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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Election Politics: Trepidation, Euphoria, Desperation And Opportunism!



As political parties all over India announce list after list of candidates for the General Elections-2014 with the first phase of voting happening on 7th April; as political parties nominate their candidates for the constituencies; as political leaders file their nominations for the hot seats and as political parties sort out their priorities getting ready for declaring their manifestos certain entertainingly rampant characteristics are popping up and out bringing out the essence of election politicking in the largest democracy of the world. You can like it or dislike it, you can abhor it or ignore it, you can debate aloud about it or keep mum about it, but you cannot help enjoying it. And it’s your right to get entertained before you decide about your vote which you must exercise anyway with the latest option of rejecting all the candidates in your constituency.



A sense of trepidation seems to have engulfed the ruling coalition particularly for Congress party that leads it. After all the scams, all the corruption charges, inflation and an alleged policy paralysis many stalwarts have either refused to contest or have joined or decided to join other political parties that seem to be winning. Many still within the party or the coalition seem to have resigned to the emerging view that they after all will have to sit in the opposition this time around taking consolation in the fact that they have ruled the country for the last ten years.



A sense of euphoria seems to have engulfed the main opposition parties particularly the BJP who, in the soothing company of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, starts to feel almost secure in the emerging view that this party will after all get the chance to rule the country after a gap of ten years. Many stalwarts within the BJP are eager to stick their necks in and be a part of the expected victory. However, the euphoria seems to have made the party dream of a single party rule creating in its wake internal egoistic and power-mongering trouble. Okay, the Prime Ministerial candidate has already been announced, but the position of Deputy PM or even Associate PM or Assistant PM are still open for grabs. So furious is the euphoria that even its potentially powerful allies are no longer safe—if you care to go through the snubbing game going on between BJP and Shiv Sean in Maharashtra.  



Therefore, be it trepidation or euphoria, a sense of desperation seems to have engulfed the entire political community. Everybody, be it their plain greed for power or be it their 'commitment' to continuing public service, wants somehow to be on the winning side, by hook or by crook. As we have mentioned earlier many stalwarts belonging to Congress and other parties have betrayed and joined rival parties with the enlivening hope of ending up with the winning ones. As you know winning means cornering power and cornering power means...you know well after living in the largest democracy of the world for decades. Many other stalwarts including granddads or senior most leaders have been bickering for more lucrative or prestigious constituencies. Such was the fury of this desperation that within BJP it has raised the specter of a Modi-Advani confrontation once again and has created divisions that are hardly healthy for a party that is hopeful of forming the next government.



All these inevitably lead to an air of rank opportunism that has in fact been so characteristic of Indian politics over the decades. Leaders are running here and there looking for the best chance of reaping the maximum benefits and finally or hopefully grabbing positions of power. More frighteningly, the party that took up the cudgels for the common man on the ideal of a corruption-free country has managed to beat the masters in their own games. It has matched the masters bit by bit with expertise and elan in every aspect of dirty politicking. Its front runner—the run-away Chief Minister— has got used to creating controversy and turmoil wherever he sets his 'preaching' feet in, so much so that his party now has effectually become the common man's most common tormentor.
And incidentally his mentor cum anti-corruption crusader has become a perfect comedian siding with or deserting any political party at will all the while maintaining that he would never support any political party. Our dear 'merciless Mamata' had recently shown a helluva lot of ‘mamata’ on this crusader, but had to go back to her merciless ways when the former left her midway and abandoned. However, in the first place nobody quite understood why both needed each other so suddenly.



To end on a rather positive note we must point out one emerging trend which is valid for all political parties. In their desperation to get the best possible 'winning' candidates political parties have been roping in celebrities including film actors and professional comedians. Maybe this could act as a distinct dampener for prospective criminals who could have qualified otherwise.
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