Elections 2014 - The Great Indian Circus

March 30, 2014

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.


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.

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7 Responses to “ Elections 2014 - The Great Indian Circus ”

  1. pritesh on March 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    A question in my mind…why is dat reliance is not counted in top 100 brand or Company but wen it comes to Money Mr mukesh ambani is in top 10-20…its just because of Modi’s wrong doing with Ambani.

  2. anil on March 30, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    What india needs is police reforms, administrative reforms, judicial reforms, electoral reforms, ease of doig business and transparency, independent cbi, transparent electoral funding. Is bjp promising any of these, just repeating good governance again and again without spelling stand on any of the above. With maximum percentage of criminals, and running most expensive election campaign ever with black money, can we expect any of the above?

  3. Nidhi Sharda on March 31, 2014 at 12:49 am

    Nicely articulated article.

    But, what is missing is NaMo and BJP’s extreme devotion to Hinduism. It cannot be ignored that NaMo had a role to play, or at-least holds responsibility for one of largest communal riots in the country. Personally, I feel, that in a democratic and secular country, like ours- a good-intended but inexperienced government is better that a government already shown to have communal/extreme believes. Experience comes with time, and with an educated,strong headed, and well equipped team, Arvind Kejriwal, has more chances of bringing development to simple common man, than the other two. India has already too many issues to deal with- when risking a communal leader at the throne is just not worth it, and might be too risky.

    Rest, as they say- May the best man, rather team of men & women, win..!

  4. Ms on April 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

    What you have to do is a reverse-Noah. Build an ark, put all our politicians and political candidates in it. And sink it.

  5. Malaya on April 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I just read your article.. Few things comes to my mind
    1)even the first woman DGP of India, the woman on whom the popular Doordarshan show Udaan was based, they are all AAP candidates..
    WRONG SHE IS A BJP (read MODI ) supporter>
    2) Missing name from your list AAP is Medha Patekar, Ex CFO of Infosys Balakrishnan, Mhaske (35) (Ragpicker’s son, an IITian, returns from US to fight polls) and many others..
    3)You are talking of DALAL term, take 20% cut and give India Growth.. DO you know PAK’s Ex President Asif Ali Zardari was called Mr 10%, now you are ready to give upto 50% cut… What a shame…?? You know 1 % cut will make most richest person in world and you are giving upto 50%, my GOD.. In that logic India should not get Independence , Britishers are very well.. I found your logic is Hilarious and highly condemnable..


  6. Ruminating Optimist on April 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Well articulated AD. Exactly resonates with what I think of Modi in particular. Yes, there may be doubts on his claims on governance. His so-called autocratic way of governing may be dangerous, but may be we want that to compensate for the exactly opposite style of working of the incumbent leader. I know many who are fundamentally against him, but are ready to give him a chance just because the other options are not viable for them.

  7. hemen parekh on April 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    A Software Powerhouse ?

    Yesterday , when I went to polling booth , there was a chaos , with a number of people complaining that their names were missing from the Electoral Rolls ( Voter Lists )

    As per news-reports , in Mumbai alone , some 50,000 people returned home without casting their votes - including Deepak Parekh ! Altogether , names of some 15 lakh voters ( out of a total of 98 lakh ) were missing !

    Then there are some 300 million people who will simply won’t walk down to the nearest polling booths , and wait for 1 hour to cast their votes ( - assuming that some 40 % of the 814 million eligible voters do not exercise their right to vote )

    WHY ?

    Going out to vote is becoming a big hassle


    Sure , if Central Government and the Election Commission care to implement my suggestion for developing a mobile App for voting . I called it , VotesApp

    see .. hemenparekh.in/2013/08/votesapp.html

    Or , just type in Google , ” VotesApp ”


    > No need for 930,000 polling booths / EVMs / Ink / Papers etc
    Every voter’s own mobile becomes a miniature EVM !
    Any registered Voter can vote from anywhere in the World !

    > Nor any need to deploy 1,100,000 people to conduct the polls

    > No need for millions of Police / Military personnel

    > No need for months of advance preparations, across entire country

    > Voting can be completed in just ONE day - instead of over 6 weeks -
    and results can be declared next day !

    > Voting could be 95 % or more !

    > No worry for booth-capture

    > No bogus voting ( Bio-metric ID from built-in camera )

    > No duplicate voting ( Self-destruct after single usage )

    > No worry for any terrorist attacks

    > Enormous saving of time for Voters

    > No need to declare a public holiday - costing thousands of crores
    worth of production

    > Central Government will save, at least , Rs 2,000 Crores .

    If business-friendly BJP government comes to power , it would not
    hesitate to earn Rs 20,000 crores , by enabling 15 million Indian
    businesses to advertise to 814 million voters , thru this mobile VotesApp -
    sharply targeting by Gender / Age / Marital Status / City / Street /
    Education / Income Tax paid / Employed or Jobless ..etc

    > No need for Central Government to stop taking even routine decisions

    If a tiny country like Estonia ( population 1.6 million ) can elect its Members of Parliament thru a VotesApp type mobile App , why can’t we ?

    Already 900+ million Indians have mobiles - all of which , will soon become Smart Phones

    And we call our country , a ” Software Powerhouse ” !

    * hemen parekh ( 25 April 2014 / Mumbai )

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