No, that’s not a pitch from a real estate agent confirming Vaastu compliance of a villa. And no, it’s not double entendre from the latest erotic thriller either.
That’s the way Indian politics is being run these days. When in doubt over who should be your alliance partner, keep your doors open. You never know who may walk in.
The recent J&K elections, or the aftermath rather, was replete with this curious one-liner doing the rounds. All doors are open. Every politician worth his salt (or wood) was found mouthing this rather inane but handy obfuscation that said everything without revealing anything.
Take the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for instance. Reacting to media inquiries on possible suitors for government formation, an IBN article quoted the delectable Mehbooba Mufti as saying that she was “in the process of exploring all possibilities”. Clearly, all her “doors” were wide open.
Not to be outdone, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah’s doors were also open, if only wider. In a MilleniumPost article, he admitted to as much: “All options are open. The option of forming a BJP government is open. The option of supporting somebody is also open. The option of joining some government is also open… All three options are open.” If Shah’s doors were open any wider, he could have as well been sitting in an airplane hangar.
Snooty Omar Abdullah of the National Conference (NC) went one better in a FirstPost article and said that “there is a crack (in the window) open for the PDP.” Whatever that meant. This, after allegedly hobnobbing with the BJP top brass. Clearly, he wouldn’t bet his cojones over a crack.
While party mouthpieces went around knocking out statements about doors and cracks, there was hectic canoodling going on behind the scenes, with the PDP sending out coy glances through the window to all and sundry while waiting for the BJP to knock on its doors, the BJP running a door-to-door campaign with “marry me” written all its lovesick face, and the NC pretending to have closed-door discussions while vainly positioning itself as a “key” player.
This fetish for doors is not new in Indian politics. In the run-up to the 2014 J&K elections as reported by IndiaToday, PDP had exhorted the people of the troubled state to “show the door” to the NC and the BJP. After all, only if someone drives out these parties can the PDP then make a show of inviting them back in. Hence the doors.
The BJP too is no stranger to slamming doors or opening doors or generally keeping them open. They adopted similar watch-my-door tactics with their now-hot-now-cold ally, the Shiv Sena, after the 2014 Maharashtra elections. If only to prove a point. That it was no one’s doormat.
There are various other door types and sizes in operation. Parties like the Samajwadi Party revel in opening specialized doors to welcome individuals as opposed to entire parties, as they did for BJP rebel Jaswant Singh earlier in the year. Evidently, it was a much smaller door.
And then there are others who announce formation of mega-parties when the constituent individual parties cease to have relevance. Like the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and a clutch of other hopefuls did when they ganged up to form the Janata Parivar. In this case, there were more doors open than one could count. Not that anyone was.
A curious exception to this new-found malaise in political parties of using doors, cracks or doormats to woo or shoo alliances after (or before) elections is the Congress. But, not because it’s principled or closed to post-poll alliances.
No, the reason for the Congress’ exclusion from these dour antics is frustratingly simple. For keeping doors open to potential allies after elections, you need to have doors in the first place.
The Congress, battered as it was by the Modi tsunami during the 2014 parliamentary elections, seems to have no doors left. Last heard, the party was still busy finding wood strong enough to stand in place and replace the deadwood the party finds itself saddled with.
Forget the politicos. Think about the average voter. Think about you and me. What about the stink bombs that politicians throw around just before elections, promising everything under the sun, inevitably ending up as the wind that passed by after the elections? Ah, keep the doors open, silly!