EDITORIAL: Globalized Politics

Just as the private sector had to undergo major overhauling not only in their approach to the production line but also in other aspects as diverse as customer satisfaction, back up services, ancillary units, in the post liberalization era, politics in the largest democracy in the world too have had to undergo certain changes to suit the changing global scenario. And so it is that we see the country passing through the TINA (There Is No Alternative, read Congress) era to the politics of coalition Governments and the rise of regional satraps, with all political parties having to fall in line or be left on the way side, forgotten and unsung.

In other words, just like the corporate houses had to adopt a totally new culture to survive in the age of globalization, politics or political parties too have to change with the changing time and march to the beat of the changing political perspectives and political equations. The days of monopoly are over and just as the choice before the people today is no longer a tossup between a Premier Padmini or an Ambassador car, but an array of choices, depending on one’s budget, the choice before the people of the largest democracy in the world today is no longer only the Congress or the Left or the extreme right parties but a number of political parties which cater to the local taste and aspirations of the people.

Today it is well nigh impossible to even entertain the thought of the Congress or the BJP going it alone at the hustings in States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and even West Bengal. This calls for tie ups or pre-poll agreements, somewhat like how Maruti Udyog tied up with Suzuki to revolutionize the car market in India or Honda tying up with Hero Company to script a similar story in the two wheeler segment. Corporate houses which have not been able to keep pace or understand the changing global scenario, where globalization has become the magic word, have fallen by the way side, unsung and forgotten. Same is the case with political parties which just refuses to see the reality of the day and are slowly being pushed to the periphery.

Manipur may not come into the map of the corporate world, but nevertheless the changing scenario has definitely left an impact on the people here and this can be gauged from the emerging trend of the youngsters who prefer to look for gainful employment outside the State. It is no longer a Sarkari job, that the younger generation runs after but a job which fits their academic profile and the dotcom revolution has provided just the right platform for the youngsters to get a toe hold in the hugely competitive corporate world where the stakes are high and the returns uncertain, but nevertheless which provides an opportunity to all to come out with their best effort. This is the changing profile of the younger generations, with the changing global scenario acting as the perfect catalyst. Ten years back no one in his wildest dream would have thought that China would emerge as the second biggest economy in the world, eclipsing Japan in the process. This is what globalization all about is and how performance is rewarded and merit does not go unnoticed.

We have brought in the significance of the post liberalization period, after 1992, as it would give us a better understanding of how political parties and political leaders too have had to adjust and move with the time, lest they be consigned to the status of the dinosaur. A look at the political developments across the country will leave no one in doubt that change is the perquisite for all political parties to survive and thrive and thus all political parties have to change with the time and march to the drum beat of a globalised world, where no country can afford to remain an island, though there may be some exceptions, like North Korea.

But take a look at how this country is seen and regarded in the international platform. The rise of regional satraps is not something new in the political history of India. NT Rama Rao was one such leader in Andhra Pradesh, leading the Telugu Desam (Remember, this regional party was the single largest party in the Opposition, after the Lok Sabha election of 1984). In Tamil Nadu, we have had MGR, Jayalalitha, and Karunanidhi and in West Bengal we have Mamta Banerjee. And who can forget Mayawati, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

However there is a difference during the halycon days of MGR, NTR and others of that period, to the politics of today, which is based largely on regional aspirations and local realities. It is in the face of such sweeping changes that we see some interesting political developments in Manipur. The Konthoujam by-election was significant, but what made it more significant was undoubtedly the victory of the Trinamool Congress candidate K Sharat, who bested the Congress candidate, which has been on a roll in the 9th Assembly. Does this mean that Mamta Banerjee has finally crossed the Bengal frontier to spread her wings to other States, or is it just a singular setback of the Congress? Time alone will tell.

The other interesting development is the decision of the Naga People‘s Forum, the political party heading the DAN coalition Government in Nagaland to venture into Manipur. The latter is extremely interesting for this may have been the first time that a regional party based in the North East has tried to make inroads in the neighboring States and this augurs well for democracy.

So while the TC and the NPF have started spreading their wings, which is a sure shot sign of a party on the upward swing, we have the Manipur People’s Party still licking its wounds suffered in the election to the 9th Assembly so much so that it has not been able to find the right man to contest in the Konthoujam by poll and earlier at the Yaiskul by election. In today’s changed political perspectives, the MPP cuts a sorry figure and it is time, its leaders go in for some serious and honest soul searching exercise.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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