Expect things to heat up as voters cool

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Expect things to heat up as voters cool

    What is common between the Assembly elections of Tripura, Meghalaya , Nagaland, Assam, Bihar, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Punjab , UP, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and the general mêlée which enabled the UPA to settle in for another five years in 2009?

    Not the politicians. They could hardly be more different. The lifetime savings of Manik Sarkar, Tripura's Marxist leader, who has just won a fourth term, amount to a few thousand rupees, a small fraction of what most of his fellow CMs spend on themselves each day. Nor does ideology determine victory: the spectrum of success extends from red to blue to saffron to purple to confusion. The last is probably the most accurate description of any party's convictions.

    Shift from politician to voter, and you get a pattern. Despite the multiple identities of an Indian electorate, voters are no longer disparate. They now vote decisively. Whoever wins, does so by a comfortable distance.

    This is not as obvious in prospect as it might seem in retrospect. Pundits get paid a pittance compared to pollsters , but neither predicted Mulayam Singh Yadav's huge victory last year. The Congress, trusting statistics instead of human beings, gambled away Rahul Gandhi's reputation by placing its bets on a hung assembly in which Congress would get 80 or 90 UP seats. This year, bookies in Gujarat, who are normally more accurate than the pundit-pollster clan, lost money as well as face when they estimated Modi would win only between 90 and 95 seats. If the bookies had been right, Modi would have been teetering on a precipice rather than staring at Delhi from an easy chair. In Punjab, the Congress, encouraged by the media, was busy completing a Cabinet until the ballot machines chattered out a massive win for the Akali Dal. No one foresaw the Tarun Gogoi avalanche in Assam. In Bengal, the Marxists were prepared for a dent here and there, but not for the hammering they got. Ironically, the only exception to this emerging rule came in Kerala, where the Marxists were expected to sink but remained afloat.

    This is bad news for victors. The blood of the Indian voter is turning cold. Warm blood generates emotion; emotion fuels confusion. Cold blood encourages clarity at all stages of the electoral process: voting , government and then accountability.

    In 1967, when voters first turned against the establishment and defeated the Congress in assembly elections from Punjab to Bengal, public anger was intense but unfocused. Passion dissipated amid a welter of dysfunctional 'United Fronts' and the voter went back, a trifle sheepishly, within five years to Congress. Now, paradoxically , a less partisan mood delivers more partisan results. Clarity has come even to that most fractious of states, Meghalaya. Congress' victory might not seem impressive; it got only 29 out of 60 seats. But by Meghalaya's standards this is historic. For the first time in over four decades the state will see a single party last a full term.

    Parties no longer command loyalty; governance does. A comfortable majority eliminates any alibi for nonperformance . The electorate has become mature enough to realise that good governance begins at home. But after fulfilling his part of the deal, the voter expects government to honour this trust, not abuse it. Accountability rises in direct proportion to the legislative majority. Disappointment can have a drastic fallout.

    In Bihar, Nitish Kumar should note the growing crowds at Laloo Yadav's rallies. In Bengal, Mamata Banerjee can comfort herself with excuses, some of them valid. But the story there is the possible return of the Left. The Congress suffered most in this week's by-elections , losing two sitting MLAs in its bastion. The sharpest swing came in Nalhati, a constituency which Pranab Mukherjee, now President, won by 15,000 votes in 2009. Four years later, the Left has taken it by over 7,000 votes, which means a swing of 22,000.

    We do not know if Congress will risk a general election this year; but there certainly will be a string of assembly polls. Most, if not all, states will fall into pattern. The emergence of single-party dominance in the states will continue to change the internal balance of alliances at the Centre, reducing marginal forces. An important difference between UPA I and UPA II is that Congress does not have the Left to kick around anymore. Whenever economic reform was discussed during UPA I, Congress leaders would roll their eyes like Othello and point wearily at Iago the Marxist. The audience threw Iago out of the drama in 2009. Result? Othello has no one now except himself to blame for his misfortunes.

    The mood is anti-Congress now, but no election is won until the last vote is counted. Only one thing is clear. Whoever wins, will win big.

    Expect things to heat up as voters cool by The Siege Within : MJ Akbar's blog-The Times Of India

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    MJ Akbar is right when he writes - This is bad news for victors. The blood of the Indian voter is turning cold. Warm blood generates emotion; emotion fuels confusion. Cold blood encourages clarity at all stages of the electoral process: voting , government and then accountability.

    The 2014 elections will be up for the grabs and none will be wiser over the outcome.

    However, what is crystal clear is that the once impregnable Congress is sitting on a sinkhole.

    It seems to riding into the sunset like Lone Stranger and Ponto.

    HI yo UPA away!

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    These progressive trends are certainly a new phenomenon, and a very desirable one at that. But it remains to be seen how much will the people let go of their sentimental attachments, be it the caste, religion or even the state. We hope, and pray, that these trends play out in the national elections.

    It would be pertinent to know the reson behind this massive shift, that is infecting people, state after state, transgressing boundaries of thought until now was taboo. What my understanding of this is that the same fundamental change in the mindset of the people is occuring here as that occured in Europe towards the late industrial revolution. It was a simple change psychologically, moving from collective sentiment based assesment to an individual based economic and security assesment. This is what we may be seeing here.

    As long as collective priorities laid the basis for dcision making, the people would display a herd psychology, voting for the one that was connected to them, the one who had a sentimental link, be it religion, caste or creed. Governance was a secondary priority. It was important, but not as much as having someone amongst us in power. This is particularly true in the rural and sub-Urban areas. However, as the financial conditions in certain regions improved, aspirations began to grow, both in those relatively developed areas, as well as the surrounding aread. Those in the developed regions began to raise the bar on their demands from those in power, while the ones deprived of development, began to demand similar facilities.

    In this respect, the competition and desire for a better life broke down the traditional consensus, and better leadership and governance became the primary motivation of people.Thereby changing the criteria for voting. Performance became the most important. This can be seen in BJP ruled states very clearly, where initial development of certain sectors caused a surge in election of better performing elected representatives, throughout the state. Everybody wanted a piece of the pie.

    I am not saying that people forgot those initial sentiments, or that society fell apart, but only that the demands on the politicians changed. Those who understood the change, changed their playing cards, whilst the rest got crushed. In any case it is a given that independently thinking people would choose their own good over other sentiments.

    I hope some of the seniors can tell me if my understanding is correct. @Ray, @Yosuf.
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    As I see it, every section of Indian society is finding it difficult to make ends meet.

    Each segment has its own aspirations that they cannot meet.

    And even the illiterate are watching the TV and the debates and learning of the scams and how the political honchos running the Govt are looting the nation. Pictures say a thousand words.

    It has added to the disgust and has opened the eyes.

    Politics and governance will never be the old ways of hoodwinking rhetoric!

    Govts will have to deliver and be less with their gas!
     
    parijataka likes this.
  5. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    If thesis iin OP is correct, then UPA is OUT. Does not mean BJP is automatically in. But it has and edge. Gujarat, MP and C'garh have a good governance. In U'khand it lost by one seat. In HP power changes every 5 years. Other so called third front is zero in governance. Hence lead of BJP.
     
    Raj30 likes this.

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