5.17.2014

Welcome Mr Prime Minister

As the national electoral process comes to close after, what seemed like a very long wait, it is time to sit back and, yes, you guessed it right - write a blog post. While the campaigning was at its peak, I did feel like powering on my laptop to resume writing, but, I guess, my laziness, had the better of me.

The mandate that the BJP has received does not have a precedent, at least not in the last 30 years, which by public memory seems eons ago. The party is set to cross the half way mark all on its own. I am an Aam Aadmi supporter, but I think it would not be wrong to congratulate BJP for emerging as a the single largest party, and that too in such a way. And consequently, to Mr Modi for becoming the Prime Minister of a large (and hopefully great) country like ours.

While places - real as well as virtual - are agog with celebrations, I think it is a good time to also give a thought to what may lie ahead. For this, it is important to realize what has happened. A lot of people, almost 40 percent of the electorate, has voted for BJP and its allies. A point to note, apart from the fact that 60 percent have not, is that this 40 percent consists of a variety of people who have equally varied expectations from the government. Some of them are the pro-development middle class, some of them are the pro-job working class, some of them are the business class who adequately compensated for their lack in numbers with money in its various forms, some of these are, what we may call, BJP's bread and butter supporters - those who see in Modi the saviour of Hindus, Hinduism, Hindutva - good luck to those who try finding the differences between the three. If you have studied logic the way I have (which I assure you is primitive), it is hard to miss the inherent tension between the diagonally opposite expectations which each group comes with. Fortunately, for me, my ego is not bigger than my wish to see the country on the right track and therefore, I wish Mr Modi the very best in the tightrope walking act that he is embarking on.

Let us not forget that Mr Modi, whether you like it or not, by virtue of being PM of India, is also the PM for all those Indians who did not vote for him. And, ideally, he will need to address their concerns too. So the environment-wallahs, jhola-wallahs, the LGBT wallahs and many other interest groups - he will need to be cognizant of their concerns too.

A lot of us are actually rejoicing the fact that the BJP victory has been so "complete" that there is no opposition party left (it seems that you need 55 seats to be an opposition). Well, the absence of a credible opposition is not good news for a well functioning parliament and democracy. So that is something all of us need to be aware of.

The fact that BJP has come to power on its own, even without the support of its allies, is a good thing when it comes to taking decisions, especially related to reforms, which have been stuck for a lot of time. It also means that a lot of decisions that may merit discussions and invite disagreements, can be ramrodded through without paying heed to any argument.

Coming to AAP, it was indeed a tall order to expect more than 10 seats. I think that is what all of us, myself included, were hoping for. But the fact that we drew a blank in every state, including Delhi, and except Punjab, was disappointing as well as saddening. But looking at the positive side - there is no doubt that AAP can claim credit of being one of the major forces which changed the way elections are contested and the general discourse around elections. Today, I feel that maybe resigning from Delhi was a costly decision. I would still desist from saying wrong because, I think Arvind Kejriwal's brand of politics is different and it is painstakingly costly - it will test its supporters before it starts giving results. In the process, many will desert it disillusioned, many will write it off, many will jeer it. With the din of the Parliamentary elections dying down, it will be interesting to see how AAP manages to keep itself relevant in the political discourse and in people's minds. They have already expressed the intention of contesting assembly elections in Punjab & Haryana.

Last but not the least, a big thank you is due to the Election Commission and every single person who was involved in the conduct of this election. The exercise was indeed humongous and the effort unprecedented. Thank you.

The election story has finished. The real story has started. And this time, actually, not everyone is watching!

1 comment:

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