Monday, May 19, 2014

Loksabha 2014 Part 1

Phew! finally one of the most expensive affairs of democracy in the world has come to an end.  We should thank our stars that we have a clear winner and there will be no more 'compulsions of coalition'  sucking our blood.

For things that I noticed this election.

  1. The bitterness in the political campaign was unprecedented. Never was the bitterness against political opponents so very much in open. Name calling, mud slinging, one up-men-ship, sheer stupidity and George-Bush like 'you are with me or against me' water tight compartmentalization of opinions. We all know politics is the last game of a scoundrel but this is the nadir of being scoundrels. Was it so ugly because the top-dog was not a part of the elite either in terms of power circles like the Gandhis, V.P.Singh and Charan Singh or in terms of  better education and chance at life like P.V.N and Chandrashekhar.
  2. B.J.P is accused to being the force behind polarizing the electorate, but to think of it, Polarization has two faces those who were for Modi, the ones cultivated by B.J.P and then those who were against, cultivated by everybody else. Well heights of polarization and intolerance was when I saw a 'liberal' person threatening to un-friend those who 'like' Narendra Modi's page on Facebook. So those who were fighting for the cause of tolerance and 'secularism' were not tolerant enough to accept their friends for having a different like of thought.
  3. 'It is the Economy, Stupid!'... How Congress can be so very clueless as to what is driving the Modi phenomenon? Being a grand old political party with so many wise brains at its disposal, how could they not get it? Congress party looks locked in a shell. They thought giving our people rights is the best they could to,  right to marriage, right to reading, right to urinate in public, right to eat, right to god knows what... at the end of the day it all boils down to the tangible gains people saw. 'Rights? ok, what is in there for me? My life is no different from before. The rights have not given me better roads, better education, better chance at life...Give me more.'  We all know that doles and subsidies are never enjoyed by those who are supposed to on paper. Even if the right to food, employment and everything else is supposed to deliver goodies to those deserving on paper, how much of it really reaches the real beneficiaries?
  4. Congress has something way too elitist about their thinking. They seem to say, 'oh! you poor people, let us feed you as long as I an available, and yes, because you are poor you should not aspire for anything else. Get your free square meal and do not ask for MORE'.  Don't they know that, giving a fish to a person will feed her one day and teaching her to fish will feed her and her family for a life time? How many people, even the poorest want just food? probably no one. Every body wants more than just food. People want better life, for themselves and their children. Why else do we see poor parents moving heaven and earth, at the cost of loosing most of their merge possessions, send their children to the best schools they can afford and to colleges too? Have we not seen such people around us, our poorer cousins, our maids, our Dhobis, our vegetable vendors almost every one... So why do they do it at all? Because they hope education will lead their children to a better life they themselves can never hope for. Education enables good life. Period. So it is 'fishing' more than fish it self that people are demanding. They are demanding opportunities and an enabling atmosphere which is conducive for meritocratic rise of their children. We demand for good education, good medical-healthcare facilities and we demand for infrastructure. Simple. That should have been the focus.
  5. Meritocracy! Most parties this time fielded sons and daughters of known political faces. If we accept doctor kids becoming doctors, or movie stars kids choosing acting career why not politicians grooming their kids in politics? Well the answer is still 'No'. No other profession has the kind of clout and power like Politics and no where is the bar so low as Politics either. What riles me as a common born with no famous surname is the unfair advantage the kids with famous surname have over me. Not because they are cleverer than me, or even more competent then me but because of they have a famous surname. A famous surname is good enough for a career in politics. Especially if you are a Gandhi, Congress party behaves like your bonded labor. Priyanka Gandhi who is officially a no one in the party screams out that her cousin has gone 'astray', that some one dishonored her 'martyred father' and that response from every booth in Amethi will come in full force to avenge for the dishonor of his 'martyred father'. Indeed we saw that on the day of counting when her poor brother was trailing behind his opponent for a while and then his victory margin reduced to just half of what it was last time. What is so great about the Gandhis any way? Unfortunately the only message the rise of Rahul and Priyanka sent out was that no one can aspire for the top post in Congress because it is the birth right of either of the two. It is not a coincidence that they have all but disowned P.V.Narashimharao, the man who steered the ship in its most fragile time and they have dishonored Dr.Manmohan Singh like nothing seen in history.
  6. Rahul Gandhi factor. After his disastrous interview all I could see in Rahul Gandhi were his cute dimples as he stood grinning while his mother somberly spoke of the parties election rout and accepted the moral responsibility. Does he evoke any emotion in me? yes I think he is kind of cute, he is rich, privilaged, rather spoilt and he gets to do what ever he wants without ever having to answer anyone. But at 40+ years and 10 long years in politics is a long time enough even for a late bloomer to learn the ropes of the trade. With the kind of support, shelter and resources at his disposal, he still looks like lost-last bencher in school who is constantly staring out of the window and waiting for the bell to ring. Nothing in him, or nothing he has to say rings with you. Sorry this is not 1984, good looks and a Gandhi surname are not qualifications enough to become a leader of aspirational India.I heard some one say the other day that the fear of Narendra Modi lead Muslims to consolidate against his strongest opponent but the fear of Rahul Gandhi becoming the next PM consolidated the votes of all those who had ever seen his famous interview in favor of Modi!
  7. The rise of the Mango people! Indeed this is an election of 'Aam Admi'. At the center of the election was a very 'Aam'-common man, a man with no privilaged upbringing, no money, no famous surname, no English convent education, but who was cleaver enough to make the most of the opportunities he got on his way to the top. Yes Modi might not be the perfect leader but no one take it away from him that despite his humble background he was smart enough to make it to the top. We middle class admire people like him, the meritocratic rises to the top, the reason why N.R.N, A.P.J, Sir.M.V,  are middle class icons. AAP too made a splash, though a disappointing one. AAP was a real democratization of Politics, it attracted a lot of young, energetic, disenchanted  who would otherwise look at politics with a lot of disdain into active political participation. Many contested, many worked as volunteers and many walked up the the booths to cast their votes. But it is not Kejriwal represented AAP for me. If he did, it would be sad. Kejriwal is too pedestrian to be a leader, his constant pop-economics rant of Black Money- Swiss Banks, selling petrol at Rs38 and "Media being sold out" only made him look like a bitter anarchist. He did not come across as the leader with a plan for the country but an opportunist cribbing about one thing and everything.  If AAP achieved something this elections, it is despite Kejriwal. In Punjab they were successful because they chose the right candidates to represent them.They stuck to their plank of clean and corruption free politics. That should have been the plank of AAP everywhere. With Kejriwal voicing for and against everything he had heard and being the new maker he is, he diluted the message of the party and what they stood for. Sadly this was not AAP's election. This was clearly Narendra Modi's election. But as we saw in Punjab, if Narendra Modi were to fail to deliver, next election might as well be AAP's.

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