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History repeats itself in politics-2021

Anil Anand
Politics as is often said is the art of the possible and in many cases art of the impossible as the adventurist politicians at times in quest of power even try to achieve the impossible. On the face of it achieving the impossible goes against the grain of law of nature but when it comes to politicians, they tend to transcend all laws, immaterial whether of nature or manmade.
There is yet another popular saying that history repeats itself which has been historically proven as visible in the pages of history. But when it comes to politics even this saying cannot stand its puritan meaning in the true sense of the term. Although the base or meaning of the saying remains intact but it is turned upside down suiting political expediencies aimed at either safeguarding the chair or aiming to grab it.
What better situation than the current farmers’ agitation and politics surrounding it to explain how the meaning of the two phrases, discussed above changes with the situation. Yes the history is repeating itself but with the proverbial “Mahabharta” scenario undergoing a dramatic reversal of roles- the Kaurvas and Pandavas exchanging roles though pitted against each other in war zone.
“Jail se swaraj mila hai. Jail jaane se na daren……..” Who else but the ailing supremo of Rashtriya Janata Dal Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav said it through a Tweet? More significantly the Tweet came when former Congress president, Rahul Gandhi was revealing his plans before the media to embark on a tour to Lakhimpur Kheri where eight farmers were allegedly mowed down by the son of Minister of State for Home, and his sister and AICC general secretary Mrs Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had already been detained by the UP police.
Who better than Mr Yadav to tender this advice who has reaped the political fruits of going to jail during the internal emergency era of 1975? It is another matter that then he was on the other side of the fence and under the leadership of Lok Nayak Jay Prakash Narain was seeking to overthrow the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi.
The obvious reference of his “timely” Tweet was perhaps to inspire Mr Gandhi to go and take the Uttar Pradesh Government head-on and learn from his (Lalu’s) own example of how going to jail does wonders to his political career. That definitely is a repeat of history. But will it be repeated in totality with the State Government putting all Congress and other opposition party leaders visiting Lakhimpur Kheri to sympathise with the agitating farmers, behind the bar? It is still to be seen as to how far the current ruling BJP regimes both at the Centre and in UP, go to pursue its adversarial brand of aggressive and vindictive politics which has become its USP.
Nevertheless, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the member of anti-Indira and anti-Congress brigade in 1975-77-era assuming the role of mentoring her grandson to take on the might of Mr Modi, is an interesting nugget of the repeat of history though inversely. This is despite the fact that the two situations- 1975-77 and 2021 are incomparable.
There is a second and even more glaring example of how the history inversely seems to be repeating itself with the total reversal of roles in the “Mahabharta” war syndrome. All those including Modi, who in one or the other capacity fought against Indira’s emergency in 1975 and were jailed, are presently enjoying the fruits of power whereas the Congress is on the other side of the divide.
Repeatedly in the recent past and more pronounced in the case of Lakhimpur Kheri, the ruling BJP dispensation has shown scant respect to the principles for which it fought during the emergency era. No doubt these principles were followed to a great extent during the Vajpayee- Advani era but it has turned out to be a different ballgame in the current set-up of the party.
This is reflected in the manner in which the leaders of the opposition parties, particularly of the Congress have been prevented from reaching the spot of action. In fact many of them, barring Mrs Vadra, were not allowed to step out of Lucknow airport for onward journey, with her brother Mr Rahul Gandhi finally making it after hiccups. Moving a step further the UP government headed by Yogi Adityanath approached the Delhi Airport Authority that Mr Gandhi and his team of two chief ministers should be prevented from flying out of Delhi which though went unheard.
Given this scenario somewhere the champion of the fight against the infamous 1975-emergency, late JP’s soul must be restive and turning in his grave as another saying goes. He must be asking himself did he lead the movement, of which the BJP’s erstwhile avtar Bharatiya Jan Sangh was a party, for a situation whereby freedom of expression and free movement were again put to danger, where right to protest is under danger and where the farmers protesting for the last 10 months are facing death and destruction leave aside addressing their grievances.
The current BJP leadership, the champions of the fight against Indira Gandhi and her emergency era, seemed to have assumed her role. There is a great similarity between the two as on both occasions the role of the opposition parties was sought to be undermined. The dissimilarity or disadvantage currently is that the opposition is not that united but that is not important. The unity and leadership issues are resolved as the situation demands and as it had happened in 1977.
The RJD supremo Mr Yadav and current ruling dispensation under BJP present two interesting sneak-peeks into this interesting aspect of history repeating itself. On a lighter note it creates an amusing scenario but in actual reality it depicts a serious situation which is daring to confront the nation.
On the other hand the Congress under Gandhi siblings is giving an impression of raring to strike and hit where it hurts the most. Do they have the verve or the punch that the JP movement under his stellar leadership had?
The question assumes importance given the fact that the Congress currently is reeling under acute factionalism with senior brigade on course to rebellion. Interestingly, Mrs Indira Gandhi, though a tough and towering leader, had faced similar rebellion from her colleagues in 1975 when emergency was imposed.

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