The year 2014 changed many things about the Indian colloquial dialogue. Politics has become the subject of prime interest since the beginning of last year. Everybody talks about politics. One of the key KPI of the current government seems appears to keep the PM trending on twitter 24 hours.
Everybody is talking about politics and I, find myself talking about it much more often than I used to. Narendra Modi’s elevation to the national scene changed the course of Indian politics. Here was a man, whose claim to fame was development and polarization in the state of Gujarat. Gujaratis seemed to love him for both.
Many people, going by the results of the Lok Sabha elections chose to overlook his ‘lack of sufficient action,’ to say the least, in the genocide of the Muslim community in 2002. Development became the core agenda of BJP, led by their Prime Ministerial candidate.
BJP also changed. The old guard at the helm made way for the aggressive Modi. He made BJP the party which, perceptively, focused on development. Perception, after all, is reality. He succeeded in capturing the imagination of the nation and offered hope.
Congress, on the other hand, had nothing to offer. Rahul Gandhi, who led the party’s campaign, seemed forced and reluctant for the task at hand. He still does. His public appearances were few in contrast to those of Modi and the ones he made, failed to inspire anymore. He appeared once on prime time and people laughed at that interview. The congress party had no inspiring leaders, unlike BJP, which had Modi.
2014 was the year when India desperately sought a leader. The nation sought a leader who could fire up the nation’s imagination and lead it into the future, at a time when Congress only had scams to offer. They also had the silence of the then Prime Minister who didn’t speak up and became famous for saying nothing, most of the times.
AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal tried to fight a much stronger and powerful party, whose cadres were on fire. He overestimated himself and AAP’s chances at the Lok Sabha elections. More importantly, his resignation from the post of Delhi’s Chief Minister became his Achilles’ heel, which did not leave him, wherever he went asking for votes. It still haunts him as he seeks another term as the Chief Minister.
Kejriwal is not a bad guy. It was his inexperience and lack of political judgment, which made him, quit the post within 49 days. He made a mistake and he has admitted to it. He had to admit it, especially after the results of the Lok Sabha elections.
Circa 2015, not much has changed. Congress has almost gone into a shell since their worst performance in the history of the party. AAP is trying to revive itself. BJP swept the Lok Sabha elections followed by many state assembly elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and other states. Unfortunately, as expected, the so called fringe elements have started the same old rhetoric about India being a Hindu Rashtra.
Thankfully, due to the pressure from the civil society, the ghar vapsi and conversion programs have slowed down. I would not be very confident that the fringe elements won’t resuscitate these issues again in the coming future. These events have cast aspersions on the development agenda of the Prime Minister.
I am not a believer in rhetoric. I was fairly skeptical about BJP being totally able to focus on development since their history is replete with communal strife with the Muslim community. The silence of the Prime Minster, when such incidents happen, makes one doubt his commitment to the social fabric of the country.
We are fortunate to be democratic nation. However, the quality of the chosen representatives depends on what the electorate demands from them. As people of the country, it is our duty to protest and shout, in whatever way we can when our elected representatives move in a direction which challenges what we ought to be proud of- a country where people from any religion, caste, belief live happily, work hard and grow together.
If we don’t demand high standards from our leaders, I don’t know who will. I hope I am proven wrong and our current Prime Minister proves himself as one of the greatest leaders this country has had.
I want development too but not at the cost of religious polarization.
As a footnote, Delhi elections are hither. I don’t even have a vote, since I live in Haryana, which is okay. However, in my heart of hearts, I wish Kejriwal wins. Congress doesn’t seem to stand any chance. Kejriwal is a fighter, as he has shown. He has apologized for his mistake and I am sure he is yearning desperately for redemption.
However, we live in Modi’s India. Anybody who says anything in favor of a party which is not BJP is frowned upon. So, I am not sure if Kejriwal will get his chance at redemption. As far as congress is concerned, well, they need Lord Krishna to reincarnate to save them.
We live, in interesting times.