Saturday, May 17, 2014

Elections 2014 - There Is Some Sense, Some Hope Out There

From a state of not being able to make any sense of some of the predictions that I heard, to the quality of leaders on show, to the kind of promises, bravado and behavior put up by the Prime Ministerial candidates, to the manner in which people responded to public meetings, I finally heaved a sigh of relief and came to the conclusion that there is sense in this whole process of democracy. Finally sense prevailed, and by and large it appeared that the people voted for what seemed to be their best interests based on what they heard, saw and felt.

Despite all the negativism surrounding Narendra Modi and his past, he was always going to emerge the strongest candidate for the job of the Prime Minister. He came riding on the back of a successful model in Gujarat, showing vision and thought, and ideas of how he proposes to lead the country. In his opposition the main rival Congress put up Rahul Gandhi who was woefully inadequate to handle the mantle of the leader of the world's largest democracy. Caught in its own web of sycophants who never oppose, never tell the truth, and a leadership that probably does not have the time to listen to good counsel, the Congress put up a candidate that compromised any hope of that party putting a fight. A true case of the emperor's new clothes and the party could do well to address these fundamental issues - that the people will not tolerate such follies that can be thrust upon the party surely, but not on citizens across India. On the other hand we had the promising Arvind Kejriwal who for some reason decided to fight his election against Modi in Varanasi. Why would you want to do that unless you are caught up in some childish whim? Why can't you remain faithful to your constituency and get elected and do some good and in five years come back with a better case? Why this huge hurry? Why this arrogance? This childishness? Anyway both these parties hogged enough limelight and fared badly mainly due to their own abysmal and thoughtless decision making, arrogance and unrealistic views. Modi would have sailed through without any effort considering the opposition he had, and even he would not have expected to romp home with such a convincing majority. Thankfully the people of India gave him the mandate and told the others to go clean up their act. Very heartening indeed.

Now the time has come to deliver. All this while, parties got stuck in coalition politics and could never decide on their own. Now is the chance to do all that the BJP felt was right. Such an opportunity comes rarely and the BJP must make the most of it. There cannot be any excuses for not fulfilling its promises. How they will be able to maneuver themselves and the political machinery against these tricky issues needs to be seen. But they cannot wish them away surely and must address them.

A more heartening feature was the election in Andhra Pradesh. If reports were to be believed (including the alleged report compiled by some high level experts) YSRCP was to sweep the polls. I was aghast that this party led by a leader who is facing corruption charges of humongous proportions and has been in jail for that, who has displayed no great signs of administration nor political maturity and who has always been a man in a hurry, should win. More so against a veteran like Chandrababu Naidu who has proved his administrative capabilities before. But once again the people of Seemandhra showed great sense and despite attending the rallies of Jaganmohan Reddy in great numbers, voted Naidu, his track record and political acumen into power. TRS won in Telangana which is not unexpected.

It is a fair verdict. The mandate has been given to the right people, or shall we say the best candidate son view. Now they have no excuse for not delivering all that they promised, all that they said they would do. It is obviously a much smarter people they are dealing with, one that is looking out for its bigger and collective good, going beyond narrow communal and regional biases. It augurs well for the people. Now to see if we have the leaders we deserve.

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