Back to politics of 'Hawa'!

Back to politics of

The Congress party has apportioned to itself the entire English alphabet to create multiple hawas, since gone are the days of a 'single hawa'...

The Congress party has apportioned to itself the entire English alphabet to create multiple hawas, since gone are the days of a 'single hawa' delivering landslide victory. It is also a tacit admission that for a vast country like India there is no single electoral fit. So on offer are a B-hawa, I-hawa, T-hawa and so on. The B- hawa is UP-centric while the T-hawa is Hyderabad- centric. The I-hawa is focused on the NaMo phenomenon. The FS-hawa is not restricted to any one particular region. It is designed to act like a universal polio drop. Since politics is a funny game that is best practiced in a denial mode, the Congress spokespersons are asserting that the party is not thinking of advancing the poll date to this November or December. They argue that the government needs time for major policy initiatives, be it food security or FDI reforms or direct benefit transfer, to show results on the ground. Well, they have a point. But Congress leaders know that in electoral terms what is important is not the result but perception. In other words, a good word about the intention is enough to sweep voters off their feat. This is what 'Garibi Hatao' slogan did for the Congress under Indira Gandhi to whom rightly goes the credit for perfecting the hawa politics. NTR's Telugu self-respect did the same trick to the dismay of Indira Gandhi and made her take pseudo look at the Centre-State relations. One significant fallout of the hawa politics is an end to concepts like nursing a constituency. Whether the B, I or T hawa works or not, the Food Security (FS) hawa has great potential at the hustings. Otherwise, the UPA-II would not have opted for the ordinance route to usher it in. The simple arithmetic at work is one giveaway to the thinking at work. Generally, an ordinance has to be replaced by an Act of Parliament within six months of its promulgation. This six-month period in the case of FS ordinance is co-terminus with 2013. In the period between July and December, Parliament normally meets twice, first for the monsoon session and then for the winter session. If the government is going to face the monsoon session, there is no urgency to bring the FS law through the backdoor by way of an ordinance. Yes, there have been instances in the past when the government had promulgated ordinances just two-three days ahead of a parliament session. But FS is no ordinary law. It is the manna for votes though shorn of all the legalese it is no more than Sonia Gandhi's version of fair price shops.
The BJP is impressed, however, and is keen to partake of the manna. Yet it is not prepared to guarantee FS smooth sailing in Parliament. The sulking Lohiaites and Comrades are offering no hope of yes vote, either. And this ground check is what makes the political grapevine buzz with poll talk. The B-hawa is an outcome of social engineering Rahul Gandhi has planned for the key State in electoral terms, so much so that it will be doing disservice to Beni Prasad Verma and the Congress party if we think that he is a gaffe-prone 70-year-old Kurmi leader. Many political pundits did the same mistake when Lalu Prasad Yadav appeared on the Bihar scene. How wrong every one of them was proved! Politicians like Lalu and Beni Babu have perfected the theatre of the absurd for a purpose. They choose their every word with much care though the English medium-walas think these gentlemen are putting both feet into the mouth. If an acknowledged loose cannon like Digvijay Singh serves the purpose of a sounding board, Beni Babus convey to their audience in an idiom they understand a political message with an effect that is unbelievable. Theirs are punch dialogues to borrow a filmi idiom. The Congress leadership knows the utility of Beni Prasad. Otherwise, this hardened Samajwadi, who had won his spurs as a Congress baiter, would not have got into the GOP as recently as 2009. So he is allowed to go after Mulayam Singh Yadav as if a former Samajwadi is taking potshots at his old leader for some old scores to be settled. Once he does his act, the leadership swings into action to apply balm on Mulayam's wounds since the Samajwadi Party's 22 Lok Sabha members are indispensable for Manmohan Singh's minority government. It is not my case that Netaji, as Mulayam is addressed by his followers, is not aware of the Congress game. But he is going along gamely with the game because of the need for his party's government to be on the right side of the Centre. He has firsthand experience of the perils of opposing the Centre. The latest Beni gaffe, Madhusudan Misty's annoyance, and 'humiliated' Beni Babu's public threat to quit the Congress are part of a script. If the party is really serious to end the Beni nukkad, it could have shown him the door long ago. It needs his one-act plays because there is no player in the UP Congress who is a match to him when it comes to challenging the SP � verbally. Put simply, we are going to see the B-hawa gain some velocity and speed. Now about I-hawa. The Ishrat Jahan case may be Gujarat- centric but in electoral terms it will be effective across the Hindi belt and beyond. It may even force the BJP and its ally Akali Dal to revisit their memorial politics, which are designed to derive electoral advantage by stirring up the memories of 1984 pogrom in Delhi. The Congress will like the CBI to lead Ishrat Jahan case trail to the doorstep of Narendra Modi. Whether its wish materialises or not, I-hawa will leave a bitter trail to the dismay of everyone concerned; like the T-hawa that will not limit its impact to Andhra Pradesh alone. (The writer can be reached at
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