Watching election results’ broadcast yesterday was an interesting experience. To the credit of opinion poll agencies, this time they got it more or less right. After the excitement of initial results ebbed after apart from tightrope walk of Delhi and Jharkhand, opinion was more or less unanimous that it was a big win for BJP.
Problem for the commentators, mostly centrist to left of centres was how to credit BJP without crediting Modi for this massive win. The grudging acknowledgement of BJP’s big win and naming Modi without naming him was amusing. It seemed they were embarrassed.
To the chagrin of the commentators, there was no competition! Congress was decimated completely. Rahul had proved yet again that he is not a leadership material, sorry. They couldn’t keep on haranguing Congress spokesperson endlessly. After all, it would be handling them doles and finances through advertisements till May 2014. They realized that they needed an antidote to Modi, the unstoppable man, the man these people love to hate.
To their rescue came the man in the shining armour - Arvind Kejriwal. He saved the day for them. His maiden successful entry into electoral politics became the talking point. His victory seemed to overshadow clean sweep of BJP and its number one position in Delhi. A naïve citizen could just be wondering if BJP was defeated!
It was clear for any impartial observer that Modi had added the desired zing and energized the cadre of BJP to an extent that it gave the desired tailwind to BJP to rise much higher than what even it had anticipated. Media which was gleefully poking fun at BJP for being a divided listless party, had seen that rise of Modi. His anointment had finally brought back a sense of purpose to BJP’s fight and common youth, forget just the common BJP worker was totally in thrall of Modi.
These results only put a seal of approval on this emerging scenario over last few months. Now, should we call it a wave? Should we call it a tsunami or should we call it a ripple? That was the dilemma, though the fact is that Modi was instrumental in getting BJP over the hump of simple win to make it a clean sweep.
BJP was a listless party till the eve of Delhi elections, divided, too lazy to take to the streets, taking its victory for granted while AAP was working overtime to reap rewards of the seeds sown by anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare earlier. If BJP couldn’t see its impact it was more out of sheer inertia and arrogance of its established network than anything else.
But, Modi and Gadkari probably saw the building up of groundswell in support of AAP due to its street clever agitations as compared to lack lustre leadership and lack of energy in cadres and pushed for a change, a little late though. In came, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and then came Modi’s rallies and the atmosphere got electrified. Cadre got active and its voters got enthused.
What brought BJP into sniffing distance of power in Delhi was this smart strategy. Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Modi saved BJP the blushes and helped it score 4-0. Or else AAP was sure to wrest the power from Congress and also defeat BJP. The difference of 3-4 seats between the two signifies the vote % change due to Modi factor. Arvind Kejriwal didn’t stop Modi wave, on the contrary, Modi stopped AAP carnival.
Any objective analyst could see this, but not our so called wise men sitting in TV studios. I am sure, they saw it, but to accept this bitter pill was too much for them. And as I noted above, Arvind provided them the peg to hang their new theories. Who could stop Modi juggernaut? Arvind Kejriwal of course! A win in a city state makes a person the ideal competitor to a national leader who has been on the field for decades and come up the hard way with a reputation of delivering honestly, backed by a redoubtable cadre across India!
We Indians have an inbuilt reflex of looking for a savior or a hero. Even if a person does not deserve the hero status, we accord that status to him or her and start seeing qualities that are non-existent or suspect. We have done it time and again. Last attempt was the according the cult status to a simple hearted social reformer, Anna Hazare, who rose to national eminence due to media projecting him as someone who he was not.
I do not for a moment poke fun at Arvind or Anna. I am just saying just let them be what they are and let them rise to their full potential before you become their trumpeter. Our media that has come from the same society seems to be struck by the same failing - of longing for a hero and desperately thrusting the crown on to him or her.
The eulogies that he is collecting show that we tend to forget history so easily. Is he indeed the first entrant in politics who has fire in his belly and is honestly trying to change the system? Is his party the only party that is supported by self sacrificing volunteers? The times have changed and the means too. He has the advantage of technology and media that earlier trailblazers didn’t have.
Can we so easily forget the first Communist government in Kerala, way back in 60s? Led by honest, motivated young Communist cadres and dismissed by Nehru family? Can we forget rise of Jan Sangh (earlier avatar of BJP) fired purely by patriotic young men with selfless vision of a great nation, supported by people voluntarily out of their own pockets and sacrifices?
Can’t our media and commentators recall Jai Prakash Narayan’s ‘sampoorn kranti’ call and support it got from thousands of idealistic youth? Or the fight for democracy fought in the most dark moments of India’s history by thousands of people, mostly youth, of which 70% were from RSS and its associates. These social and political activists were imprisoned for months without any recourse to justice but still fought back against the tyranny of Indira Congress and won back democracy for us?
We also remember the disillusionment of failure of Janta experiment. We need to remember that the idealist generation that came up from JP’s movement has given many of the current political leaders including Lalu Yadav, Nitish and Sushil Modi.
We can thus remember that corruption sets in only when you taste power. Till the time you have the real power, you can surely remain honest. In spite of all this, idealism has not died. As a commentator said in TV yesterday night, there are islands of honesty and idealism in all this cynicism in all the social and political organizations.
I just wish to underline that coronation of a fresh successful politician out of sheer urge to find an antidote to Modi can be fraught with risks. These are early days. To imagine that a single city party can challenge a party or even a system across a huge country like India with varied issues, people and cultures within a period of 5 months of its first win is height of either innocence or cynicism. By doing so, media and its pundits are only mudding the water in the hope of confusing people and thus helping corrupt ruling class of today.
AAP’s holier than though attitude and painting all those opposed to them as black is exclusivist like any evangelist. More than 65% of Delhi people have voted for BJP and AAP and wiped off Congress from Delhi. Does Kejriwal mean that only 30% who voted for him have a right to governance and others don’t deserve an honest government unless they vote for him? He and his colleagues first need to grow up and get over his ‘my way or highway’ attitude and get over their collective ego. Only then can they expand.
Some of the strategies used by Arvind Kejriwal like a traditional secular politician of bowing to orthodox extremist Mullahs and not reaching out to liberal modern Muslim; his approach to Kashmir and Naxalism all show that his new thinking stops only at civic administration and he is steeped in typical woolly headed left-secular ideology that believes in mai-baap sarkaar.
Recent results clearly show that young generation is no more enamoured by mai-baap sarkaar or communal politics of playing caste/religious card. It has confidence that it can rise high on its own hard work. It just needs an enabling environment and a government that works like an enabler.
Modi has shown them that it is possible. He has ignited their ambitions and they are dreaming big now. So, please stop finding an antidote to Modi. Instead come up with ideas and solutions that could be used for India’s progress and give them to a leader who is ready to listen and adopt any idea that benefits India.