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Rise above Ego - The Times of India

Editorial ()
23 December 1996

Title : Rise above Ego
Author : Editorial
Publication : The Times of India
Date : December 23, 1996

In staying the Allahabad high court ruling quashing the re-imposition of
Central Rule in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court has recognised the need to
settle with some urgency the larger constitutional questions tied to the
issue. If fractured verdicts and isolationist tendencies are today's
political reality, then, the UP impasse would inevitably be replicated in
other states, perhaps even at the Centre. In other words, a formula for
dealing with the situation has to be settled in practice and soon. The
process of government formation in UP need hardly wait for such an exercise,
though. Far from it. Indeed, if the high court asked the governor in so many
words to put together a government, the apex court, too, in its stay order,
implied the same: "The stay order, however, shall not preclude the formation
of a popular government in the state." It is not as if there is some
insurmountable legal hurdle in the way of installing a government in UP. All
that is required for popular rule to be established in India's most populous
state is for its principal political players to give up their prejudices and
see the advantages of coexistence. But that, apparently, is asking too much
of our political big-wigs. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, for instance, would rather
self-destruct than get together with Ms Mayawati. Afflicted with the same
predilection, the BJP's Mr Kalyan Singh has yet again bought time from the
central leadership for a fresh attempt to muster a majority by himself. He is
evidently undeterred by the BJP's recent failure to establish a majority in
the Rajya Sabha by-elections from UP.

Granted that a partnership with the highly volatile BSP carries its own
risks. For one, both Mr Yadav and Mr Kalyan Singh know that power will help
the BSP consolidate its position. In Mr Yadav's case, there is another
irritant - Ms Mayawati and he abhor each other. Mr Kalyan Singh's worries are
also understandable. Extending support to the BSP, in addition to a possible
loss of stature for him within the BJP, could lead to caste cleavages in
party ranks and an image confusion among voters. He no doubt remembers the
angry upper caste reaction to such Mayawati-imposed measures as the
Anti-Harijan Act. And yet, both Mr Yadav and Mr Kalyan Singh are overlooking
the obvious gains from a tie-up with the BSP. Should Mr Yadav prop up Ms
Mayawati, he will have fulfilled his primary objective in life - to keep the
BJP out. A BSP-BJP alliance, too, promises far-reaching benefits for both.
For the BSP, it would mean a second go at power. For the BJP, it would be a
replay of the events of 1995, when it aligned with the BSP so as to wean it
away from the SP. That one act broke the back of the then formidable
Dalit-Muslim-OBC combination. Today, it would be breaking up the Congress-BSP
pact, which has the potential to upset the BJP applecart not just in UP, but
beyond its borders in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The BJP could
also use its influence with the BSP to concertedly target Mr Yadav on his
scandals. If Mr Yadav and Mr Kalyan Singh can persuade themselves to give up
their biases and fears, they would be doing a great service to the people of
UP, who have been denied a popular government solely because of the
shortsightedness of those they elected. Realpolitik must succeed in UP if
only to save the state from another round of avoidable and expensive
elections, which may generate yet another situation of deadlock.

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