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Moolahyumm, Congress battle for 3rd place in UP
March 28, 2007
Bureaucrats of all ranks have already started deserting the sinking ship of the Samajwadi Party and started distancing themselves from Moolahyumm Singh and his party.
In every election, this is a tell-tale sign which cannot be overlooked.
This time the entire election paradigm is going to undergo an unimaginable upheaval, re-defining many a fundamental past conception of assembly elections and electioneering in UP.
Polling centres/booths covered by videography, electronic voting machines, identity photographs, ubiquitous mobile phones, SMS, hawk-like election observers from other states, round-the clock control rooms in districts, state capital as well as in New Delhi properly manned by alert staff, etc, etc will all combine.
Add to this the uncontrollable power of the different mass media led by the television channels giving a running commentary on the goings-on.
They will all synergise to make this an election which the nation will watch, awe-struck, on their television sets.
Moolahyumm Singh seems to have lost his focus and is wasting precious time attacking the Congress more than other formidable parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The half-baked formula perhaps formed by Amar Singh seems to have blinded the otherwise shrewd son of the soil.
The joke doing the rounds in Lucknow is that the one-time active Samajwadi Mulayam has metamorphosed into the inaccessible Moolahyumm. He has now become hawai putra (son of the skies), thanks to Saharashri Subroto Roy, Amar Singh, Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Ambani.
Old-timers wonder what is wrong with master-strategist Moolahyumm. Pity is what the public has for Big B.
The Election Commission's howwa (halo) is, today, so very strong that even its lack of fairplay and impartiality has been pardoned by the illiterate voters of UP.
Chief Secretary N C Bajpai had led a team of around 40 senior government officials to a Samajwadi Party function last year to celebrate the government's three successful years in power. Bajpai even addressed the gathering at the party office in Lucknow and sang emotional paeans to Moolahyumm. Naturally Bajpai, an IAS officer, was not spared by his senior IAS colleague N Gopalaswami -- India's Chief Election Commissioner -- along with state Director General of Police Bua Singh, Principal Secretary Satish Agarwal and others. The presence of all these officials at a political party event had raised eyebrows over the propriety of IAS and IPS officers attending functions of political parties.
DGP Bua Singh, a Dalit, immediately put in his papers and sought VRS, averring that 'the EC's step to transfer me has come as a jolt and I feel hurt and humiliated'.
The toughies and the goons of all political parties including the Samajwadi Party are confounded and confused. The Central Reserve Police Force will hold sway this time in the polling centres and their vicinity. Booth-capturing by the mafia will be done more as wishful thinking and less on the actual field.
The CRPF will be deployed on an unprecedented scale. With Uttaranchal sliced out, UP has shrunk in size. Sensitive places will all be extensively 'covered'. The seven-phase elections will ensure a much tighter control by the CEC.
Around 700 CRPF companies for 10 to 15 districts is unheard of. In the not too distant past, if a district could get four or five companies of armed police the police chief would heave a sigh of relief.
Each district will get around 50 to 100 additional CRPF companies this time. Money power will watch in impotent rage as fearless voters rush to the polling booths. They will simply pocket Moolahyumm's tempting offers but not vote for his party.
The lashing anti-incumbency waves will come home for good.
Mayawati has fielded candidates who are not only resourceful but also have good money power to counter her enemy's moves. Most of them have already proven their strength while shelling out around Rs 1 crore for the BSP ticket for this prestigious election.
The BJP has slightly improved its position and its dedicated RSS cadres will try to take further advantage of the anti-incumbency wave blowing all over UP.
Mayawati activated her dedicated cadres six months ago and they have been working incessantly in the interiors.
Moolahyumm's cadres were once very good, but this time they are a disgruntled and demoralised lot. Frustration has seeped in, and they have become indifferent, thanks also to his brother Shivpal Singh Yadav's misadministration.
The Congress cadres are comparatively poor in all respects.
Both the BSP and the BJP-RSS have a dedicated and committed cadre of field workers who will make all the difference on the day of the polls. The voters will be encouraged to venture out at any cost, and that will have a great impact on the pattern of votes in favour of party candidates.
The Congress has neither the money power in the state, nor dedicated cadres which the other three parties have mobilised. However, thanks to the raging anti-incumbency wave and marginal improvement in the public perception, the Congress' graph may also improve.
Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka's campaign is expected to work. The public has even stopped laughing at and ridiculing novice Rahul Gandhi. Veteran Congress leaders have once again started suffixing the 'ji' after young Rahul's name, a la Sanjay Gandhi in the past!
Else, the elusive Sonia would not have picked up the gauntlet to lead a demoralised Congress in dangerous UP. Rahul and Sonia have been busy locating allies and shaking hands for an alliance. Mahendra Singh Tikait, the popular leader of Jat farmers, has been roped in. Wooing Muslims has been an ongoing exercise with some success.
The Muslims have now to seriously lean towards the Congress. After all, Mayawati has unwittingly labelled them as kattarpanthi (rabid communalists). What about Muslim support to Moolahyumm? Well, the Muslims are far too shrewd to waste their votes on a losing horse.
The BJP will trail way behind the elephant. The others will pick up the crumbs by the wayside.
UP is a very, very important state for the Congress party to neglect. More so, with the parliamentary election not very far away, Sonia can ill-afford to lose UP. The Congress will fight tooth and nail.
This time, the Congress and all its ragtag allies put together may succeed in just tilting the balance, and pipping the over-confident Moolahyumm Singh's Samajwadi Party at the ribbon for the third place!Nazarwala, a seasoned observer of Uttar Pradesh politics for over 30 years, will contribute a column on the UP election.