Election Verdict 2014

Let’s move forward हम आगे बड़ेंगे നാം മുന്നോട്ട്

Our nation has undergone a political change. Of course, people’s right to elect representatives and form government of their choice illustrates the strength of Indian democracy. At this juncture, all those who won and lost power alike, must be humble enough to respect people’s verdict. The real power vests with the people and they have only delegated the same for a period of five years to the new parliament and government.

Who won? Who lost?

The scale of victory of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by BJP in these elections was beyond even their own calculations and expectations. No doubt, RSS and its ideology gained from these elections. Then, who are the losers? The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that betrayed the people continuously during last ten years lost power. UPA government was neither united for the people nor progressive to the core. The already weak left parties which were moving right, away from people, were honoured with bitter defeat. The regional parties that always claims the legacy of down trodden and backward classes’ resurgence were found rejected by their traditional vote banks. Not only that the secular forces got defeated. It is also a blow to the secular ethos of the nation. The Muslim community, the largest religious minority, also tasted their share of defeat in the sense that the winning forces were so far hostile to their civil and democratic rights. India witnessed a Hindu communal consolidation and disintegration of secular as आल्सोwell as minority sections.

Why won? Why lost?

During campaigns, the development mantra was only a mask for BJP to cover up their communal agenda. It was an election fought by using the money pumped by corporates with the open support of dominant media which is also controlled by corporates. But beyond that, the victory of BJP was the result of meticulous planning, committed field work, flexible strategies and effective campaigning. They were opportunist enough to play contradicting cards to suit different target groups. On the opposite side, the voters saw the opposite. The Congress, left parties and regional parties together was a desperate and divided camp. They lacked vision, wisdom and even common sense; not to mention about flexibility in strategies and effectiveness of campaigning. In constituencies where Muslim, Dalit and Backward Caste votes are decisive, each of these parties fielded candidates face to face, without giving their vote bank a chance to exercise their choice unitedly. Under these circumstances only the inevitable has happened.

Expectations and Apprehensions

The democracy is rightly defined as government of the people, by the people and for the people. Any political party or alliance, once vote to power, has to deliver good and responsible governance, by upholding constitutional guarantees such as justice to all citizens and classes, personal and collective freedom, equality of opportunities and fraternity and integrity among people. The new government has to come out of the pay back compulsions to the corporates and address the live issues of the masses like hunger, fear, illiteracy, ill health, indecent living conditions etc. The government also has to remove the apprehensions of the minorities that they would be discriminated and their cultural and educational rights would be curtailed. The atmosphere being developed under the new government indicates that the apprehensions are not without ground. The government decision to bring two key sectors, defence and media, fully under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is indicative of its intended compromise even in spheres of national security and public opinion. The ongoing loose talks about core communal issues such as uniform civil code, Article 370 and Ram temple construction from different Sangh Parivar corners go unchecked. The minister for minority affairs has questioned the very constitutional concept of religious minority. Moreover, the new political dispensation has found to have emboldened Hindutva elements to create communal incidents in different parts of the country. However, the Presidential address on behalf of the Government delivered to the joint sitting of the parliament has rightly admitted that ‘ it is unfortunate that even after several decades of independence, sections of minority community continues to suffer from poverty, and benefits of government schemes don not reach them’. The emerging situation is a real test to the new government of its promise of ‘making all minorities equal partners in India’s progress’.

Seat share Vs. Vote share

Though it is not a new phenomenon, the recent election has brought to light a basic drawback of Indian electoral system. The seats a particular party or alliance gains is not proportional to the percentage of votes cast in their favour. In these elections, BJP secured 282 out of 543 parliament seats, while its vote share percentage is only 31. It is eligible for having only 168 seats in proportion to its vote share. The case of BSP which got 4.1 percentage votes with 0 seats is another example of this drawback. It is eligible to have 22 seats according to the votes won. The BJP along with its allied parties have got the support of only 38% voters which means that 62% have voted against the present government. In fact the Modi-led government has the distinction of winning lowest ever votes secured by a Union government. This is a warning for the winners to go more humble and promise for the losers for a comeback. But the ultimate solution to this imbalance is a thorough revamp of our electoral system on the basis of proportional representation.

United we stand; Divided we fall

The election results and the emerging situation must prompt all secular parties and minorities to engage in an honest introspection. In a sense, it is a defeat they deserved due to neglect of responsibilities. There is no harm in taking lessons from those who defeated them. There is an urgent need for change in the perceptions and priorities of leaders of secular parties and minority organisations. Their immediate task is to regain and strengthen political base with a work plan to fight future elections. They must remain in the forefront of people in fighting injustices. They have to discard small differences, petty egos and unwanted competitions among them. If the most recent experience is the best teacher, the lesson is that ‘united we stand; divided we fall’.

Turn challenges into opportunities

Those qualities such as self esteem and self confidence are the foundations for a life with dignity. There is no reason for getting depressed fearing of an oppressed future. It is not for the first time people with explicit Hindutva agenda are holding reins of power in India. Also the tribals, minorities and Dalits were not allowed a secured life under the so called secular governments of previous years. It is high time for the down trodden sections to set vision, map mission, and dedicate life for a bright future. India seeks equal growth of all its citizens and classes. Let’s look back at past 66 years only to take lessons. Let’s look ahead at next 33 years with a new vision and mission. Any noble task is not without difficulties and challenges. And there is no substitute for sacrifice in the path of empowerment and emancipation. 

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; but an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty…..

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to open your eyes to see it…..

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