The process of political realignment has begun after non-UPA parties came together against the government’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
The process of political realignment has begun after non-UPA parties came together against the government’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. While voting on this issue in the Lower House exposed “fence-sitters” who saved the government despite opposing FDI in retail on the floor, it has brought the BJP-led NDA, Left, Trinamul Congress and anti-Congress regional parties like the BJD, AIADMK, TDP, TRS and Janata Dal (S) together. This has shown that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav cannot become a leader of non-Congress, non-BJP parties. He could become a Prime Minister only on the support of the Congress, and the BSP would continue to remain a post-poll player. The coming together of anti-Congress parties on the issues of “aam aadmi” (common man) is a significant development. Currently, they are leaderless but the coming Lok Sabha elections could produce a “leader” acceptable to both the leftists, rightists and regional parties, fear the Congress insiders after the Opposition’s motion on FDI got defeated in the Lok Sabha. The voting pattern also showed that the national agenda is shifting to economic issues from communal and caste-based politics. The Congress, which led a minority government at the Centre in the 2004 and 2009 general elections, would have to look for allies in major states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal and even AP this time. It has been sharing power with the NCP in Maharashtra and fought the LS and Assembly elections with the DMK in Tamil Nadu. It contested the UP polls in alliance with the Ajit Singh-RLD. The issue of pre-poll alliance has become relevant for the Congress in the changing political situation. This could figure prominently in the Congress’ two-day chintan shivir (brainstorming session) to be held in Jaipur on January 18 and 19 next month. “Had the Samajwadi Party (22) and the BSP (21) voted in favour of Sushma Swaraj’s motion on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha then it was a clear defeat (of the government),” conceded a Congress MP after the House was adjourned. The BSP’s intent to stage a walkout became clear in the afternoon. But its strategy to create rift between the BJP and other parties on the issue of “communalism” did not work. A Left leader said Ms Mayawati became UP chief minister (thrice) with the help of “communal” BJP and had even campaigned for it in the Gujarat Assembly elections held in 2002 after the communal riots.