Saturday, May 16, 2009


Left nahi, right nahi, chalo centre hi sahi. It's almost out now, and it does seem like an increasing number of voters have decided to grin and bear it, and settled upon the Grand Old Party as the least of all the evils that compose our political system. But since anyone and everyone is a psephologist nowadays (who, like the humble journalist who also happens to be the head of one of the major news networks, distance themselves from their predictions the minute they start getting things wrong), I'm going to do some post-poll analysis of my own.

A couple of my classmates claimed to have gone for the bow and arrow - one, because he claims that those are the guys who actually show up at non-poll times, and two, because he preferred Advani over Manmohan. This second guy's naive chain of thought catches my fancy - as much as it is known that this is India and not the US, where it's a straight fight between the Democrat and the Republican, that's what the thought process seems to have been behind a significant number of voters. So even though it is but obvious that the chances of a two-party system being implemented are slimmer than the success of philo-anarchy, many voters went into the polls knowing that there were only 2 real contenders for the top job.

Moving on, if one notices the number of votes in each of the seats where MNS contested from, in particular the Mumbai-Thane region, one thing is clear: Congress n Co. were on their way out, but for Raj. Clearly, some flowers are due here. I'm yet to look at the detailed voting figures for states like UP where the mandate is greatly fractured, but from the looks of things, splitting of votes has played into the hands of the Congress. The pessimistic way of looking at the Bombay figures is that the local majority is easily swayed and has complete faith in the regionalistically divisive forces. The optimistic way is that the people voted for the alliance (i.e BJP), and by analogy, a victory for candidates from the UPA meant a vote against the divisive forces - of course, there are certain pockets among the business people for whom saffron is a friendlier colour, but though they managed to pull it off in Gujarat, the infamous Mumbai South was a different story altogether.

Then again, the much-publicized youth vote, however insignificant a percentage it might have formed (more later), seems to have gone to Rahul Gandhi and his peers - other than the 'crown prince', Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Naveen Jindal, Milind Deora, etc. all contributed to the image of Sonia & Manmohan's party as a youthful one, which had the young vote unless one was particularly attached to the opposite camp. One more name springs to mind - Omar Abdullah, who again is currently a friend of the party of the aforementioned. Little wonder, then, that the sub-35 votes were consolidated.

Of course, social equations were, are and will always be in place unless something drastic happens, but they were majorly re-written. So the rat-eaters and the other really low castes of Bihar voted for Nitish and against the Lalu-Paswan combine; the middle class mostly Punjabi Delhiite continued to repose their comparatively recently found faith in Congress; UP was spoilt for choice but the Muslim vote did not entirely go to Mulayam, while Mayawati seems to have lost the Brahmin votes she toiled so hard to get; Orissa went with Naveen's BJD; as is always the case, no one gives a damn about the few seats in the North-East and the UTs, but broadly it can be said that the regional parties shared the spoils with, yes, the Congress.

And finally, the Left. The continuous upgradation of ideology has finally got voters in 2 of their 3 states (Tripura being a north-easterly is a national non-entity) to wake up and smell the coffee - in the name of welfare, the states, one with the highest literacy rate and the other which is home to some of the most famous intellectuals over the ages, have been fooled over and over again. Especially West Bengal, whose Left leaders are from amongst those very intellectuals but who were a tad smarter than the rest and who in the name of social welfare and upliftment of the downtrodden were able to maneuvre the naive idealists and the sufferers. Only now, the traditional stances of the Left and its main opposition have switched - and while the socially backward continue to stand by those who seem closest, the urban populace seems to have fallen for the change rhetoric. As for Kerala, the less said about it, the better it is (if you want to know, major internal bickering and fatally wrong tie-ups).

So there you have it. The big businesses believe that the Manmohan-Chidambaram combine is as good if not better than the industry-friendly BJP; the youth loves its ilk namely Rahul & Co. These and the splitting of caste, regional and poor people's votes have all meant that Congress alone hovers around the double century mark. The good thing about it is that one-party can take charge and actually take decisions; the bad thing is that it that very party which has had that opportunity oh so many times and failed to capitalise. It doesn't take much to be a political analyst, does it? Or did I miss something major here?

PS: I missed out on a couple of things. Good governance over anti-incumbency? NREGA, loan waivers and pay commissions notwithstanding, I don't think so (the why of it later). And among past governments, neither has been particularly effective in combating terrorism. Also, both the large parties have major stains on their peace-loving credentials and clean sheets, except that our present single largest party hasn't majorly goofed up ever since the anti-Sikh riots and Bofors of the 80s, where the opposition-cum-opposition-to-be's recent track record springs to memory. The only counts on which the former has failed in the past 20 years are Babri Masjid and numerous terrorist strikes, which hardly matters since the latter didn't get Mumbai, in spite of all the hoopla, to care anyway.

1 comment:

  1. going by the nicely written piece, i get an inkling that we think on the same lines, more or less..

    You know, till recently, I was not so keen for Congress, the party didnt seem just right.. and then, while BJP seemed promising only based on the devlp agenda (which having seen Guj at close quarters, I believe is not such a tall claim) I was totally put off by the hardline stance...

    The thumping mandate has made things quite clear and put an end to confusion. I would like to believe that Indians as a whole have given a verdict against being hardline (either right or left as you have pointed out) Now, i hope the Centre works to meet the expectations..

    i would like your comments on two posts (And I am thrilled, The Good Governance) on my blog. can you oblige? :)