As Narendra Modi stomps around the country drawing large crowds to his rallies where he assaults ‘the first family’ of the Congress and all else in his way, his opponents remain tongue-tied. There is a great deal of abuse that is being hurled about by contestants from the rostrums in urban and semi-urban India that gets reported on our televisions screens. This reinforces the truth that our politics is, at best, superficial, unpleasant and flippant. Our leaders are like twins, in a manner of speaking, acting and talking like one another. As the scandals of one lot die down, similar scandals of another lot get revealed in the public domain.
No survey has asked what the people think of their politicians in the context of such scandals. Do scandals such as the recent snooping allegation against Amit Shah, when he was Gujarat’s home minister, have a negative impact on all those who have been hailing Modi as the messiah who will bring order and development into the lives of Indians? If such revelations do have an impact on the voting patterns of the electorate, the drooping fortunes of the Congress could be revived, albeit for the wrong reasons. Likewise, will Anna Hazare, by staying away from Arvind Kejriwal, turn a percentage of potential voters against the Aam Aadmi Party?
Following the sad and inexplicable performance of Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Delhi recently, the ordinary people in Delhi reacted in a manner that signalled a clear advantage for the Bharatiya Janata Party. The suggestion that Rahul Gandhi’s speech had a negative impact on the Congress’s fortunes in Delhi is being dismissed as nonsense by genuflecting Congressmen and women who continue to remain in supreme denial. No one wants to hear the unsavoury news that could help rectify the slide. That is one of the problems besieging the Congress. Such self-appointed advisers are damaging the image of the party not only in Delhi but also across the rest of India.
The BJP, too, is fighting internal dissension. It often reacts in a clumsy manner to the many damaging pulls and pressures being carefully orchestrated by senior leaders, who feel snubbed and ignored. Both the national parties are in juvenile mode, with delinquent members pulling the strings from behind protective veils, saying one thing out loud and doing another.
Immature, repetitive and limited in content, to say the least, the high-pitched and simplistic rhetoric of political players cutting across party lines is frightening for the future of this young, democratic nation state that is hoping to break out of the unholy mess to become a world player and compete with its neighbour, China, both politically and economically.
In Rajasthan, it is clear that Vasundhara Raje is in the lead but there are members of the BJP who claim the fight with the Congress will be tough. The Congress, too, is assuming that the freebies it delivered over the last year in anticipation of the polls will bring it the seats required for a clear majority. Chances are Raje will lead the BJP to a figure of 120 seats out of the 200 that are being contested. Raje has never been an anathema to the Muslim population in Rajasthan. She has always been seen as a secular, modern, inclusive and determined leader. Will the impact created by Modi help her? Or will it keep Muslims away from the BJP? Had the Congress sent Jyotiraditya Scindia to Madhya Pradesh one year ago, he may well have tilted the balance and brought the state back into the party’s fold. Why is the Congress inept and suicidal? Or does its strategy live in the hope that its opponents will falter and help it retain power at the Centre?