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Friday, May 15, 2009

Indian Elections 2009 – The “D”or is it the “C” day

After 4 weeks and 5 phases of Elections, a heated campaign and mud-slinging battles galore, the day of Counting of votes is finally here. It’s been a passion following Indian Politics for me ever since the 1996 election which was the first time I almost voted. I was so excited about being able to vote in a few months that I’d started reading up on the politics, different parties, different leaders and had started forming an opinion and sat through 72 hours of counting, news reports, horse-trading, parties switching sides, forming bargaining groups and the whole works. There’s already enough signs that this one’s going to be one better than the 1996 episode of the biggest soap opera of them all – “The Great Indian Election” and the whole world is watching this one (even Obama and Hillary apparently).

Does the Indian Electorate really want instability?

Let us try to analyze this from what the electorate gains from this:

  1. If a coalition government does get formed, every small party comes into demand and their particular regions can get its pound of flesh from the Center as Chandrababu Naidu so wonderfully did between 1998 and 2004. Already see signs of this with Nitish and TRS.
  2. If a government is formed and doesn’t last its full term like 1991 and 1996, they get one more round of elections which going by last estimates, ends up with parties spending up to a % or two of India’s GDP. Where is this money going to? It is the common people. A large portion of this is probably black money which is coming out into the open. But the elections is surely one of the big revenue sources for a lot of small-scale industries, small entrepreneurs and party-workers. Why wouldn’t the Indian electorate (read common man) want this?
  3. The electorate if it can give a good enough fractured mandate that there is no government that can be performed. That is probably the best time for India. There is no one out there to ruin the country’s economy and loot the country’s exchequer. What better mandate than that do you want?
  4. What else will explain so many regional parties getting formed and actually doing well? Time for a Kannada Janatha Party maybe so that we too get our pound of flesh - central funds, an NSG unit, a lot more railway lines, international airports in other second-tier cities - Mysore, Mangalore, Belgaum?

This is probably the greatest insult that the Indian people collectively are throwing on the whole polity. If they don’t get the message now, they never will. And I have a strong feeling, they probably never will until there is a mass movement - a revolution of some sorts and we are too comfy in our own lives to do anything about this.

The other end of the argument is that people are not thinking of this at the national level or at least not enough people are thinking about it at the national level. Even assuming that, this is in fact the case, who is to blame?

What are the national level issues raised everyday in the news by the main-stream media (especially those stupid anchors – led by Arnab Go’saw’me – I would if I could)? Varun Gandhi and his shouts against a community, Priyanka Gandhi’s nose and smile and whatever else resembling her grand-mothers (I was hoping someone would say it resembled mine :p). Rajnath Singh having a tiff with Arun Jaitley and his sulking for days on end like a kid who’s been denied his lollypop, Party hopping by one person or the other, breaking and forming coalitions, shouts against a caste, sucking up to a religion, calling people names and this is the only news that is reported. The day a national party released its Infrastructure Manifesto, the biggest news was Sanju Baba promising a Jadoo ki Jhappi to his sister Maya memsaab.

While one part of me tells me that the only way to protest against this “Soap Opera” style reporting by the media is by totally boycotting the main-stream media and following the results on a more fact-based avenue such as maybe the election commission’s official website, I know I just won’t be able to resist the temptation of rushing over to check out which joker has jumped onto which bandwagon. That is probably the reason the Main-stream media sticks to the soap-opera style reporting. They won’t change until we change.

Can I resist the temptation? That is the question besides of course the more important question – who’s going to form the next government.

PS: My bet is on a Naidu or Pawar or Nitish or some other dark horse propped up by either the BJP or the Congress or maybe both. That will be fun - a government that has the support of around 500 members of parliament. 

Older Posts on Indian Elections 2009:

Indian Elections 2009: My Vote and Why

Change is definitely on its way

WTF - Is this stupidity or is this arrogance?

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