Elections 2009 - The Takeaways

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thumbs Up!
It’s true that one general election result is too less to understand the changing psyche of Indian electorate but it is definitely a precursor to a change that is inevitable in the context of a rotting Indian political system. After a long-long time the people have given a mandate that has delivered a smack down to manipulative powers that gained undue importance in the last 15 years due to the circumstances and their ease of changing ideologies to stay relevant. India has voted and voted with a certain level of certainty. “Refreshing and satisfactory” is how I term these results.

There are a few takeaways from these results that I can think of. I might have missed on a few important takeaways as I write this post well past the midnight with droopy eyes and the stubbornness to complete it before dozing off.

Missed the bull's eye, rather the whole Bull

Takeaway 1: Opportunists shown the door
The 2009 general elections clearly write home the fact that the public has pronounced a clear verdict to shun the opportunist third and fourth fronts. Prior to the elections it was a free for all to claim his/her right on the PM’s post. The public took it upon itself to clearly state that it was in favor of a stable pre-poll alliance (UPA and NDA together got over 421 seats out of 543). The Left was left in the lurch and Laloo’s lantern was snuffed. The same leaders who were waiting to manipulate a predicted hung house are now queuing up outside 10 Janpath to offer unconditional support. The biggest relief is that the results have allayed the fear of a Mayawati or a Jayalalitha coming back to haunt a nation with their obscene demands.

Thank God! It's not her!

Laloo swept away

Takeaway 2: It's your work that speaks and not your mouth
The result has clearly underscored the fact that the nation can look beyond casteist politics and communal/non-communal propaganda. There was hardly any anti-incumbency in states where development has been the buzzword. Andhra, Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, MP, Karnataka and Orissa have predictably given a clear mandate to performing Governments. Following the same logic, the Left Governments have been left biting the dust. Congress regained its mass base in UP solely because of the untiring efforts put in by Rahul Gandhi in the past five years that were termed kiddish and just cheap fun under the sun by others.
Singh, the King?

Takeaway 3: Gandhi supremacy established
There is gross misconception in assuming that the magical five letter word spelt as Y.O.U.T.H. has simply succumbed to the charm of Rahul Gandhi. People have voted Congress because they wanted stability and the in-fighting in BJP and lack of a definitive ideology made it easier. The Congressmen I see on TV are hell bent on proving a wave of Rahul mania sweeping the elections. However, in the whole humdrum, they have chosen to conveniently ignore the contribution of a someone called Manmohan Singh. Believe me when I say that a lot of people voted Congress because of this man. Reasons varied from sensible to bizarre. But when it came to according credit, the PM himself believed that the victory was due to the efforts of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. There's a thin line separating humility and lack of confidence so giving people the reason to be in doubt should be avoided. I won’t regard BJP a sore loser if it still says that the PM’s office has been devalued. I hope that with a strong mandate to back him up this time, Manmohan will be much more impressionable as a leader and for once will give his Government and not a person the credit for some good work he does.

Takeaway 4: Dynastic politics is here to stay
Dynastic politics that Rahul lamented at in his last press conference is back in business. Have a look at his high profile youth brigade that is expected to get recognition in the ministry. Sachin Pilot ((S/O Rajesh Pilot), Jyotiraditya Scindhia (S/O Madhav Rao Scindhia), Sandeep Dixit (S/O Sheila Dixit), Milind Deora (S/O Murli Deora). They all are hopefuls. Nothing seems to have changed except that political legitimacy has been granted to the Prince who will be the King.

I think the results demonstrate the defeat of a negative campaign, of the fear of a non-deserving casteist sycophant or a corrupt politician assuming power, of the hatred spread by inciting religious sentiments and sending development on the backburner and of the lack of discipline within the opposition where the question of future leadership took precedence over the current task at hand.

Rahul's charisma played an important part in the victory but it's still early days to think of this Gandhi scion as the savior of a degraded system. I have always felt that the best question to answer in an examination is an objective question with a YES or a NO as the alternatives. There is 50% chance that even if you don’t know the correct reason, you will answer the question correctly. The people’s verdict is also one such answer in a YES and NO. Everyone can choose to draw inferences that suit their belief (same holds true for me too). Congress too has drawn its own inference and that could be a calamity of sorts if stretched too far.

The Gandhi family has regained unprecedented power to run the game and with talks of Rahul Gandhi assuming a cabinet berth doing the rounds, there is every possibility that the authority of the council of ministers will be undermined. Even the accolades being showered by the Congressmen on Manmohan are just because 10 Janpath has decided it that way. I fear ministers holding their opinion on a policy issue in a cabinet meeting just to know what Rahul Baba has in his mind to avoid speaking anything that may be against the vision HE foresees. It won’t be surprising if they unanimously authorize Rahul to take a decision in the best interests of the country.

But I am not going to be a pessimist this time. I just hope that all my doubts prove to be a figment of my imagination in the days to come because that would be the only way democracy in India would be preserved. The nation has played its part by sending a strong message to perform or perish. The ball is on the other side of the court now!


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