Weekly Program on World Affairs


Need of Social Coalition along with Political Alliance- Shamsher Alam

Source: The Hans India

With all twist and turn in Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy took oath as the chief minister of state with support of the Congress party. Both the parties agree to form the post-poll alliance. This kind of support of Congress to Janta Dal (Secular) did astonish the BJP. But the most astounding thing for BJP is-coming and sharing the stage by various political leaders ranging from the Mamta Banerjee to Sitaram Yechuri (the political rival) to Mayawati to Akilesh (political rival turned political supporter) to Chnandrababu Naidu and others. Sharing of stage by political rivals such as Mamta and Yechuri is great sign for Indian politics. This kind of sharing the stage by different political leaders is a sign of political unity. However, this type of alliance and unity needs some critical reflection from the socio-political lens. 

Having said this, it is worth mentioning the two socio-political categories which decide Indian politics: first is caste and another is religion. These two categories are inevitable and decisive factors, as far as Indian democracy is concerned. At this juncture, it is worth analyzing and contextualizing these two variables in biggest state i.e. UP. There are two main political parties, which are likely coming together in the form of coalition before the general election 2019. These are SP and BSP. However, earlier they were rivals. These two parties in the same state fought by-election together and won. The leader of BSP openly and unconditionally supported the SP candidate. In other way, she asked her supporter and vote bank to cast their vote and support for SP candidate. On this note, the media is asking that would Akhilesh be able to convert his vote bank to the BSP candidate. This is an uncomfortable question asked by the same to Akhilesh. This is political as well as sociological question, which is really giving stress and challenge to him, before the general election. He must work on the modalities of the same to defy such odds, if he really interested in the political alliance and want to challenge Modi wave. 

As these two parties are coming together to fight the election and they are making alliance to do the same. However, the socio-political question is that whether the Yadavas, the supporter of SP, would open their arms to hug Dalits. To elaborate and elucidate this, it can be asked whether the Yadavas would not unleash the caste violence upon the Dalit, when their so-called caste pride would disturb by any pity issues. Would they allow to pass the wedding procession through their village locality in which the Dalit groom is siting upon the mare (as the upper caste people were not allowing to pass the wedding processing of Dalit in Kasganj, UP)? Would they allow Dalits to take participation in the village congregation? Would they allow to them to enter temple despite of the protest of upper caste Hindu? Would they protect from the caste violence against the Dalits as India has been witnessing now a day?  These examples could also be contextualized with the other Hindu castes. Since other Hindu caste group also vote for SP.

When we contextualize this aspect with religious angle, then it can be argued that Muslims in UP are voting to various political parties. However, Muslims are largely fan and supporter of the SP and BSP in same state. They were the deciding factor in tenure of Mayawati and Akhilesh, whenever they came to power. However, these two leaders did alliance in by-election of UP. Moreover, they are also trying to continue it further. So, the questions arise that whether this political alliance is going to alter the fear of Muslims in this serious time. To elaborate on this, it can be argued that this alliance would able to alter the day to-day confrontation between the communities (Hindu and Muslims), which generally took the ugly form of big or small form of communal violence. Would this alliance through social coalition be able to ensure the safety and security of Muslims at the time of communal disharmony? Would this alliance be able to stop the communal disharmony? Would this alliance be able to ensure the safety and support for Muslim boy, who has eloped a Hindu girl? The same parameter applies to the other side as when the Muslim girl is eloped by Hindu boy. Both communities would have to think that it is just a matter of love and not of false pride of religion. They must think that it is just an individual act not of the whole community. If these questions could be addressed by the political coalition, and they are able to penetrate these kind of values, then it could be cherished. However, if the political alliance is not able to pierce the social harmony and solidarity among their supporter, then political alliance is just the number game and ambition to win and keep power with them.   

Lastly, to encourage such kind of coalition, it can be argued that the political alliance is necessary to gain the numbers and defeat the communal and dividing forces. However, at the same time, it is very essential to convert these political coalition into the social harmony and solidarity in such diverse population. If the political grouping is not able to send their message to society, then it is just political alliance and nothing else. Therefore, it is the duty of political parties to ensure such kind of values among the workers, supporters and vote bank. Finally, it can be argued that there is immediate need of social coalition and harmony along with the political alliance not only in UP but throughout the country. This step would help to establish more harmonious and secular country.

Shamsher Alam
Ph D Scholar
Centre for the Study of Social Systems,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi