Elections 2014 – The Great Indian Circus
This election season is heating up. The debates are raging, in news studios, parks and around water coolers in offices. Decades old friendships are being broken over people’s political loyalties. The biggest question in everybody’s minds is no longer the name of the celebrity who will feature on the next episode of Koffee with Karan, but who will replace the current prime minister, the one who hails from Assam, the man who never speaks, the man who watched as his ministers plundered away, on the Delhi throne.
WHO WILL WIN??
Not that we have a rich set of choices. Sure they all have assets in crores, hundreds of crores, even thousands of crores. And this is just the disclosed ones. But the problem is that that’s the only thing rich about most of them.
Who does one vote for? The Congress? After all the scams and the never-ending shame? Every year i have given 30% of my hard-earned salary to the government in taxes that they have conveniently siphoned away to their Swiss accounts. I have never even been to Switzerland, let alone have an account there.
Who will be their ministers? Who will be the Prime Minister? The middle-aged ‘youth’ leader who can’t even talk to save his life? The one whose only claim to fame is his DNA? The one who pretends to be a rebel in his own government, conveniently wiping his hands off all responsibility? The one who gave an interview that he did so well that they haven’t dared bring him out since. Yea right.
Isn’t this the party whose representative Imran Masood threatened to chop Modi into pieces if he did a Gujarat in UP. What about UP’s own riots, whose news never even reaches Delhi? Isn’t this the party that saw a scam tainted Pawan Kumar Bansal resign in disgrace, only to be given a ticket for these elections? Or Adarsh scam accused Ashok Chavan. He is also making a comeback. Never mind that he had to quit as Maharashtra CM for his not-so-Adarsh conduct. After all, shame is for us common people.
Arvind Kejriwal? The man who was to change everything and show us the light at the end of the tunnel? Blah. I’ve already written about my disappointment with him. The man’s a showman at best, blessed with the gift of the gab that makes people forget their issues with his policies (or lack thereof), just because we aren’t really used to a freely speaking leader, with Manmohan Singh ji having brought down those expectations to Tushar Kapoor movie levels.
The only thing going for him is that he has managed to create this umbrella to unite some very smart people. The former RBS India head Meera Sanyal, actor and activist Gul Panag, even the first woman DGP of India, the woman on whom the popular Doordarshan show Udaan was based, they are all AAP candidates. While i wince at the prospect of a socialist, hyperventilating Kejriwal as Indian prime minister, i do feel excited about getting such smart, well-meaning people representing us.
The biggest worry with his movement is a sort of French Revolution scenario, with junta courts that run on sentiment instead of reason, where people get lynched for having a differing viewpoint, where being rich is being evil, you get the drift.
Shining brightly among the current lot, is the man whose wave is the big topic of discussion. The man who has become bigger than his party. Narendra Modi. He is so big that the campaign is already talking about HIS government, not the party’s.
I’ll be honest, i do have big hopes from him, just because there seems to be no alternative. Whether all the hype about his Gujarat development model is mere PR hype or not, we will hopefully soon find out. Hopefully he is for real.
The BJP was a party on the path of self-destruction, with its seniors fighting among themselves, all aspiring for the top job which would never have even materialized with the party in the shape in which it was. Even till last year it was like every day they were taking turns picking up a giant axe and striking the party’s collective foot with it. What was needed was a strong leader who had the clout and skill to make the party a cohesive unit. Modi seems to have just achieved it, even though he may be coming across as a bit too autocratic and self-centered.
Meanwhile, the BJP continue to stab its feet, though now it is weekly rather than daily. Old habits.
Does India need an autocratic leader who forces people to play along, rather than follow a more democratic approach? Having seen a leader whose style of leadership was to bend over while his teammates counted the bundles of notes, i daresay i wouldn’t mind a strong leader, as long as it brings about some discipline in governance and we start seeing some respect for the nation in the world, as against the current situation where even a lowly Sri Lanka keeps our fishermen as hostages at will and we have to not vote against them at the UN to get our boys back.
The fear is that BJP will be really hungry, having stayed in the opposition benches for such a long time. There is the possibility that they might just end up spending the next five years filling up their own Swiss bank accounts. After all, who knows when they get the next chance.
Of course, i hope that this is not the case. That the BJP leaders, if they do get to form the government, are the virtuous characters straight out of Ramayana like we all expect and hope for them to be, and Ram Rajya ensues. But then, the years of corruption has made us all cynical. This cynicism isn’t going to be wished away. We need to see some change.
Which tempts me to circle back to Arvind Kejriwal, and the other hot theme of the day. Corruption. Rather, anti-corruption. Kejriwal. Dispenser of free water and electricity. The man who knows everybody’s Swiss account numbers by heart. The man who will form the government, bring back all that money and distribute it among the ‘votebanks’. The Robin Hood of Indian politics.
Who does one vote for? There is no good answer. Ultimately they are all politicians and will do whatever it takes to gain power.
All i can hope for is that we get a stable government. One that does SOME development. Just tell us what your cut is going to be. You want to take away 20% of the national budget? Le lo. But give us development worth the remaining 80. Or 70. Or even 50. But don’t just get too greedy and take it all away.
Because the bar is just set too low at the moment.