N Jayaprakash Narayan resigned from the IAS, set up an NGO, thought politics is better and subsequently set up a political party, Loksatta. Through out this post-IAS career path, he wrote extensively, appeared at various meetings and participated in television debates. His message revolved around changing the game and the rules of the game, whatever that meant. He can never complain that he was not heard enough. Yet, he did not get what he wanted to – to run the state government.
However, this year seems to have brought a change in him. Until now, under him, Loksatta Party (LSP) had ploughed a lone furrow. Now he has decided to enter into an alliance with CPI and other like-minded parties. Before, at the LSP annual convention, he announced his intention to move to national politics. I think his attempt to raise farmers issues led him to interactions at the field level, and he ‘caught’ the real pulse of what politics is. He probably decided he is not made fur such ‘pressures’. Two, the overwhelming response Anna Hazare got on the corruption issue.
It would be interesting to see what kind of alliance would be formed between JP Narayan of LSP and K Narayana of CPI. It would be interesting to see who compromised how much on what, to make this alliance happen. They are a world apart. Many examples can be cited here: K. Narayana strongly advocates electricity subsidies, while JP does not believe in subsidies. Secondly, CPI does not think anti-corruption can be top-on-the-pile agenda, while LSP has a different take on it. CPI supports statehood for Telangana, while LSP is against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Then, what made LSP select CPI as its partner? Would this alliance be on policies, or strategies, or just electoral adjustments? It could be a historical mistake for LSP. Until now, LSP was able to hold on to its clean image, even though electorally it did not benefit from it. However, with this and any other alliance, this ‘fig leaf’ is gone. Then, LSP needs to work harder to convince the voters that it is not the ‘run-of-the-mill’ political party.
The choice of alliance partner – CPI, and not CPI(M), can also be suicidal. CPI, unlike its Marxist version, seems to have decided that ‘anything is good, if you can win the elections’, is also looking eagerly at TDP and TRS. Are we looking at a grand alliance of LSP, CPI, TDP and TRS? If so, the stakes for LSP are very high.
I feel this is a ‘do or die’ plunge for LSP. Recently, looking dour, the supremo threatened to close down LSP if people do not want it. He seems to have hit several roadblocks, giving credence to the theories such as there could be internal leadership crisis, and LSP survived only because of support from YSR. It may be too early to write LSP’s epitaph but definitely we can assume the death of his principal message of changing the political game and the rules of political game.
While this change is no threat to the ‘employment’ of N. Jayaprakash Narayan, since the ‘reform’ crowd at the national level would be eager to utilise his services, we need to be worried about followers of LSP, who sincerely believed that LSP can be a harbinger of change – a la Chiranjeevi.