Deciphering the Verdict – An Unread Message
…the notion that we have a mandate for gentlemanly politicking seems to hardly cut any ice when we are introduced to our new lawmakers, 150 of them are criminals in their own rights, a number greater than last Lok Sabha’s. It is when the main political parties known for fielding mafia dons have either been routed or performed far below expectations…
The people’s verdict of India’s possibly most unpredictable elections is not much hard to read. Electorates, as erudite analysts put it with a suddenly developed confidence and victorious netas admit it in self-congratulatory way, have actually voted for a change – preferred a stable government, a gentle PM, secular values, that kind of things, all unheard of in election campaign and pre-poll editorials.
The architects of the historic success, who did not mind attempting to woo many regional players halfway the elections, are out to claim that NREGA and farmers loan waivers have worked miracles for them.
There is boisterous talk of an outright rejection of villains of coalition politics, those scoundrels, blackmailers and spoilers who would not let government function, who would prevent it from signing nuke deal with US, insist on dismissal of Mayawati government, press for continuing with their gunda Raj and all such dingy things.
In addition, there is boisterous talk of an outright rejection of villains of coalition politics, those scoundrels, blackmailers and spoilers who would not let government function, who would prevent it from signing nuke deal with US, insist on dismissal of Mayawati government, press for continuing with their gunda Raj and all such dingy things.
Their waterloo – Karats, Mulayams, Lalus’ – was explicable, you might argue, genuinely. They stood for a hundred Indias, their vision not breaking the boundaries of even a village panchayat. And those with relatively wider vision, Advanis and Modis, represented hatred and vested interest.
Nothing wrong with the theory, or hypothesis whatever it is, except that it is not all-encompassing, if reviewed deeply. No, I harbour no ambition to give a jolt to this pretty, all goody-goody pictures laboriously painted by our excessively free media over last few days, but merely wish to highlight the self-contradictory nature of the verdict.
The notion that we have a mandate for gentlemanly politicking with garbage around our gentle PM cleared seems to hardly cut any ice when we are introduced to our new lawmakers, 150 of them are criminals in their own rights, police-record-having-type, a number greater than last Lok Sabha’s. It is when the main political parties known for fielding mafia dons – SP, BSP, RJD, LJP etc. – have either been routed or have performed far below expectations.
Though mafia Raj – election of mafias by public and their glorification by media, that is – is on wane in UP according to some claims as regional parties have been defeated there, the state is still the biggest sender of tainted MPs in the august House. Going by statistics some 30 tainted lawmakers this time. Ditto for Bihar, where mandate is for CM Nitish Kumar’s development, this state has elected 17 such MPs. SP, BSP and RJD collectively has 17 parliamentarians with criminal records in the two states having 120 parliamentary segments. Apparently, in both these states Congress and BJP (JDU in case of Bihar) form bulk of tainted MPs.
In Maharashtra where victory is largely NCP and Shiv Sena’s rather than Congress and BJP’s (quite the opposite choice of voters here as compared to UP where regional parties were rejected) boasts of 24 MPs having criminal testimonials followed jointly by Andhra Pradesh and Gujrat with 11 each, in one state the Congress has a majority and in the other the BJP. Yes, both Congress and BJP with their allies have maximum tainted MPs from these states, too.
The mandate, favouring the Congress and BJP’s goons but dismissing regional parties’ scoundrels – need I add the BJP has a maximum of 42 such lawmakers followed closely by the Congress at 41? – is a statement hinting at voters’ preference of party rather than candidate, which could be a welcome thing only if the elections would have been fought on real issues; from the electioneering was missing the two biggest issues of the era, the economic down turn and the threat of radical Islam. Moreover, Mumbai, the latest terrorist target in India, had voted frigidly.
Interpreting these figures, the thing that suddenly strikes my mind is PM Manmohan Singh and LK Advani’s pre-poll presidential style combat, dominated by the significance of the personalities. Unfortunately for us, they are not the kind of charismatic leaders who could have eclipsed the criminality of their candidates.
This is just the first point. Let’s come to the second.
Right, it is the youth, as statistics tell us, who showed greater enthusiasm in this election and turned out to vote in far more number than they used to. Analysts believe that the recent historic change in India’s political map is largely driven by this young folk.
Maybe, it is possible that a tea company’s TV ad in which youth are offered cups brimming with hot tea and asked to wake up from their slumber for their aware contemporaries think that they were sleeping by not voting on the V-day might have moved the country’s youth. Maybe, NGOs working for convincing people to turn out for casting ballots might have goaded them to take a few minutes stroll to their locality’s polling booth, though volunteers of these organizations too found themselves confused, clueless at the eleventh hour on whom to elect.
Why is it expected that youth voted only to teach scoundrels a lesson instead of making a national argument against economic down turn, which has cost some of them their job, reduced prospects of career growth for others and slammed the doors of new vacancies on rest. Of these two, a Tea company’s TV aid or economic recession, what could have possibly brought them to polling booth?
But, why is it expected that they voted only to teach scoundrels a lesson instead of making a national argument against economic down turn, which has cost some of them their job, reduced prospects of career growth for others and slammed the doors of new vacancies on rest. Of these two, a Tea company’s TV aid or economic recession, what could have possibly brought them to polling booth?
As for rural youth, a bulk of them is affected by the same economic policies as their urban counterparts and those who wield the benefits of NREGA were actually busy in harvesting their crops on the day of voting, mainly in north Indian states. The voting frenzy was shown by the urban youth in particular.
If some one can really claim that people chose Congress, or BJP national party for that matter, without minding criminality of their goons, only to put an end to blackmailing and horse trading, and youth ignored the economic slow down merely to exercise their duty in the nation building, we have a reason to celebrate, for goons will be eliminated from politics sooner than later or economic down turn will subside, too.
But perhaps, voters, confused with so many choiceless choices and even more PM candidates, have actually voted based on regional considerations and divided issues. They ousted Lalus, Mulayamas, Karats, Chandrababus but adopted Bijus, Pawars, Mamatas and Karunandidhis. They took national picture in consideration where there is no regional player, Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, for instance.
Perhaps, criminalization of politics, a political buzzword borrowed from the United States, its media, commentators and bloggers, is really a dead issue in India no matter Maya and Mulayam’s mafias would have been defeated.
Perhaps, even youth came out of their homes not just to save but also to return the existing government, that too with an increased power, with more goons. And perhaps, it is really celebration time! But a serious, careful insight into the matter rather than jubilation of an accidental success can provide us much useful hints to people’s aspirations and can bring government and people closer to each other.