The signs of change was always there. But every one looked in the wrong direction.
The Indian electorate was waking up from a long and deep slumber. People were getting more restless and impatient. Everyone ignored this "people resurgence" in 2004. But After the 2009 elections every one will have to take notice.
Caste, Religion and Regionality were hugely influencing the electorate in India. People were always taken for granted. Fake and unconstitutional promises were always made and forgotten. Secularism was seen as a tool to get votes rather than as a fundamental tenet of Indian democracy. Spreading hatred and inciting fear were key elements to gathering votes.
It was all true till the 2009 General elections.
I have been watching election coverage’s since the 1996 general elections. And my mood after every election has always been that of despair; People discussing about horse trading and corruption within the Indian political establishment; Criminals winning by huge margins; Open and shameless negotiations by parties which held as low as 3 Lok Sabha seats and Unworthy people grabbing top jobs in the parliament.
But this time my mood was positive and upbeat.
In fact when Kalyan Singh swore in 95 members of his coalition as ministers in the UP government, it was seen as a necessary evil for stability in UP. Not long ago in the 2007 Assembly elections both the SP and BSP boasted of along list of convicted criminals who contested elections under their banner and won.
But, it all changes in 2009. Most of the criminals were either denied contesting elections by the supreme court or lost them. Mayawati’s Caste politics took a huge beating. The Shiv Senas communal agendas got a thumps down and MNS’s rationalistic politics hardly got them a single seat. Even the Tamil Ultra nationalist Leader Vaiko, failed in the elections miserably.
All of them had failed to interpret the signs of change.
There was but only one mantra to win these elections; “Development”. The BJP’s manifesto did contain a lot of positives, but was highlighted very poorly by the Party leadership. The only message which was delivered to the common man was, “We will build a Ram Temple”, “We will not allow the setu samudram project to take off”. On the other hand the Congress manifesto highlighted the schemes such as NREGS which they implemented during their rule and promised economic reforms after the elections. This time, Probably the BJP lost the elections even before the votes were cast.
Of course Narendra Modi won more seats than the 2004elections. But the BJP will be totally wrong if they attribute this to the hard line Hindutva policy he follows. He won solely on a development platform. Even the muslims were keen on seeing him in Gujrat. The BJP got more seats in Bihar, where Nitish Kumar was the face of the party, and he spoke only of Infrastructure Development, elimination of criminals from his state and a more responsible and transparent government. Yes !!! Varun Gandhi won in Philibit , But that was based on his mothers reputation. The price for supporting Varun Gandhi was paid for by the BJP at the state level. The BJP did win the kandhamal seat, but lost face and partners in Orissa and were demolished. The Left paid the price for not supporting the Nuclear deal and for all the atrocities they committed on the people of Bengal.
In the coming elections, every party will have to keep development high in their agenda. They will have to put religion and region on the back burner. Even the Congress will have to stop harping about “Secularism”. Their strategy as far as projecting a secular image to gain votes failed miserably in Gujarat, Orissa and Bihar. They will have to focus on delivering their promises to the people of India now that they are in the center. If they tread on the path of minority appeasement and Vote bank politics the will meet the fate of the BJP in the next elections.
Today as the counting winded up and the process of government formation started, I wonder; Where do we go from here. Will the VHP start a new campaign in Mathura or Kasi for creating a situation similar to Ayodhya? Will the congress attribute their success to Vote bank politics and intensify their efforts in that direction. As Always, I can think of only one thing. “Time will tell”.