The stakes are high as we are hours away from knowing the verdict in the most important Lok Sabha election in the history of the world greatest democracy, India. A tale of crunching numbers as political pundits dabble with the outcome of the election which saw the greatest participation in India’s history with 66.38 per cent voting out of an estimated 800 million voters, including 100 million first time voters. If the exit polls is an indication, BJP led NDA will emerge as the clear winner with Congress led UPA suffering drubbing, the lowest in its history in the 16th Lok Sabha Polls.
Polls are known to be dubious and it has been shown in two occasions, 2004 and 2009 where Congress Party overcame the tide to win the elections. However, this time the situation appears different as the Congress Party suffered from a leadership crisis, mismanaging the economy with the Economic Growth on the down slide, corruption charges, two power centers, weak leadership and, of course, insecurity of women.
Will the BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi get past the magic figure of 272 as projected by the Exit Polls? If yes, it will a first for BJP who can run the country in the most comfortable manner, without relying on post-poll arrangement for a stable Government. Honestly speaking, I am wary of Exit Polls. What if the BJP-led alliance fail to secure the necessary numbers? Will it lead to instability? What about the infighting with senior leaders like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj unwillingness to secure for less in terms of rank in the Government? Will it not be a dent to Modi’s prospect as PM?
It’s no secret that Narendra Modi is a very polarizing figure in Indian Politics and, unlike AB Vajpayee, he doesn’t believe in consensus. The allies will dog him to no end during this five year term as Prime Minister where it may lead to a constitutional crisis in the Government which will make it difficult for him to rule during the next five years. It may lead to a repeat of the scenario of 1990s during the BJP rule, with in-fighting, clans and the country risk going back to polls. I am no fan of Modi but a hung house will prove unstable for the country where important decisions pertaining to the economy, growth and passing of important bills as well as foreign policies are the need of the hour.
The election is a litmus test not for the Congress but Rahul Gandhi’s political future which has been made redundant during the campaign when sister Priyanka Gandhi jumped the fray. Priyanka Gandhi overshadowed her brother, leader-in-waiting, of the Congress which cut a sorry and pale figure during the campaign. If the Congress suffer a drubbing, it will make the political future of Rahul very bleak as the latter failed to charm the young generation that constitute more than 100 million voters. The biggest political blunder the Congress Party made is its stubborn and dumb refusal to appoint someone to lead the campaign. The election will also prove whether Priyanka Gandhi, who seems to be charismatic figure,came late in the campaign not to snatch victory under the BJP’s nose but minimize casualties. I feel that the biggest blunder the Congress Party made is its obstinate refusal to make Priyanka Gandhi the leader, someone who has no qualms in mingling with the crowd, a quality that Rahul Gandhi lacks.
The 16th Lok Sabha Election is very important for the Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal and the numbers will show whether a large chunk of congress votes will be shifted to them. In no uncertain terms, AAP made the election battle more interesting by striving to have a national presence which is a good and healthy sign of democracy. As they say, the more, the merrier! One wonder whether AAP will emerge as an important force in the country, serving as a beacon of hope for a young India to act as a watch dog in parliament. Whether we like it or not, AAP grew in an impressive manner since its inception and, should we choose to ignore the AK-47 fracas, they’ve got the support of young, educated people during the campaign. It made the campaign more interesting as AAP tried to sandwich between Congress and BJP, to make fight more interesting.
The 16th Lok Sabha campaign got a lot murkier with mudslinging and racist comments flying high, courtesy some demented persona ostracizing an entire community blaming them for everything, anti Modi should migrate to Pakistan, hate speech as well as prejudice for woman with some leaders saying Boys have the right to rape or women shouldn’t have sex before marriage. It was sick and dangerous for the Indian democracy. No matter who is at the helm of power tomorrow, one only hope that the secular and plural values of the Indian constitution is safeguarded where the rights of religious minorities are protected. The elections also showed the huge participation of the Indian youth both at the grass root level and in social media, which played a determining in the election, the trolls not withstanding.
Television was not to be left behind as it played a bigger role in our lives as citizens during the elections where we were exposed to realities in towns and villages. No wonder, Varanasi bagged the hot spot with TV crewed stationed in the holy city. One programme that stood out during the election is NDTV and Barkha Dutt’s Chai Stop where she took us to places to assess the pulse of the nation. Barkha, remained true to herself and shone through the campaign and showed what a great job a journalist can do. It was a delight watching Barkha’s Chai Stop that became bigger and more real.
As a newly elected Government takes charge tomorrow, one can hope that India’s escalating growth is repeated with emphasis on infrastructure development, inclusive approach where no community is singled out, inclusive growth for both India and Bharat cum youth and security of women, are given priority rather than piece-meal legislations. It is a young India and if the Government doesn’t deliver the goods, the exit door is not far away. After all, we are hours away when the biggest democracy in the world delivers its verdict and the number crunching, alliance shopping must be on its way, in case, the Exit Polls turns out to be a spoiler for the Saffron party or the 2,000 kg ladoos will mysteriously disappear.