Personally, I have been disappointed with the election results of 2009 since the party which I had been rooting for lost by a huge margin. But knowing that elections are only a part of the process and not the process by themselves, it’s time to move on and reflect on what next do we expect from the people who participated in the process.
Lets look at the good things that this verdict has brought:
- We have a stable government at the center. The absence of a “khichdi” government, where the coalition partners can hold the major party at ransom when it comes to discussing specific policies is great for the country. A stable government is definitely good when it comes to delivering the goods.
- The left parties, which did play the part of a road-block in the previous five years have been voted out. That saves us the time of beating around the bush.
So, what does this verdict mean for the new government:
- People of the nation have shown their faith in continuity and a stable government, which means the people at power better deliver. Dr. Singh might have succeeded in emerging out as the “stronger” persons of the two projected PMs, but now it’s the time for him to display that strength.
- In the absence of the Left in the coalition, the UPA has fewer excuses this time not to deliver on the promises made to the common-man.
- Populist schemes like NREGA might have helped you win the election. But in the view of the current economic conditions, it’s time to move to more productive use of national resources than just providing an employment “guarentee” to the rural people by paying them to do tasks which generate little value to the society.
- The state of Affairs that the UPA Coalition inherited from NDA in 2004 was far far better compared to the state of affairs that the UPA coalition of today has inherited from its previous instance. Whether it is economy, security, education or infrastructure, foreign affairs, there’s a lot of work to be done. The government cannot afford to falter in any one of these if they want to see India play a crucial part in the global power-game.
As for BJP and it’s allies who will grace the opposition, they do have their share of work to do as well:
- BJP needs to understand that there is nothing wrong with Hindutva as a philosophy. But they must understand that the word “Hindutva” has gotten negative connotations over these past few years. BJP could do well to correct this misconception and propogate it’s original meaning which was “Integral humanism”. To do this, mere propaganda won’t suffice. It has to be complimented with actions which derive inspiration from the philosophy. And these actions have to come from the grassroots and not merely at a national level. And please, rhetoric of the kind which the likes of Varun Gandhi like to indulge in, certainly won’t help.
- BJP must show that it takes it’s slogan of “Nation First, Party Next, Individual Last” seriously. They could start with electing the leader of opposition in a transparent manner. That’ll go a long way in bringing credibility in the minds of the people. Else the line between dynastic politics and backroom consensus appears to be quite thin.
- As a senior member in the opposition, BJP should show maturity in the manner in which it conducts itself in the parliament. It need not waste time in scoring political goals, when it could help come up with a workable alternative. If some proposal is in the interest of the nation, it should not matter who proposed it, as long as the member of the parliament work towards getting it implemented. Help out first, and you can blow your trumpet later.
- It needs to understand that no matter how dumb and sycophantic our mainstream media is, it’s here to stay. And like it or not, it is going to mould the opinion of lot of urban voters, many of whom have outsourced their judgemental faculties to the mainstream media. So, being on the wrong side of the media won’t help no matter how good your agenda is. Either learn to play by the media or work towards forming an alternative right-of-center media channel which acts more responsibly than the current bunch of players do.
- Finally it must realize that while culture is important, for people to appreciate it, they need access to a stable livelihood. An empty stomach cannot comprehend a great culture. So, BJP needs to focus on working towards creating a wholesome environment in which people can appreciate culture. Providing good governance definitely forms a part of that wholesome environment. Please don’t put the cart before the horse by paying way too much attention on cultural-revival unless you find the existance of the wholesome environment. Such an act would prove counter-productive.
And what does it mean for us, the once who voted these people into power:
- Elections are only the beginning of this new process. One must remember, whether the party which one prefered has won or not, the ruling party represents us (hopefully) for the next five years.
- Whether the party sits in ruling bench or in the opposition, it has an obligation to perform it’s role to the best of it’s abilities.
- We’re in a “Democracy”, the definition of which includes “Government of the people” clause. Clearly, it’s not as if our participation ceases to exist once the elections are over. The elected member are merely there to execute the agenda as expected by the citizens. If they’re not doing their role in the expected manner, it is our responsibility to provide feedback by voicing out our expectations. This feedback loop is integral for the growth of any system.
- The media, which forms an integral part of the system is supposed to pave the way in making sure that system gets the honest feedback it deserves. Unfortunately, the media from it behaviour in the past few years has shown that it cannot be without bias. Thus we must make use of alternate mediums such as FM Radio and the internet effectively to ensure that the message is not lost out.
Like every other election, this election too comes with a To-Do list for each one of us who are the stakeholders in this institution known as the democracy. I hope we are upto the task enthrusted upon us.