The pundits on ‘ifs, buts and ayes’ of India, spread across the spectrum

The season of elections is hot. The temperature was set on an upswing with assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram in the last quarter of 2013.

The ‘curve-on-growth-course’ led to the germination in time and the fans gathered in full strength to rehearse and to present their credentials and thus claims for their stakes when the fruit had ripened, when the ‘pundit in the fans’ would be in full flow to inundate us with their 360 Degree wisdom.

With just two months in the Lok Sabha polls, the moment on the time-scale is just around the corner when the fruit will enter its final stage of ripening.

And, the hotness of the season of elections is expected to ripen the fruit at a speeded rate after the changed circumstances of electoral equations have left even the most thick skinned of the pundits shocked, scrambling for words, with the assembly election results declared last December giving the BJP a mixed bag of better-than-expected and ‘not-up-to-the-expectation’ results, giving Congress a poll drubbing and giving the Aam Aadmi Party stunningly impressive show in Delhi that helped it form the government.

The fruit of the season of elections is coming into full form to be savoured by the categories of the pundits.

And therefore, it is going to the season of reasons as well – reasons of every type – qualified reasons, unqualified reasons, statistical reasons, verbose reasons, exploratory reasons, discursive reasons, reasoned reasons, unreasoned reasons – elaborating and exhorting on every possible contour with their ‘ifs, buts and ayes’ on each and every development – yes, the pundits are going to be the one hot currency in the season of polls in India.

Like always, post the advent and growth of the satellite channels, this time too, what we saw on air during the assembly polls in the last quarter of 2013, was a trailer, the events and outcomes of small-scale elections preceding the big daddy of them all, the big-ticket event, the general elections of India, the Lok Sabha polls.

Be ready for the season of reasons (and thus of pundits) in the season of elections.

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


Saying so — It is not fashionable. It is not patronizing. It is not as looking down on some lesser important ally. It is not biased. It is rooted in deeply disturbing trends.

When the world, when the global community, when the rich nations that constitute for the bulk of the tourist inflow in India – when they warn their citizens on traveling in India, labeling the world’s largest democracy as the rape capital of the world, it has reasons, reasons that should have ashamed us to take corrective measures long ago.

And ‘taking corrective measurers’ is not just about formulating some policies. We have had many policies strong enough to check and put the effective control. In fact, an already robust legal framework was given even more teeth after the December 16, 2012 gang rape of Delhi.

But, the number of rape cases, or to say the number of reported rape cases, has increased significantly since then.

‘Taking corrective’ measures must mean implementing the measures to correct the system, and that must be ‘without delay’.

The task at hand becomes even more herculean with the fact that it is a mindset problem of a male dominated society where, in spite of all the progresses and the claims thus made, women are still treated as lesser, inferior counterparts, that further pushes for their stereotyping and commoditizing as objects, to be used, to be exploited, by the sick and perverted male mentalities.

The devil was always there, cryptically exposed, dwarfed by the inhibitions of a patriarchal society. Now, with chronically increased number of rape cases, it is telling us it doesn’t care what the morality thinks about it. It, in fact, is boasting its perversion with a shameless new audacity.

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


-The ‘Chai Wallah’ Vs the Aspiring Common Man (the Prince) Vs the ‘Muffler Wallah’-

Irrespective of the Congress party not declaring Rahul Gandhi its prime-ministerial nominee and irrespective of Rahul Gandhi saying again and again that ‘power is poison and he is not for the post’, as he said again in his first formal interview to a TV channel, it is going to be Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

At the moment, the balance is heavily tilted in favour of Narendra Modi after the assembly election results of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi in December last year when BJP registered a good (better than expected in some cases) performance while Congress saw humiliation, to the extent of absolute rejection.

Before, that, though Modi was still far ahead in different popularity surveys, the opinionating was not so skewed and the Rahul Factor was being talked about seriously.

That has seen a reasonable dent now.

But, still, the Congress party has no other alternative than to project Rahul Gandhi, officially or unofficially, hoping some political windfall in the last moments that may help the Rahul Factor sail through the political storm of the Lok Sabha polls 2014.

For Congress, still, the First Family comes first, when it comes to the moments of crisis, as is the case now, with a Congress led coalition government facing historically low credibility crisis and sky-high anti-incumbency.

So, irrespective of whether it is or it is not, it is going to be Rahul Gandhi Vs Narendra Modi.

And what about ‘Rahul Gandhi Vs Narendra Modi Vs Arvind Kejriwal’ hypothesis for the prime-ministerial chair of the country?

The option with ‘Vs Kejriwal’ in picture is more for the analysts and pundits who are going to come with their psephological, sociopolitical and sociological viewpoints before the elections, factoring in the ‘Kejriwal Factor (or AAP Factor) after the stunning success of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi assembly elections.

So, even if a ‘Kejriwal Factor’ is non-existent or is having absolutely low recall intensity beyond Delhi-NCR and some urban pockets, it is going to be in news and discussions until the Lok Sabha poll results come. Also, the growing base of controversies against AAP, in just 30 days of it coming to power in Delhi, has corroded the national ambitions of the new party in real terms. Now, they need to deliver Delhi first.

Therefore, for voters spread across the villages, towns, cities and metro cities, it is mainly going to be Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi.

For certain populations spread across certain geographical localities, and for the discourse utility of the Kejriwal Factor for political discussions on TV news channels and other media vehicles, it is going to be Rahul Gandhi Vs Narendra Modi Vs Arvind Kejriwal.

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


The beginning was made when the assembly elections of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (and Mizoram) were announced.

The mini-theatre gave ample, even more than enough, representation to the tools of political communication.

Advertising mileage, branding linkage and marketing deliverance – every tool was exploited.

And the colloseum of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is going to reflect the magnified scale of these tools used in the mini theatre in operation in the last quarter of 2013.

The players, the coaches, the platforms – all are greasing up to campaign for the campaigns that are going to sweep the nation.

The direct, the indirect, the ‘above-the-line’, the ‘below-the-line’, the explicit, the restrained, the provocative, the diminutive – every possible tool in the communication manuals is going to be used and re-used.

UPA’s Bharat Nirman, NDA’s efforts to undoing the ‘Bharat Nirman’, attacks, counter-attacks and allurements of other political outfits in the communication space – until now, the space has seen use of ‘flighting’, the intermittent burst of advertising campaigns.

Now, with the Lok Sabha polls just two months away, be prepared to weather round the clock, 360 Degree ‘continuity’ of political communication right into your homes, in your lives, with regular intermittent bursts of overdose.

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


Five assembly elections just concluded. Four of them, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, were touted as semifinal before the general elections, the Lok Sabha polls, of 2014.

It can be rightly said the nation was thrust into the poll mode right from the time these four state assembly elections were announced.

And the outcome has only galvanized the atmosphere.

No had expected such a big humiliation of Congress. No one had given such a big thumbs-up to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). No one had thought BJP would score so huge victories in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Despite the claims, most of the pre-poll surveys failed to gauge what was going to happen.

Now, with just two months left for the Lok Sabha polls, the run of the pre-Lok Sabha polls opinion poll surveys is already on the show and is expected to gain quick momentum in the coming days.

With each passing week, the frequency is going to increase until the model code of conduct puts them to go silent.

Yes, bitten and stung, expect the outcome of the four assembly results of December 2013 to reflect in their analyses and projections.

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


Anarchy gets some Che Guevara style makeover in India, sans some of its elements

‘Yes, I am an anarchist’ – Arvind Kejriwal proudly said it.

Others use more subtle ways. They don’t say but keep on doing. Anarchy has been the way of many of the Indian political establishments.

The rogue elements of the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party, the militant brand of politics by the parties like Shiv Sena or MNS or the political elitism of every political outfit in the country contribute to the political anarchy (the democratic disorder) in the country.

Yes, they don’t proclaim it openly. They are silent workers here.

Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party are the beginners in the Indian political scene. They have gone political (from activism) to cleanse political of its malaise, to cleanse the System.

Their political basis has been anti-establishment. They have to do different things and they have to do things differently.

But, with one month of the chief ministerial office in Delhi under their grab, they are looking pro-establishment.

Whatever be their intent, on surface, they have to do things to looks different, and the need is exacerbated even more.

So, with the compulsion of ‘being and doing’ things differently, there might be a possibility that some of them advised that the dent was already deepening and AAP needed something different to reclaim the lost ground.

Now, what could divert and reorient the public’s attention in a short span of time?

Agitations folks! And who knows better than Arvind Kejriwal. After all, his political success comes from the hugely successful anti-corruption movement of 2011. Then, he was apolitical. Then he was not in the System.

Now, he is political. Now he is part of the System that he is supposed to cleanse.

So, to do it differently, the angry new entrant of Indian politics sought to reignite the sympathy for the ‘anti-hero’ in the masses, by branding him ‘anarchist’.

Anti-hero anarchy has been a populist theme throughout the world, across the sociopolitical theatres.

Okay, he didn’t do a different thing. But at least, he could do it differently. Others do it but don’t give the ‘anarchy’ its due. Arvind Kejriwal gave ‘anarchy’ its due by giving it the name, by recognizing its populist appeal.

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


The common men, the public of the Republic

Okay, even if doubts have crept in about how central to their plans the ‘aam aadmi’ (the common man) is going to be in reality, the political parties are forced to look pro-common man, and it is unlike any time, at least after the JP Movement of 1970s.

And there looks an unusual likeness for it, a feeling that should be loved; a feeling that should be hoped to be the sustained one.

The ramblings are creating saints and sentient thinkers out of the politicians, of all types, after the Aam Aadmi Party’s stunning performance in the Delhi assembly polls.

So, an Arvind Kejriwal’s government, that is in imminent danger of falling short of being ‘aam’ (common) for the ‘aam aadmi’, is forced to look and sound even more ‘aam’ and it tries to symbolise its concern by not accepting the palatial government accommodations (though unwillingly), by spending crores to let the public be the part of its power show during its government’s inauguration, by getting a rickshaw-puller inaugurate a hospital, though none of its ministers including the most special ‘aam’ among them, Arvind Kejriwal, come forward to offer any explanation on dozens of deaths due to cold in the Delhi government run night shelters.

So, even if the ‘aam aadmi’ remains a compromised political currency, the difference this time is, he has forced the political parties (both, routinely political and newly political) to take notice of him, to talk about him, to accept the symbolism of his power.

So, a faltering AAP is trying to sustain its momentum.

So, the others, including Rahul Gandhi’s Congress and Narendra Modi’s BJP, they all are trying to gain the ‘aam aadmi’ momentum.

‘Aam Aadmi’ has never been so central to the political campaigning.

But, to what extent it makes for the elements of a sensible process of change? Only time will tell.

The worrying part is the cracks have started to appear.

Yes, it is premature and foolhardy to think that this acceptance of the ‘power of the symbolism of the aam aadmi’ would lead to some immediate breakthrough in the mode of political functioning in the country.

It needs to evolve. An overnight crash course in anarchy is not going to help.

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


It was 2011 when the great Father of the Nation was being hotly debated again. The huge support to the anti-corruption moment led by the Gandhian social reformer Anna Hazare was a high time to revisit the Gandhian Thoughts once again.

And the strategists of the movement cleverly mixed the symbolism of the Gandhi Caps (inscribed with ‘Main Bhi Anna’ and other similar tag- lines then) with the debate.

It was a potent symbolism that also felt honest then.

Even if there was a split in Team Anna on the issue of formation of a political party, the Aam Aadmi Party (the political offshoot of the anti-corruption movement of 2011) continued with the Gandhi Caps making it an important part of its political branding exercise.

Yes, ‘Main Bhi Anna’ has been replaced with ‘Main Aam Aadmi Hun’.

The AAP members, they have taken it to the level that they don’t leave their heads uncovered even if they are sitting in the state assembly. Nothing wrong if doing so is not just a political branding exercise. But, there is reasoned ‘but’ now.

But, for the Gandhi Caps, after the success of AAP in the Delhi assembly polls, its membership numbers are swelling across the country and so is the count of the Gandhi Caps being on display.

And to add to that are the saffron Gandhi Caps going to be used by the BJP.

So, is the growing count of the Gandhi Caps going to affect the way its bearers are going to think politically?

Don’t daydream.

It is not expected from the BJP. And the way AAP has been in the office since December 28, 2013, we should not expect it from AAP either.

But, at least it is doing some good to some members of the Republic, the small trading units involved in making these caps. Already in the range of orders of hundreds of thousands, they are slated to earn even more with the fast approaching Lok Sabha polls.

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


Now this is a queue which even the most frustrated (of uncountable queues) Indian is gleefully trying to be part of.

The unexpected, unprecedented success of the Aam Aadmi Party in the recently concluded Delhi assembly elections has given wings to the all types of ‘wannabe’ politicians.

So, there is a rush (mad or sincere only time can tell, though the benefit of doubts exists at the moment) to join the ‘so heavily despised and censured’ Indian Politics.

The lot that was adamantly apolitical until now is getting happily political now.

And in the band, there is flowing a great tune of parity – from corporate honchos, to non-resident Indians, to well trained and educated professionals, to media luminaries, to the Aam Aadmi – all are feeling good to take a plunge to feel jolly in the season of the ‘public’ in the Republic of India.

Certainly, this is a rare phenomenon in India.

Public has seldom been at the centre of the policymakers and political class in the Republic that is also the world’s largest democracy.

We have seen great many subversions of the spirit of being a Republic and being a democracy including the Emergency.

It is not that there have not been attempts to change politics but they have either failed like the political extension of JP’s Movement or have failed to be noticed like the political start-ups by some socially responsible professionals.

There is, again, a chance now. Predicting anything about it will be premature as of now. But this chance tells the hope has a reason to hope again.

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


Each one has different interpretations, depending on which side you are.

Getting apolitically political

The Gandhi Caps

The Aam Aadmi
(The common man, the public of the Republic)

The Populist Anarchy
(Anarchy gets some Che Guevara style makeover in India, sans some of its elements)

Pre-poll seasoning on electoral reasoning

Campaigning for the campaigns

The ‘Chai Wallah’ Vs the Aspiring Common Man (the Prince) Vs the ‘Muffler Wallah’

The pundits on ‘ifs, buts and ayes’ of India, spread across the spectrum

Depending on which side you are, the way you think, it can be a ‘Happy Republic Day’ or an ‘Unhappy Republic Day’ or just a plain ‘Republic Day’, nothing more than a public holiday.

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