Viewers' Voice

Why Should Laloo Join The Congress Party?

Nawal K. Pandey



(Bihar Times) History is replete with instances where politicians find the crossroad of politics too murky and too risky. It is a challenging and intimidating predicament but it is too diminutive to frighten the bold ones. Unlike cowards, they defy the norm and embrace extraordinary measures to face the challenges. Although such leaders are rare, I envision one for the purposes of expressing my opinion. He is a brilliant politician, sometimes reviled but always admired for courage and passion. He belongs to the tradition that changed the political map of India. He has weathered the allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement without loosing his title of the King of Bihar politics. Nothing eroded his charm and everything made him stronger and vibrant. He is still the harbinger of hope, possessed of the charisma he exercised to win the masses. Even the judiciary had its chance but found him an effendi. Either he is a Teflon man or the rigor of time has made him a seasoned politician. He is wiser and more ingenious now; commands the respect of his peers. He controls the destiny of the present government of India like the axis around which the central government revolves. Exclude him; and the UPA will disintegrate. For my purposes, he is the bold one.

He has many characteristics among which are his ability to conquer his antagonists. If everything fails, he uses his power to cajole, power to intimidate and power to purge to subdue them. He is not a tyrant. He behaves more like a benevolent conqueror. He lets his conquered live but they must live under his tutelage. For example, he defeated the Congress in Bihar but, for reasons unknown, remained its biggest benefactor. Maybe it was to learn the art of political maneuvering and brinkmanship or the art of political vigilance but he never annihilated the Congress. He surpassed the congress leaders in every way; and if the rumors are true, he supported Mrs. Sonia Gandhi when she was under attack from her opponents. He became her closest confidant after she succeeded but remained an independent voice. His closeness to the Congress is so obvious that the people confuse him as a Congress leader rather the leader of an opposite party. His rapport with Sonia Gandhi gives him more power than Congress leaders have; and in a way, the Congress depends on him for strength as much as he depends on the Congress for his continued existence. Such interdependence connotes the vagaries of politics but it is the necessity of time. It would not be an exaggeration if I were to say that the defeat of one would be the end of other. These are not mere extenuating circumstances they have serious ramifications.

It is obvious that the person I have portrayed above is Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav and he has a dream. He would like to be the Prime Minister of India. I see no reason why his dream cannot come true; and it will come true provided he sacrifices his inferior role of being the surrogate of the Congress Party for a higher objective of being the Prime Minister. How he could become the Prime Minister is my premise; and my premise is based on the following assumptions.

I assume that Mr. Yadav is a popular leader in spite of his diminishing influence; and he is the undeterred ally of the Congress. It is widely known that he has supported the Congress through thick and thin and the party is indebted to him. Conversely, when I look at the RJD, I find that the RJD as a regional organization has lost its significance for Mr. Yadav. It limits his appeal, eclipses his talent and veils his dream. Mr. Yadav established the RJD for the limited purpose of enhancing his recognition and it has served its purpose. There is every indication that the RJD has become stale. The masses that supported it are less likely to support it again, not so overwhelmingly at any rate. In the next general election, the RJD appears to be doomed. If it were defeated as badly as thought, it would put damper on the dream of Mr. Yadav. However, to keep his viability intact and dream alive, he should disband the RJD and merge it with the Congress. It is the organization most suited for his style of leadership and he will relish it. In my view, Mr. Yadav has the competence to chart his own fate and he could do it by merging the RJD with the Congress. Such a move will instantly make him the most powerful national leader of the Congress party.

Let us suppose that Mr. Yadav is willing to join the Congress but he is afraid of loosing the backing of some groups. I would argue that the base he catered was once the base of the Congress that switched its allegiance to Mr. Yadav because he successfully used his own brand of rhetoric to capture it. That base is polarized now. Mr. Yadav cannot alone make the claim to be the exclusive leader of that base if he depends on them to win the election. Many leaders like Mr. Nitish Kumar, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan and Miss Mayawati also claim to be the leaders of that base; and we cannot discount their influence.

On the contrary, if Mr. Yadav is willing to join the Congress, the combined strength of both the Congress and the RJD will give him unmatched dominance. He will find a great leap in his stature; and the support he will get would be immeasurably overwhelming. In fact, the Congress in Bihar has loyal supporters in all groups of people; and they will vote for the Congress even if they know that the Congress will loose. At the same time, Mr. Yadav has his own supporters who would exclusively vote for him under any circumstances. While the base of the Congress suffers from neglect and lack of leadership, the RJD suffers from lack of national identity. When a small step can yield the desired result what is the reason to risk the election.

Such a metamorphosis as pleasant as it is would be awkward for Mr. Yadav but it is a good idea and the good ideas come in many forms. The one that outweighs rigid adherences also renounces party affiliation; and professes that nothing is vice in the service to accomplishing political objectives. His conversion will sock the opposition but it would solidify his leadership. The merger of the RJD with the Congress would eliminate duplicity as well as ambiguity and it would bring about some semblance to the Congress and to Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav. Moreover, it would not be the merger of convenience but of necessity. Both adhere to the same principles and both bask on the same philosophy. Since the Congress is a National Organization, the voice of Mr. Yadav would find a wider platform and larger audience. It would make him more effective and less provincial. He will not only invigorate the Congress, he would be the force of utmost importance. He will not be called the surrogate of the Congress because he will be its mouthpiece. I suggest his transformation because Mr. Yadav needs the Congress and the Congress needs a firebrand leader like Mr. Yadav. He is the leader of the propensity of a Hurricane. The Hurricane gains tremendous strength when it gets to warm water. The unification of Yadav with the Congress would be similar to that. He would find himself amidst the warmness of the Congress to give him the same force as the Hurricane.

As I see it, there is no contradiction between the present leadership of the Congress and Mr. Yadav. What Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi propose is not different from what Mr. Yadav disposes. There is only one difference. It is the dream of Mr. Yadav to be the Prime Minister. How does he reconcile this conflict with the dream of Mr. Rahul Gandhi is something to ponder. After analyzing the political situation, I have concluded that the circumstances under which Mr. Rahul Gandhi would be the Prime Minister are different from the circumstances of Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav. For Rahul Gandhi to be the Prime Minister the Congress Party must win decisively; and if Mr. Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister, Mr. Yadav will be in a better position to ask for his rightful place in his administration. On the contrary, if the election gives a fractured mandate and the Congress does not get the majority, the chances of Mr. Gandhi to be the Prime Minister would be bleak; and I base my assertion on the fact that other parties will not accept him as the Prime Minister. However, under different circumstances, the Congress could still form the government under the leadership of Laloo Prasad Yadav. The parties that would not accept Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister could accept Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav of the Congress to be the Prime Minister. In fact, if it is possible for a congress leader to be the compromised Prime Minister in a fractured mandate, it will be Mr. Yadav, a newcomer to the Congress, not Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Nevertheless, the chances of Mr. Yadav becoming the Prime Minister are greater when he is the Congress leader rather than the leader of a regional party.

Although the BJP is on the horizon to claim its victory, what would happen suppose the outcome of the next election is so fractured that neither the BJP nor the Congress can form the government. To avoid imposition of the President Rule, the coalition government will be formed and other parties would dictate who would be the Prime Minister. Under this scenario, Mr. Yadav as a regional leader would have a lesser chance to be the Prime Minister, but if he were in the Congress, he could emerge as the consensus candidate.

Join the Congress Mr. Yadav