ELECTIONS, NOTA AND QUESTIONS OF AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD

I was watching coverage of Delhi election on TN news channels this morning when my 11 year old niece came to sit by me. It clearly meant I needed to be ready answering questions that she would be picking up from the content.

I have become used to and enjoy it. Sometimes, there are no answers. Sometimes, there cannot be answers. Sometimes, I don’t know the answers. But, thankfully, most of the times, I am able to answer her to her and my satisfaction.

Sometimes, she asks questions that transcend the age boundaries leaving me thinking for a long time as I know how relevant the question is and how desperately the society needs to find the answer. Today was one such day with the questions she asked. Some of the questions were:

Should anyone who doesn’t find any candidate in the fray worthy go with ‘None of the Above/ NOTA option (yes, she was aware of it thanks again to these rounds of questions and answers) or he should go with the best of the lot?

But if we don’t find anyone worthy, why should we compromise, why shouldn’t we go with NOTA?

What if more people opt for NOTA than any other candidate?

What if all the votes cast in a constituency go to NOTA?

What if all the votes except a small share, say in the range of 5% go to NOTA?

Now, we all who are politically aware have thought over and discuss the first three questions.

But, even the last two are not irrelevant, even if repetitive in tone. And the last three may sound utopian given the state of affairs of the Indian politics of the day, but certainly push us to think.

How would our prevailing electoral system handle such crisis points?

Would the moral constraints give way to the constitutional framework where NOTA gets larger or equal vote share, the second one?

What would happen of Indian politics, Indian society and India if the electoral response gets to these extreme outcomes, the last three?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MODI-FACTOR VS MODI-WAVE

Personality wave in electoral battles basically follows personality cult. To be a personality cult there, there need to be a large scale uniform acceptability across a large geographical and sociological cross section of the poll-bound area.

If we follow this simple logic of common sense, we can easily say there was no Modi-wave in the recently concluded assembly polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Better than expected results in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh help the proponents of the Modi-wave theories but then Chhattisgarh and Delhi results, where BJP could hardly win in one and could emerge as the largest party but short of majority in other, defy their every logic.

It is true Narendra Modi did positively add to the BJP vote-share in these assembly polls but it was not a wave, it was the Modi-factor in play.

And there is a clear and visible distance, from Modi-factor to Modi-wave, to be travelled.

Personality waves in electoral events, if is there is really a personality wave, are very strong, strong enough to dwarf every other factor.

Had there been a Modi-wave, we would not have such a close fight in Chhattisgarh; we would not have a hung assembly in Delhi.

Had there been a Modi-wave, it could have easily countered and negated the sympathy wave that helped Congress in Bastar constituencies in Chhattisgarh after its top state leaders were killed in a Naxal attack there. 8 out of 12 assembly seats falling in that area went to the Congress party.

Had it been for a Modi-wave, we would not have a hung assembly outcome in Delhi. It could have easily replaced the Anna and AAP factor in being the primary claimants exploiting the huge anti-incumbency against the Congress-led governments, at Union and at State levels.

But that did not happen.

To dwarf such known factors and some unpredictable factors like the sympathy votes in Bastar, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Modi’s popularity needs to travel this distance, it there has to be a Modi-wave by the next April-May when the voters go out to vote to elect the next Union Government of India.

But in the prevailing political circumstances, even a Narendra Modi factor would be more than enough for the BJP to secure around 200 seats, a threshold that the party needs in order to command political allies to cross the 272 mark to prove majority in the House, if the BJP strategists could successfully align the Modi-factor along the huge nation-wide anti-incumbency against the Congress-led UPA government.

And so what is this Modi-factor. It is many sub-factors that make Narendra Modi the tallest political leader of the present political lot; that make Narendra Modi the most popular political leader in the country literally dwarfing all others; that make Narendra Modi an icon of development politics; that make Narendra Modi an experimenter and promoter of the identity-politics; factors that make Narendra Modi the absolute factor of the ‘politics of polarisation’ in India.

There are in-built positives and negatives with these Modi sub-factors. How these sub-factors are played out by BJP is going to the shape the effectiveness of the Modi-factor in the upcoming general elections; is going to write the equations for the party.

Yes, if there comes around a political scenario of BJP getting the absolute majority on its own, then we can safely call it’s a Modi-wave where positives and negatives don’t matter; where the cult of the personality becomes a phenomenon sweeping the mindsets.

Let’s watch to analyse.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BJP: TREND-SETTING TAKEAWAYS FOR 2014 GENERAL ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN FROM FOUR-STATE POLL RESULTS ON DECEMBER 8

What are the trend-setting takeaways for the 2014 General Elections campaign from the outcome of the four assembly elections held this November-December the results of which were announced on December 8 (Mizoram, being one Lok Sabha seat only, doesn’t matter for the mainstream political parties when it comes to the electoral equations and thus the political calculations to devise strategies and design campaigns).

BJP’s Modi-wave rant is going to be under the impending influence of the reality: The reality is imminent and the BJP strategists should read it rather than trying tagging along to getting aligned with the all powerful prime ministerial nominee of BJP and NDA. They need to read the writing on the wall carefully because there are in-built elements of confusion.

Confusions that will lead to complacency and hence to the possibilities of debacle in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls!

Before the elections, till the day of the counting, BJP was being projected to be the clear winner in all the four important states where elections were being held, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, in the polls being seen as the semifinal, the immediately preceding electorally important event before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The talks of the Modi-wave were all around, being discussed, being dismissed.

So, it was more of a test of the Modi-wave it could be said. Also, it was going to give an opportunity to test the waters for the design of BJP’s election campaigning for the upcoming general elections.

Only if they read into it! Only if they are reading further into it!

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan may confuse but Delhi, Chhattisgarh should act as eye openers.

While BJP has performed exceedingly well beating expectations in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, a point that can be raised in favour of a Modi-wave, the close contest in Chhattisgarh and not getting majority in Delhi should be enough to rebut any such point.

Though BJP has won this round of electoral politics, it needs to remain beware of the complacency factor.

True, Narendra Modi is a factor adding positively to the BJP prospects, but he is yet to become a wave, if he becomes a personality wave at all, something that remains cryptic as of now.

Had there been a Modi-wave, we would not have such a close fight in Chhattisgarh; we would not have a hung assembly in Delhi.

Personality waves in electoral events, if is there is really a personality wave, are very strong, strong enough to dwarf every other factor.

Had there been a Modi-wave, it could have easily countered and negated the sympathy wave that helped Congress in Bastar constituencies in Chhattisgarh after its top state leaders were killed in a Naxal attack there. 8 out of 12 assembly seats falling in that area went to the Congress party.

Had it been for a Modi-wave, we would not have a hung assembly outcome in Delhi. It could have easily replaced the Anna and AAP factor in being the primary claimants exploiting the huge anti-incumbency against the Congress-led governments, at Union and at State levels.

But that did not happen.

This realization is important for BJP if the party has to capitalize on the deepening anti-Congress sentiments across the nation. Modi’s popularity across the country (and not Modi-wave) would certainly help the party to gain deeper and wider.

True, there are factors that can make it a Modi-wave by the time we enter the final round of the campaigning for the 2014 General Elections, but they need this realization and the subsequent synergizing efforts to make them dominating at play.

Watch to see an interesting trend analysis unveiling!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE FRACTURED MAJORITY, THE CONSOLIDATED MINORITY AND THE VOTEBANK POLITICS

Ironically a rueful fact in a democracy – electoral politics in India is dominated by votebank appeasement. This votebank politics has some inherent traits.

Hindus, the majority votebank (80%), are divided and sub-divided along different caste and sub-caste lines and caste is still the major factor in deciding whom to vote for. Though, the widening base of the middle class does act independently (and so positively) of this caste prejudice sometimes, it is still a long way to go before the country can see a democratically healthy electoral process based on issues of human development.

Over the years, to exploit the caste sentiments, politicians have worked overtime to make the fissures go deeper in the fractured Hindu society by promoting caste-based politics.

On the contrary, with the minority votes, the situation is different.

They vote in pockets, more or less uniformly distributed. This pushes politicians to go to any extent to attract the minority votes. And in this minority lot, Muslims count for the biggest votebank and, so are the biggest attraction for the manipulative practice of the votebank politics.

(Now, it is matter of yet another debate if the appeasement of minorities and the subsequent votebank politics has done any good, either to the minorities, or to the overall social fabric of the country, or to democratic spirit of the country.)

The fractured majority and the consolidated minority – the paradox sums up the essence of the votebank politics in India – a paradox perpetuated by the exploitation and over-exploitation by its political class – at the cost of the democratic spirit of the Republic.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/