Divide And Fool
I was in first standard when the concept of division was introduced to me. Four divided by two is equal to two- The first sum that I learnt. Little did I know then that one day this simple mathematical term will hold so much significance in an altogether different context.
Cut to 2011 - The year that saw the ‘Second Freedom Struggle’ from corruption.
The year that will remain famous for the rise of an unlikely leader in Anna Hazare, will also remain significant for being the year of divisions, when nothing remained united. The beginning of this division begun from the very beacons of change—The Team Anna.
After a significant campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill that took the nation by storm, almost forcing the government to bend, Team Anna was expected to remain united. But it failed.
The division started with the ‘Rajasthan Waterman’ Rajendra Singh who accused fellow members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi of being too ‘dominating’.
Soon, Swami Agnivesh followed suit and joined hands with governments.
Carrying on the trend, the official blogger of Anna Hazare, Raju Parulekar broke away from the group after accusing Team Anna members (Read Kejriwal and Bedi) of using Anna’s name for personal gains.
And as if this was not enough, the two most important members Bedi and Kejriwal also had a very public spat over the former’s travel bills.
The current position is that the Jan Lokpal is yet to be tabled in Parliament and the team fighting for it stands divided.
Taking a cue from this division, the government went on to divide the Lokpal Bill into five parts: Lokpal Bill, Citizen’s Charter, Public Grievance Redressal Bill, Whistleblowers Bill and Judicial Accountability Bill.
In all this hype and hoopla, the common man was fooled. First, by the government and then by the new age reformists.
The second most terrible problem faced by the people of this country after corruption is price rise. So when the fuel price was hiked for thirteenth time in this fiscal, political parties were bound to raise a hue and cry.
But the shock for the government came from within when a key ally Trinamool Congress alleged that they were not taken into confidence on this issue and threatened to pull out.
This issue once again highlighted the divide within the ruling coalition. Though the government managed to calm down a furious Mamata Bannerjee with a meagre cut in process, the people of this country are still wondering if they were befooled by this ‘lip service’ and no action by the Trinamool.
Anyways, at the other end of the political divide that consists of the Opposition is also not lagging behind in this quest of being divided.
So, when the main Opposition, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is not differing with the Left over its China policy, it stands divided with its parent organisation, the Sangh Parivar over the next prime ministerial candidate.
The ‘division’ started when the ‘Development Man’ of the party and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi sat on a three-day fast with an inherent motive of projecting himself as the future prime ministerial candidate from the party.
Though, all the big names from the party ranging from Sushma Swaraj to Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari to Lal Krishna Advani were present in the three-day long soap opera, the talks about a division within the party over this move also gained momentum.
The final culmination of this divide came to fore when the senior most leader of the party, LK Advani unilaterally announced his anti-corruption yatra just at the end of Modi’s fast, literally forcing others to join in. This move by Advani was widely seen as his last ditch attempt of staking the claim for the top job of the country.
The Modi-Advani divide was once again highlighted when the latter decided to start his yatra from Nitish’s Bihar instead of Modi’s Gujarat from where he had started all his earlier yatras.
There is also a Narendra Modi-Nitish Kumar divide within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) because of which, the Bihar CM didn’t allow his Gujarat counterpart to campaign in his state. But this is an altogether different issue.
With the Sangh backing Narendra Modi, Advani refusing to budge and Sushma Swaraj emerging as the consensus candidate, the nation stands befooled searching for the face of the future prime ministerial candidate from the BJP.
Moving on, when the government is still confused over the demand for dividing the Andhra Pradesh and creating Telangana, the Chief Minister of poll bound Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati came up with the ‘novel idea’ of dividing the state into four-- Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh.
Will the new format guarantee better governance and more development? Nobody knows!
But still, many believe it to be a political masterstroke by Mayawati for the upcoming state assembly elections. Whether the Centre give in to her demands or will resort to some other ways of tackling her will be an interesting watch in the election season, but the common man of the state is confused and looking at Mayawati’s statues feeling befooled.
As there is still sometime for the year to end, I am sure a couple of more such divisions will surface, redefining the meaning of ‘standing united’!
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