What a turnaround! Couple of weeks ago I was contemplating on how LK Advani will overrule Vajpayee after an NDA win. But in my earlier post on the Chandrababu Naidu debacle I had talked about the choice of Chip and Chapati that a voter of today is presented today. I am happy that he has shown that he can be affected but not blinded by the glitter of colossal campaigns run on money and charisma. He has shown that carrying a mobile is not an indicator of all round growth. He has shown that like the English term “feel-good” the campaign BJP ran was on alien terms. But is it a mandate for Sonia and the dynasty rule. My notion is No. Accept it or not Incumbency is a potent factor, this government lasted a full term log enough to bore people. On top of that imagine ruling BJP minus the Temple fizz/Hindutva agenda, sheltering corrupt ministers like Judeo and Bangaru, making personal attacks on Sonia, leaning on an ageing PM who is un-approving of its party tactics. A foolishly run “til-gud” campaign, when your basic amenities are not guaranteed, who cares for as rising sensex.
What I am worried about are the power brokers from non-entity parties who will now strive to strike the best deal from the Samajwadi party to the Trinamul, from BSP to CPI(M). Who will be the PM then? My bet, it would be P.V.Narsimha Rao again (backed by a former PM Chandrashekhar, acceptable to all Congress ranks, experienced, no worry of stretching-on to another term and above-all acquitted by court from corruption charges; he is stronger than ever. What about Manhoman Singh? hmmm?
They had a choice to go for a CEO or choose another able(?) Chief Minister and people of Andhra Pradesh settled for the latter. The recipe of advances in the IT, economic reforms hardly mattered for 80% of the people who were dealing with abject poverty and lack of development. IT has been a pure urban revolution and who cares for such phenomenon when you are not promised your daily meal and basic amenities. Like Digvijay Singh, the erstwhile chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, the seemingly progressive image of TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu was a faltering shadow of similar issues. With no roots at the grass-root and intoxicated by power he was getting oblivious of the power of the people. Issues of Nizamabad emerged stronger than the conern for Cyberabad. While I am not making out too much for Congress in Loksabha from these results, BJP in any case had negligible presence in South, it is good to see that the janata still has the ability to think for its own good and turn the tables when it is needed. Murky or not, I agree that the water in the political swimming pool needs to be changed every 5 years just to ensure the health of a democracy. And when it comes to deciding on which is needed more, the chip or the chapati, people for whom survival itself is a daily battle to wage, know which way to go for.
Indian politics and the electoral procedure are fun galore. From the tickling to outrightly funny, from bizarre to most innovative, we have it all. A candidate from Madhya Pradesh, for instance uses banners and thelas carrying boxes with posters to campaign, nothing unusual in this except that he urges the voters not to vote for him. Balram Jakhar, erstwhile Loksabha speaker takes a clue from the Indian telly dramas and ensures that his speeches are all tear-jerkers. The veteran politician spares no chances to shed his (crocodile?) tears during almost all his public addresses in Rajasthan (which even irrates women among the audience). Television, btw is an area where the Indian politicians shines a lot, India shines or not. So you have these trained puppet actors performing mime with open palms for the Congress while BJP seems restrained in its own melodramatic ads perhaps owing to the fact that 5 years in power gave them enough time to perfect their act(ing). Advertisement apart perhaps for the first time ever major political parties are now sponsoring TV programmes (“this part of the movie is brought to you by Congress”, bet you can't prevent yourself from smiling on this).
The idiot-box meanwhile proves its idiocy on almost all News channels. People today want entertainment even in news, believe the policy makers. So in the name of political satire you have Kadar Khan (hitherto known for his double-meaning dialogues) providence as Narad muni on Sahara, now-who-is-Shekhar-Suman doing a “Poll-khol” on Star to the unknown actor Sanjay Mishra playing Harry Voter on Aaj Tak. With watch-dogs like these who can prevent elections from becoming a mockery. A country where the janata is showing appetite for entertainment even during election times it's not ironical that while you can easily convince gullible people that the EVMs can give an electrical shock unless you vote by pressing a particular button, you can not convince them to vote for a seemingly devoted political novice like Shiv Khera.