DailyPost 1994
What is a political crisis? Does it mean the same for all political parties? Is there a common definition of it for the electorate, the common man, whose fate is literally tied to it? Can a party have ever experienced a political crisis, while being comfortably seated in power? Political crisis in simple terms means not being in power. The longer the number of years out of it, the greater the political crisis that looms large on political parties. Somebody pulling off the rug of a precarious government, numerically, is in a political crisis. To be able to stall it, is the biggest political crisis that political parties and leaders face on a regular basis. From these scenarios are born the Man Friday’s of politics, the political firefighters who can douse simmering fires or gain the most out of it, depending on which side you are on.
Resort politics has become the second name for handling political crises. The beauty of a political crisis is that it is managed backstage. When the leader of a party, a CM or a PM is not able to deliver, is it a political crisis, is the moot point, around which the Indian democracy revolves. Does it warrant the parliamentary party or the working committees of the parties getting into a huddle to resolve the crisis? The solutions are  never readymade. The study of non-delivery is outside of their purview as it was made out to be. Precisely, it is not treated as a political crisis. Anything related to non-delivery, supposedly on the governance side, handled fully by the political side,  is never treated as a political crisis.
Is not finding a leader who can lead a party not a political crisis? Parameters unknown.  Is there no institutional mechanism by which it can be sorted out, on an intra-party basis? Leaders battle  it out for a majority of votes to be victorious, are ready to live by one person’s whim and fancies, for decades together, and still it cannot be termed as political crisis, is a curse of the democracy we live in. When will the inner wheeling dealing of the parties come to light to prove to the electorate, what political crisis is all about? Are some infamous battles between some Governors and CMs not qualify to be termed as political crisis? Putting any of the two on the sidelines, is tantamount to the gravest political crisis any state can witness. Undeniably, they belong to two different political parties.
The visible manifestation of breakdown of constitutional machinery is not treated as a political crisis. It will remain so, till the time it is not a numbers game. Any other issue leading to its breakdown is immaterial. The changing of guard  any number of times in a state is not treated as a political crisis, as long as it is stage managed or in control of the high command. Then there  can be any number of changes in the leadership. Being treated as political pawns is no indication or symptom of a political crisis. Till today the connection between quality of governance and political crisis has not been established, it will never be. We live in a state of permanent political crisis. For the practitioners political crisis is being in power or not; member of the ruling dispensation or at the very least, an elected representative or nominated influential or a worthwhile position.
Sanjay Sahay

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