I was quite nauseated by the photograph in some Sunday papers showing a beaming Rajnath Singh, flanked by Raghubar Das (the Jharkhand BJP president) and Arjun Munda departing from their meeting with the Governor. They had called on the Governor to communicate the BJP's support to a coalition government led by Shibu Soren.
Consider the sheer outrageousness of their victory smiles. The BJP had 31 seats in the previous Assembly; in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the NDA (BJP + JD-U) led in 50 segments; in the Assembly election of this month, the BJP won 18 seats and the JD-U another two. In short, the BJP was roundly rejected by even those who had earlier reposed their faith in it. It was squeezed between the JMM and the Congress-JVM alliance. Babu
These leaders who were in charge of the state should have been doing some soul-searching, asking where they went wrong. Instead, they are celebrating because they have still got a foothold in government.
Rajnath Singh is elated that after his irrelevance in Uttar Pradesh and at the BJP national HQ, he becomes a puppeteer in Jharkhand. He has specialised in transactional politics and Jharkhand is the centre of it--witness the glorious career of Madhu Koda.
Arjun Munda is elated that he too will count with his mentor Rajnath. And they are doubly happy that the alliance with Shibu Soren ends all possibility of Babulal Marandi's return to the BJP. That, after all, was their main worry throughout this year.
The celebration of a few individuals apart, what impact is the decision to team up with the JMM likely to have on the party?
BJP leaders maintain that the arithmetic of the verdict made this coalition inevitable. The party, it is claimed, had to upstage the Congress and prevent a UPA Government in Jharkhand.
The irony is that the Congress wasn't at all desperate to form a government. As the largest pre-poll alliance it wanted the Chief Minister's post either for its own nominee or for Babulal Marandi. The Congress believes that the fractured verdict makes it difficult for any government to survive for long. When the state is confronted with another election, the Congress feels it will be ideally placed to be in a commanding role. Its alliance with Babulal has fetched good dividends. The JVM may now emerge as a wholesome adivasi party and a long-term alternative to the JMM.
The BJP's support base is unlikely to accept its alliance with the JMM and more so given the demonology around Shibu Soren. The BJP made a huge fuss over 'tainted' ministers, using Lalu and Shibu Soren as examples. Now they are gleefully supping with the devil--a devil who had no inhibitions over taking Maoist help in the elections.
My guess is that this government won't last beyond three years. It is certain to become embroiled in scandals and competitive extortion.
After the involvement of the Reddy brothers in Bellary, the integrity quotient of the BJP has been affected. With Jharkhand it is likely to hit rock bottom.
The fate of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh is likely to be re-visited in Jharkhand.
It's sad to see racketeers get the upper hand in a national party.
With this depressing thought, HAPPY NEW YEAR