BJP AND NARENDRA MODI ARE CIRCUMSTANTIAL CHOICES ONLY

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Narendra Modi as the prime minister of the country and the BJP forming the next government are, at best, the choices forced by the political circumstances in the country.

Yes, they are not the ideal alternatives an informed Indian voter would like to look up to when he has a really different and worthy option to exercise his electoral rights. But that is not the case. Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party did raise some hopes but they look more as aberrations now.

BJP, Congress, SP, BSP, DMK, AIADMK, BJD, NCP, TDP, JDU and every other national and regional party is riddled with the common pseudo-democratic practices parasitic on the Indian democracy. Every political party has willingly contributed to the increasing political criminalization and a chronic political corruption.

But being a country run by a Constitution led governing apparatus involving elections to elect the governments at regular intervals, the voters do not have any other option but to vote to elect someone to run the country.

And this need to ‘elect someone’ pushes for the best possible alternative available from among the pool of the political parties in the fray that may not be even up to the mark when checked on the universal standards of political probity.

Also, this decision to ‘elect the best possible alternative’ is always not take rationally. The illogical but important factors of caste and community are always on play.

As of now, we cannot bank on the pre-poll surveys for some finality on the outcome of the General Elections 2014, but there are strong anti-Congress sentiments across the country, across every electoral formation.

Almost every one accepts that, including the senior Congress party leaders who are leaving the party like a sinking ship is deserted or leaders like P. Chidambaram or Manish Tewari who are not willing to contest this time due to the fear of certain defeat.

And the BJP (and the NDA) being the only political opposition with an almost pan-India presence has gained enough traction to be projected as making the next government aided by a strong personality statement of Narendra Modi on administration, governance and polarisation factors.

People want change from UPA and Congress and that is why they are voicing their opinion in favour of Narendra Modi, BJP and NDA but that doesn’t make them the ideal alternative.

Rather, the political circumstances with anti-incumbency against the Congress leading the pack of the factors make the NDA the circumstantial choice of the voters.

If Congress is staring at a historical doom, it is because people are frustrated with its politics that it has practiced in the last 10 years and they do not want to see it in power again; they do not want to allow the Congressmen to decide on people’s lives this time.

And the way the BJP is accepting defectors from the Congress party and members from other political parties of the UPA alliance, is enough to tell us the voters’ compulsion to vote the BJP in.

A compulsion that always has this in-built dilemma to know if the decision taken was right or was a grave mistake!

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

JASWANT SINGH DIDN’T DESERVE THIS

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

It is not about Jaswant Singh being some saviour for the people of Barmer. It is also not about the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency being some hellhole for its people who are desperately looking for a saviour and Jaswant Singh can deliver for them.

Yes, being a career politician of the BJP with a respectable presence in the national politics, Jaswant Singh certainly did not deserve this treatment, especially when his demand was not something about withdrawing Narendra Modi’s prime-ministerial candidature, something that makes Narendra Modi insecure.

Jaswant Singh should win from Barmer as an independent candidate because it would tell the BJP and Narendra Modi and other politicians that there should be more to the outcome of the electoral process than to mere ‘winnability’ of the candidate. Jaswant Singh should win to tell the BJP that Narendra Modi was absolutely wrong here.

Okay, we cannot bank on pre-poll surveys for some finality as of now, but there are strong anti-Congress sentiments and almost every one accepts that, including the senior Congress party leaders who are leaving the party like a sinking ship is deserted or leader like P. Chidambaram who are not willing to contest this time.

If Congress is staring at a historical doom, it is because people are frustrated with its politics that it has practiced in the last 10 years and they do not want to see it in power again; they do not want to allow the Congressmen to decide on people’s lives again.

But the way the BJP is accepting defectors from the Congress party and members from other political parties of the UPA alliance, is enough to defy that purpose of ‘people seeking change through these elections’.

Even in case of Barmer, a Congress defector who left the grand old party of India recently, was given preference overriding Jaswant Singh’s demand to contest his last election from his home constituency. And it is not with just this choice, many other controversial and worn out names of Congress and other parties have been fielded by the BJP.

Considering ‘winnability’ in elections is logical but it should not wash out the purpose of electoral mandate to bring the change.

The BJP strategists say the Congress defector is a Jat leader and can score a win by attracting the Jats who are the trend-setting chunk of the voters in the Barmer parliamentary constituency.

But given the strong BJP performance in the recently held Rajasthan assembly polls that gave the party 7 out of the 8 assembly segments of Barmer, a senior politician like Jaswant Singh could have easily won, especially when he comes from Barmer.

That tells us, apart from the mad rush on ‘winnability’, it was also the internal BJP muck including the larger-than-party presence of Narendra Modi that denied Jaswant Singh a ticket from Barmer.

The nation needs a stable government and strong prime minister that Narendra Modi can become but the nation certainly doesn’t need a larger than life prime minister who cannot tolerate the voices of dissent. Now, every one knows that Jaswant Singh is from the L K Advani faction in the BJP that Narendra Modi is persevering to make ineffective.

It is true no one has expected and no one should expect the BJP to follow the politics of probity. Like others, BJP is just yet another political party of the worn-out political system in India where taking a moral stand is seen as an outdated and irrelevant practice. And so this move from the BJP is not surprising.

Yes, but, Jaswant Singh’s win from Barmer would be a pleasant surprise and a befitting reply to Narendra Modi and the BJP.

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

NARENDRA MODI FROM VARANASI: A DECISION THAT WAS WAITING TO HAPPEN

Narendra Modi comes to Varanasi/Kashi/Banaras. This idea was tossed for the first time around in May 2013. Since then it has been in news. And it was a decision to be made, sooner or later. And it is in now.

The Muzaffarnagar riots and BJP MLAs jailed for it were the next big push. Narendra Modi is undoubtedly the most polarising personality of Indian politics. In fact he dominates this space. Even if he is trying to carve an image away from it, this political aspect of his personality is going to help the BJP score handsomely in Western Uttar Pradesh with the polarisation of Hindu votes on religious lines.

Apart from his polarising persona appeal in Western UP, Modi’s nomination from Varanasi will help the BJP gain some solid ground to campaign in almost 30-35 seats of Eastern UP and the adjoining areas of Bihar as Varanasi, apart from being the spiritual and religious capital of Hinduism, is also the educational, cultural and industrial hub of Eastern UP and caters to a part of Bihar as well.

So, an objective to achieve significant, vital electoral gains in Western and Eastern UP, accounting for almost 60 parliamentary constituencies, with gains from the polarisation after the riots, was a logical enough calculation to push for Narendra Modi’s candidature from UP.

And it being from Varanasi, the temple town, the city of Lord Shiva, a city nurtured by the Mother Ganga, the spiritual seat of Hinduism, the religious citadel of Hindutva could give the BJP a perfect pitch to project the overarching personality of Narendra Modi as a nationalist, pro-Hindutva leader reaching to the Hindus of every formation, irrespective of the social and geographic boundaries.

Thus, for the BJP strategists, to field Narendra Modi from Varanasi should have been a decision taken long ago, and was just waiting to happen.

And the reports of the wave of anti-incumbency against the sitting MP Murli Manohar Joshi, in spite of his claims of spending over 80 per cent of his MPLAD funds, only helped in the decision making once Joshi’s personal issues were addressed.

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

THE THREE CARDINAL (BUT LARGELY INEFFECTIVE) POINTS OF EC’S RULEBOOK

With the Election Commission (EC) of India announcing the poll schedule of the 2014 General Elections (GE 2014) today, the model code of conduct has come into force with the immediate effect. The long list of EC’s do’s and dont’s, though, on a whole, fails to discipline the politicians, has certain favourites prioritized on the lips of the election commissioners whenever they enumerate the measures to make the elections free and fair.

Major among them are controlling the flow of money beyond the stipulated limit, disciplining the politicians on their personal conduct against other politicians and disciplining the politicians on making sky-high promises to the electorate.

And therefore, like always, the Election Commission has reiterated the three cardinal points:

Politicians should not make unrealistic promises/unachievable claims.

Politicians should not target each other with unsubstantiated allegations.

The contestants must follow the threshold of poll spending, adding another clause this time to submit details of foreign accounts and assets.

Now, based on the flow of the history and the precedents set, we all know what is going to happen (BJP-AAP violent clash outside BJP’s Delhi office today is just a glimpse of it):

When it comes to making promises, Indian politicians are the unmatched achievers who religiously follow the age-old saying of the sages that ‘impossible is a word that doesn’t exist in the dictionary of achievers’.

  • They ascetically believe that ‘achieving’ means ‘making promises to extort votes’ by making promises look as grand and fabulous as possible.

The war of words that has already reached to juicier levels is slated to scale the deafening heights. The limits of acceptable parliamentary behavior that were already made irrelevant years ago will get even more humiliating treatment.

  • The dictionary of unparliamentarily/abusive/derogatory is scheduled to get more comprehensive and enriched by May 10, 2014 when the campaigning for the last phase of GE-2014 (on May 12) ends.

‘Who spends what’ and ‘who should spend what’ – it has been an evergreen point of rift between the politicians and the regulators, with politicians consistently outdoing the Election Commission. And this foreign accounts and assets clause is not going to be of any use as such accounts and assets are maintained to stash the black money away from the regulatory clutches and identities are either kept secret or are outsourced to others.

So, be ready for the final push of the political assault that began with the five state assembly polls in the last quarter of 2013.

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