– V.N. Balakrishna | October 28, 2013
Ahmedabad | Democracy is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ and politics is bound to revolve on issues that concern lives of the people and poverty eradication is chief among them. Instead Indian voters see the unholy spectacle of political contenders running their opponents down without giving a thought to substantive issues affecting their daily lives.
Over the years Indian democracy has morphed into “Off the People, Far (from) the People, Buy the People.” It has indeed turned into a marketplace where highest bidder gets the MLA or MP seat and all that counts is to convince voters that his opponents are worse than him in the strange belief that it helps to get him a second chance at the hustings.
At a time when BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is emerging as the best possible alternative to ruling Congress at the Centre it comes as no surprise that Rahul Gandhi should knee-jerk into targeting BJP for “promoting communalism for votes” instead of analyzing what went wrong with the Congress standing at the crossroads of political uncertainty. The decade long Congress rule, despite spending trillions on “welfare measures,” seems to have barely made an impact on common man groaning under incessant price rise and severe economic stress.
The Gandhi scion Bachchanesque acts like an angry young man and his statement that some Muslim youth in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar are being lured into ISI trap sounded more like running BJP down as masterminds of the riots.
Muzaffarnagar riots probe, as often happens in states like Uttar Pradesh, seems to have hit a dead-end insofar as bringing the real culprits to book. An eve-teasing incident was allowed to flare up leading to Jats and Muslims, who once lived peacefully, go for each others’ throat.
It is all well for the angry young Congress scion to roll up his kurta sleeves in political rallies and tear up rival party’s manifesto to pieces or aggressively pursue his agenda within the Establishment as he did on the Ordinance relating to convicted politicians. But theatrics alone does not suffice to touch the people’s hearts. He needs to go back to the drawing board and re-examine the classic case of Gujarati disenchantment growing proportionately to rising anti-Modi propaganda. In Gujarat lies solution to Congress revival as a Gujarati, irrespective of his caste, creed or religion, wants peace and prosperity over the bogey of communalism. Rahul could also learn to add a bit of economics to his political bravado. The ‘Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility’ is too strong to make someone consume more of a product or an idea after a certain limit without experiencing decline in marginal utility.
Modi’s Patna rally on Saturday showed how India of his differs from Congress worldview. His call to both Hindus and Muslims to fight the scourge of poverty jointly instead of fighting among themselves struck the right chord. Congress needs to redraw its strategy if it wishes to turn India into a vibrant democracy as the real evil is ubiquitous poverty. Eyeing chimera of Muslim votes to win elections can no longer fetch electoral dividends. Times truly have changed.