Sunday, 17 May 2009

5 things the elections have taught

“Let me see how these people will go it alone this time. They will definitely need my help to survive!” thought Laloo.

“I am the king maker this time. No party can rule this nation without my support” thought Maya.

“I will take my revenge on the other party of my state by keeping them out of the next government” thought Jaya.

“With all the exercises going on to secure allies, who knows, I might end up being the prime minister once again” thought Gowda.

“The communist party is still strong and we can control the next prime minister like a puppet” thought Karat.

So there they were… the so-called leaders of the nation in the warmth of their bungalows, on the night of Friday the 15th of May 2009 hoping that the next day, as soon as the results were announced, the leaders of all the national parties would come begging for their support and that they could dictate terms for the next five years with some 10-50 seats under their control. They even had secret ambitions of leading the nation themselves. They would be the "king makers". They would be the power centers. They would be more important than the nation itself. They had every reason to feel like that with almost all the exit polls predicting a hung parliament for the country and the decisive roles these people would go on to play for the next few years. How wrong they had been!

Today, all those Paswans, the Yadavs, the Mayas, the Jayas, the Naidus, the Gowdas are alone in their homes, watching the TV with a sense of disbelief. Each one of them has been made to eat the humble pie. No one will turn to them now. Forget about dictating terms, they don’t even know if they will be presented with at least a ministerial berth if they decide to support the government. They don’t even know if they will be approached for support in the first place. They have realized that there is only one “king-maker” in this land – the common man. The Indian voter has spoken – "We don’t need a government that is run by one person and controlled by many others in the background according to their whims and fancies. We need a government that responds to what people want".

The elections of this year are really significant in the entire history of democratic India. Our country is now at such a phase where a strong leadership at the centre is absolutely essential for the dreams and aspirations of the nation to turn real. Also, the time has come to send out a strong message to the world that democracy would eventually be the best form of government for a nation as big as ours. For all this to happen, a clear and concise mandate by the Indian voter was absolutely crucial. And the voter has finally spoken… and in a manner that only an Indian voter can!

To me, the results of these elections mainly convey the following five important points:

1. Democracy Wins
Yes, no matter how skeptical you are about its advantages, democracy ultimately wins. This election was all about creating awareness among the young and upper middle-class voters by means of campaigns such as “Lead-India”, “Jaago-Re”, etc. It was about telling everyone how important it is to cast your vote and be counted in a democratic nation. Although this did not translate into an increased percentage of voters on the Election Day, it has proven to be success. More and more people from upper middle class and the younger generation have realized the power of voting. Many people could not vote this time as the campaigns to enroll their name in the voters’ list was started a little late. But I am sure; these elections have certainly created the urge in people to participate in the voting process. In the coming years, the number of people who vote will surely increase. And with the voter getting more and more intelligent, this is real good news for democracy.

2. Only development is the issue
One thing that has been decisively proved by the voter is that all the pseudo-issues do not matter. The voter votes for only that party which promises development. People just ignore the candidates who have a tarnished image. And the candidates have slowly started realizing that they cannot win an election with money alone. They need to be accountable. This is one of the greatest messages according to me. It has worked a great way in restoring the faith of the people in the institution of democracy. Also, the Election Commission being very strict about the spending of candidates has made it tough for the rogues and criminals to win. Caste, religion, money did not matter. Varun Gandhi’s hate speech did not help the party, neither did Shibhu Soren’s criminal record..

3. Performance matters
The clear message sent out by the voter this time around is “Perform or Perish”. Those leaders that enjoyed power but did nothing for the voters were rejected out rightly by the people. While those who showed improvement significantly were bestowed with more power. Veteran leaders who have shown improvement in their respective states like YSR, Sheila Dixit, Navin Patnaik, Nitish Kumar, etc were voted back to power while the ones who did not do much good to the people were defeated.

4. Nation comes first
Our country has adopted a multi-party system where anyone can form a party, win a few seats and hope to have a say in the national level. But over the years, this has been misused by selfish local leaders for short term gains. The recent example of the election commission’s worries when it had to register yet another symbol for Chiranjeevi’s new party shows how confusing and trouble-some multi party system can be. But the voter has become smart enough to distinguish between national parties and local parties. Giving the grand old party a clear mandate is a step in this direction. This means that the time is up for any local leaders who think that they can dictate the terms of the nations having a few seats with them. This means end of days for veterans like DeveGowda, etc.

5. Exit polls are an utter waste of time
This has been proved time and again. After every election, the media, especially the television channels, conduct too many exit polls and keep screaming at the top of their voices that their exit poll results are the most accurate. They even start discussing the post poll alliance that the parties should look for and the potential future prime ministers even before the results are actually announced. This election has clearly proved the futility of such polls and it is high time that these are banned. If the exit polls were really such accurate, why did we need to conduct an election in the first place?

These are exciting days for the nation. We have a new set of leaders at the centre and a party with clear mandate. There will be no pressure on the party from its allies like last few years and it is free to act on its own. But the leaders also know that they cannot take this mandate lightly and become complacent. They have to take up progressive measures for the all-round development of the nation. How these people eventually fare will be known to us only in the days to come. But for now, there is only one king – the Singh. Let us all wish him all the best and hope to see our nation progress in the coming days. Jai Hind!


Anonymous said...

Excellent article!!!
Really love your style of writing.

As you said, this is a landmark win for UPA in the history of Indian politics. Hope the future government will perform to the best of its abilities.

Gurudev said...

Good one Shashi. All those politicians who had thought politics to be a fulltime wealth making business have lost it this time :)

Shashia said...

Thanks a lot for your comments. Hope we will see more "united" and "progressive" days ahead.

Thanks a lot for visiting the page!
Could not agree with you more, sir.

Saravanan said...

I don't agree with your point 2. In my constituency certain party won just because the candidate was of a particular community. I am sure that the party that won also had similar intentions.

But I am happy that we are having a stable government. Good for the nation. :)

Hope the coming years give us the hope that we need to sail through this recession.

Shashia said...


Ok, I agree with you on that. But before reaching consensus, let me clarify what I meant when I made that point:
In the long term, development will be the only issue and not the others. Varun Gandhi might have won this elections based on his controversy, but that has not helped his party much. Similarly, Shibhu Soren being the criminal that he is, has won his seat but failed to win elsewhere, leaving him powerless.
I agree with you when you say parties still field candidates based on caste, community calculations. Even though this has not changed drastically this time, the trend is slowly changing. Ours is a large nation and still developing and hence, we cannot hope for sudden changes. It will slowly happen.

Going by your argument, even my point one is flawed because the total percentage of people who voted this time was actually less compared to 2004. But even here, I would like to see the positive side of things and hope the changes will gradually happen :)

Karthik Kashyap said...

nice post... the facts are very true

rajivmaskara said...

Very well said. Your observations read out very truly and should hit out at the politicians not making these observations. Now that the Congress enjoys a decisive mandate, it would be interesting to see how it chooses to handle the next five years. More so, because it does not have a LEFT to exonerate itself. So it will be "perform or perish" for them too next time around in May, 2014.

Shashia said...

Thanks man

Correct man! they have won confidence of people to perform in the coming years. Only time will tell whether they live up to it