The day before the vote were counted, I was travelling through the city. The candidates who were made to look handsome and beautiful before the elections had started to fade and were peeling off the walls. We are having these exercise every 2-3 years at different levels and we have been spending a fortune everytime. What a paradox
In the evening I was out with my old buddy. We got into a hotel which seduced us with the 'Borotta and Beef fry' board. As we got in, he said we might never know if we will get to eat these from tomorrow.
The night when results were declared : Tonight I am not sure of what to feel. The vast millions have written their destiny for the next couple of decades.The mandate was so unanimous that it seemed that opponents were washed off in a tsunami
Personally I went through a roller coaster ride. On one hand I am happy that there was a regime change. On the other hand we are not very sure of what's coming up. But, without any doubt, we might have writen our destiny for the next two decades
At this juncture, the wisest thing is to have an emotionally detached viewpoint on the whole exercise- the trends and results
1. Social media impact
In this election, for the first time, social networks were used extensively. I woul say the trends are not very good . The reason being, negativity can be spread so easily and with such a vast and direct coverage, impact is the maximum
Added to that traditional news media also have started to adopt the maximum impactt journalism. To my surprise even the conservative media houses preferred the same
As a result we had terms like- weak ruler, terrorism, insurgency, threat, foreigner, Madam, minority appeasment dominating the mindspace. I am positive there was no serious discussion on the real failure of the incumbent government.
Besides the opponents didn't commit anything other than 'good days', 'strong leader' , 'revenge ' and 'temple'.
2. The idea of corruption
I don't think ever before we had such a serious discussion on corruption. The figures grew obsinately high. There were allegations and counter allegations.. Rather than the idea of corruption, the feeling of a foreigner family taking off with our wealth must have hit the right chords in the electoral minds.
The high level of inequities would've positively started an anti incumbency feeling. But was there a discussion on the inequity ? I wouldn't think so
3. Religion and Nationalism
Is India a Hindu state? We may have to answer the question in near future. BJP , traditionally party for the upper caste , stood silent as the lower castes started identifying themseleves as 'Hindus'.
Not so long ago, the same population was thown off into the fringes. Now realizing the importance of numbers, they were lovingly brought into the wider 'Hindu family' .
The feeling of religion and nationalism has dangerously mingled with each other. There is a popular school of thought which says everything not-Hindu is not-Indian. There was a very visible religious polarization even among the educated Indian.
The country has been compared to a Hindu Goddess who should be worshipped. Why the need for this blatant and visible show of patriotism. To me the country is a collection of people and nothing more.
Even more disturbing is the fact that hate merchants were deployed to propagate the message. These people were officially detached from the mainstream party, but they brought in votes and the votes came in huge numbers. Over the national level Dr Samy, who has done extensive survey on 'Gandhi' family is one. Years ago when he started spewing venom, he attracted huge negativism. But down the years he has converted that negative energy into a considerable fan base.
4. Third alternative
India lost any chance for a third front. None of the leaders had a pan India image and everyone wanted to be the prime minister
One such party , SP, literally played into the BJP trap with a poorly mismanaged communal riot. This fetched BJP some 80 seats and more
The left has been completely decimated. In kerala, they failed to present a strong candidate for the race.
Like it or not, Kejriwal seems to be the only option for a third alternative. He is known over the country and his only weak point is the tendency to self destruct.