For a long time I have silently viewed the scenario of the 2014 Elections and have refrained from commenting. However, with clear battle lines being drawn up by the adversaries, it is time to make one’s choices.
Too Late, UPA
The moribund Congress and UPA have woken from their slumber. They have started to play its divide-and-rule game. Politics of creating fear among the minorities, tom-tomming past achievements, reviving the legacy of the glorious leadership provided are all typical old style jargon. Then what is new? An aggressive and assertive Rahul who seems recklessly abusive and ready to take on a communal Modi without pursuing a soft Hindutva line. Is this because in this election, the Congress is a dead duck so it wants to go down with bravado? Or does it want to make sure that Modi sinks? Congress has done nothing nor does it seem capable of reviving its fortunes. All the sops in the world cannot mop up the tears of the Congress worker who sees his leaders incapable of turning its fortunes. The only saving grace is the media presentation which makes even a Rahul look respectable.
A Breathless NDA
The NDA looks like an engine speeding away smug in the belief that it can steam roll the UPA and win a clear majority. Modi is their mascot and as expected the party has become secondary. Here, instead of dynasty there is dictatorship wearing a mask of democracy. A demoniacal leader, blatantly communal and intolerant of any dissent is driving the national agenda, thanks to the lack of an ideological challenge by a corruption-ridden and inefficient UPA. Modi’s liberal misrepresentation of historical facts, random abusive language and unwillingness to debate core issues without trivializing or politicizing them, makes him really unsuitable to become the PM. Notwithstanding the Gujarat riots- the record of subversion of civil liberties, intolerance to any kind of dissent and the desire to turn India into a theocratic state make completely unacceptable.Even his non-corrupt image is getting blown by the charge of silence or complicity in crony capitalism, vis-a-vis Adani’s and Reliance. Slowly the runaway engine seems to be running out of breath as the regional satraps sharpen their clout.
There are Others?
The communists and the rest, are akin to post dated cheques on a crashing bank. None of them seem to be strong enough but see in the freak historical tenure of HD Deve Gowda, a possibility that they never dreamt of a few months back. While Nitish Kumar, Navin Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee have their credibility as mass leaders, they cannot become national leaders, capable of providing a stable government. However, this ragtag cannot be ruled out and a dark horse PM like the wily Jayalalitha is possible.
AAP, The Dark Horse
Then we finally come to the dark horse of this race, the iconoclastic AAP. Is AAP a serious contender? My heart says yes, my mind says maybe? However, this new kid off the block, is hell bent on changing the political discourse of the nation. Participative democracy implying the premise that once elected, the MP or MLA does not need to be accountable to his constituents is blatantly wrong. The AAP ran a personal door-to-door campaign in Delhi. This formed the basis of a local self government model, out to take on established methods of governance and correct the flaws of democracy. The issues of corruption, police reform, crony capitalism, pragmatic pro-people targeted subsidies are all steps in the right direction. Nobody in politics comes with skills in governance, but these evolve with time. AAP will learn and evolve, however it needs to be steadfast and uncompromising on core values. It needs to recognize that idealism must not be compromised at the altar of pragmatism or short term gains. Anarchy is part of revolution and non-violent resistance is acceptable to passive acceptance. The only danger for AAP is that the media not giving them a chance makes the hesitant voter remain undecided because he does not want to waste his vote. Even as I write, AAP has sacrificed its government for the JanLokpal bill. I hope the people of India realize that AAP means what it says and is a serious contender.
The last hours before Kejriwal put in his papers as Delhi Chief Minister http://t.co/Xy3rbA8Iyu
— Firstpost (@firstpostin) February 15, 2014
Taking all things into consideration, I have decided to vote with my heart and mind and cast my lot with AAP as neither 5 more years of UPA, nor the unstable rule of third front nor living under a dictator enthuse me in any way. A well meaning pro-people dispensation responsive to their needs and aspirations will serve the nation far better than experienced, corrupt, power hungry, communal and casteist dispensations.
By Vispi Jokhi