Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Walk on alone -

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    • R Jagannathan
    R Jagannathan
    • A split between the two could be beneficial to both, since it would allow them to attract forces inimical to each other. For example, if the Sena is going for the core Maharashtrian vote, there is no way in hell it can vie for the migrant’s allegiance in Mumbai and Pune, not to speak of other cities in Maharashtra.

      The migrant vote is key to winning in the cities. The BJP, with its cow belt credentials, is best placed to garner their loyalties.

      The situation is not dissimilar in the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) camp. In the Marathi-for-cabbies controversy, the NCP has been more vocal than the Congress. It has begun sounding like the B-team of the Thackerays on this issue.


      So, whether it is the Sena-BJP or the Congress-NCP, we are talking Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But here’s the rub: Any split, whether tactical or ideological, will have long-term consequences, no matter what the short-term electoral benefits of dividing to rule.

      One cannot build a national party by aligning with regional satraps. Given the fact that political power resides largely in the states, the national party will usually lose out.

    • If national parties want to drive a national agenda, they must often fight alone, or else they will be swamped by regionalism. At the very least, they have to develop an independent base in various states so that they cannot be pushed around. This means investing in building a party from the ground up, and that takes time.

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