acts. These politicians are always seen yelling at the top of their voice when it comes to abusing and calling names of their opponents but are they ever seen to get themselves engaged in any constructive work? And again, they don't take a minute to change their tracks and to shift loyalties the moment they feel it will bring them closer to power. If we look at the last 15 years of UP's political history, we can see how much these political parties have gone on shifting their alliances and allegiances. While everyone knows that they have no commitment to any ideologies sans the ideology of power, we can sometimes see a BJP- BSP or a BSP-SP or a Congress-BSP or a SP-Congress combine or any other. A good example of these political opportunism can be Ajit Singh who himself would have lost track of all his past affiliations. All he knows is that this is the first time in a very long period when he could not find himself in the ruling alliance. If we start looking at the political individuals, the overall sitruation will be simply mind boggling. I will take only three examples. They are all known as strong-armed politicians. There is Amarmani tripathi from Maharajganj (of the Madhumita Shukla fame) who has been in the Congress, the BSP and the SP at different times and has found himself in almost all the ministries till the time bad luck struck him in the form of Madhumita. There is Rizwan Zahir from Balrampur who being a Muslim can't go to BJP and alternatively swings between SP and BSP with such rapid frequency that it becomes really difficult to trace his current location. Incidentally he is in the BSP these days and the announced BSP candidate from Balrampur Lok Sabha seat. Who does not know Naresh Agrawal, the man who might be credited with having invented the switchgear system of politics even after the imposition of the Anti-defection law? Whatever might happen, Agrawal will ultimately find himself landed in the ruling party's lap. There are many of these stalwarts present at each nook and corner of the State. What commitment, what responsibility, what value system can one expect from these turncoats? What is even more baffling is the fact that the top leaders of the important parties don't hesitate for a second before accepting these fair-weather friends, knowing very well that they would be leaving them the moment they are out of power. So much so that to know which party is in power in UP, one can alternately ask the current Party affiliations of these perennial power brokers. We all know that every political party is independent, as per our Constitutional and legal provisions, to make alliances. Again, to gain power is also regarded as the supreme aim of a political party. But as citizen of this Nation and as persons residing in Uttar Pradesh, do we not have the right to ask these political parties to turn some of their energies, resources and paraphernalia to constructive works- to things that result in some positive outcome and help the people in real and concrete terms, other than raising their trying to sway their minds on the basis of false and self-centered propaganda. This is what the real need of Uttar Pradesh today is. And what is true of this State, I am sure must be true of others as well- to a greater or smaller extent.
Dr Nutan Thakur, Editor, Nutan Satta Pravah Lucknow
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