Mix and match

Unlikely alliances and surprising reconciliations mark the politics of the moment.

The election season has barely begun, but already, political infidelity has become rampant and movers and shakers are being found in compromising positions. To a brazen chorus of approval from the rank and file of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi has embraced the vision of Anna Hazare, whom the UPA has spent uncountable man-hours trying to disparage, hem in and even incarcerate. In the other big camp across the great divide, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has pleaded with L.K. Advani to refrain from striking his tents and riding into the sunset of history. The very same Advani, whose prime ministerial ambitions were seen to be interfering with the smoothly rising yield curve of Narendra Modi, is now being charmed with obscure myths and legends.

The institution that Hazare's movement had declared morally irrelevant has resuscitated him with its last breath, before closing the winter session early. Setting aside petty peeves from the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Parliament has cinched the Lokpal Bill so tight it's probably winded. Which means that Hazare's falling out with Arvind Kejriwal, and the separation of the movement from the party which has come to define the new, inchoate and protean force in Indian politics, is no longer the end of the story.

Especially since Kejriwal has chosen to tantalise. He has turned to crowdsourcing to determine whom he will go with in Delhi, if at all. It's utterly shameless to carry on like this in public, protest the mainstream political parties, which tastefully retire into private quarters to strike deals and make unholy unions after elections. With 2014 around the corner, this wanton mix and match, often curtained and sometimes in the open, will only go on.

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