Dalit versus Thugs

‘It’s the matter of choosing between the Dalit versus the thugs,’ quipped Beni Prasad Verma, in one of his classy one-liners. It sounds almost as if Dalit is an insult but he, obviously, wouldn’t make such mistakes. He meant it good-naturedly at Mayavati’s party and took a dig at Samajwadi Party in churlish way. As usual, on the eve of the poll, the Congress cadres had begun to speak in multiple voices, one favouring SP and one favouring BSP and other aiming for something in-between, without anyone knowing what they were.

They need not have bothered. The results have pushed Congress to fourth position. With absolutely no one needed to have to make any decisions, Mulayam’s SP has wrested the state from Mayavati’s clutches through a landslide. It was expected to be this way – throughout the campaign. SP and BSP fought for the first and second positions; BJP and Congress fought for the third and fourth slot. Rahul Gandhi is obviously disappointed at losin the third slot and Mayavati would have known that her time has come but still would have been shocked at the verdict. The only consolation point must have been for BJP to have gained the third slot. Now, their real loss is in having lost Uttarakhand.

It is pointless to really question whether the people of UP have made the right decision. Beni Prasad Verma’s comparison is unfair, because it should be ‘Thugs versus Thugs’. The people have done the right thing because they have shown the door to one thug and we can only rest assured that they will do so for the new one. As Patrick French tweeted, ‘Mayavati will be back!’

In the midst of this counting cacophony, one question repeatedly asked in the media is ‘Should Modi have campaigned in the UP?’ Nobody has an answer, and BJP had the lamest excuse, ‘He was busy in Gujarat’, as if Modi’s pressing administrative schedules are more important than the UP elections.

If Modi had campaigned in the UP, it is unlikely that BJP would have come to power. At best, the party might have garnered a few more seats. Would it have been worth it? On the other extreme of hypothesis, BJP might have been alienated and the ballot might have polarised further in the state where Muslims constitute sizable chunk of the population. And the other parties would have received a convenient weapon for the campaign. At present, at least in the Hindi belt, Modi is bad news, as Nitish Kumar rightly perceived. Unless BJP and Modi do something to assuage the Pogrom guilt, he will continue to be bad news. Third slot or not, BJP will not be able to pose a formidable challenge to Congress for a long time.