Fresh faces, old battles

Tuesday, 19 January 2021



Fresh faces, old battles

Swapnil Bharali | March 30, 2019 15:39 hrs

It seems a long career in politics with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not the best of options for the party’s politicians. I mean, after all, a career in politics essentially means prolonging one’s position as an MP or MLA to the extent possible. But, if the recent turn of events across India are to be perceived in the right context, “non-performing” sitting MPs are as useless as used tissues. Now have I got that right? 

The scenario today: In Uttar Pradesh 17 sitting MPs have been dropped; tickets to contest the elections have been given to fresh candidates. Similar scenarios in Chhattisgarh: all 10 sittings MPs dropped, in Gujarat: a minister and two other sittings MPs dropped, Maharashtra has seen four such casualties and Madhya Pradesh, five. Finally, in Assam, Ramen Deka (Mangaldoi constituency), Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (Jorhat) and Gauhati’s own long termer, Bijoya Chakravarty no longer figure on the would-be power list. That union minister Rajen Gohain not figuring as a candidate for reasons other than political is again a matter of debate. 

Now, what exactly might be the reason for these drastic dismissals? Is it purely non-performance? In Chhattisgarh, I am inclined to believe that might be the case. In its last assembly elections, the BJP lost power to the Congress after 15 years of rule despite these 10 sitting MPs. So, heads rolling is understandable. In the other states, especially Assam, while it is difficult to gauge the “performance” of our MPs per se thereby holding them accountable, it would be reasonable to infer that any anti-incumbency factor that might exist is being sought to be tackled by offering a fresh candidate rather than the sitting MP. In Gauhati LS constituency that is clearly the case.

However, while it is very difficult to understand the undercurrents of politics, the massive overhauling is clearly indicative of a dearth of respectable leaders within the greater Indian society – leaders that can be looked upon as statesmen. While BJP has understood this well, the Congress, in most cases, continue to rely on their old-timers. The twist in this tale though has been the latest list of candidates featuring Bobbeeta Sarma (Gauhati), Abdul Khaleque (Barpeta), Abu Taher Bepari (Dhubri) and Sabda Ram Rabha (Kokrajhar) – all strong candidates and somewhat fresh faces. Battle lines are drawn for a most interesting election.

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