With the Bharatiya Janata Party becoming the principal pole in India’s polity, it has started playing the same sneaky games the Grand Old Party once did whenever it failed to muster the numbers at the hustings. How else does one describe the BJP’s attempts at cobbling together a majority after the recently concluded elections in Goa and Manipur? In both the states, though it fell short of a majority, it was the Congress that was the single largest party in the Assembly.
When the Congress was the dominant party, it often tried to gang up against the BJP if it emerged as the single largest party in a fractured mandate to form a ‘secular’ government. That dadagiri of the non-BJP parties to keep saffron out of the political mosaic by fair means or foul is now being paid back in the same coin.
Remember just the other day, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had indicated his willingness to forge an alliance with arch-rival BSP’s Mayawati to keep communal elements (read BJP) at bay after exit polls showed a hung House with the BJP predicted to emerge as the single largest party. The wheel of fortune has turned a full circle, and the victim is now the aggressor. And it is the Congress that is now playing the victim card.
In Goa, the BJP scored 13 on 40 while the Congress got 17, with BJP CM Laxmikant Parsekar as also a few other ministers losing their seats. Yet when BJP’s Manohar Parrikar met Governor Mridula Sinha to stake his claim to form the new government, along with letters of support from the Maharashtra Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party to prove his majority, she accepted it and gave him 15 days to take the floor test. While the textbook method involves inviting the single largest party first, the Governor couldn’t have ignored the stability factor. She preferred the single largest grouping that could provide a stable government. Manipur too appears heading that way. That’s another déja vu moment in the making.