Sunday, December 23, 2007

Development v/s “Democracy”

The Gujarat elections this year were always supposed to be a landmark event in the history of the state. In many ways it involved a contest between the “ruler of hatred” and a party with “secular credentials”, a “dictator” and the assumed “highly galvanized rebels”, a “polarized campaign” and the national media(not to forget a battery of intellectuals),a “repetition” and a “wave of change” and thankfully a “development” model and the so-called “aam aadmi”. The elections were all the more significant as not only would they possibly impact the equations at the central level but can also very well go on to decide how future state elections in India are contested.

The National media and more importantly the Congress saw it as its most realistic chance of toppling Modi. Narendra Modi was fighting against a resurgent opposition, a perhaps righteously hostile media, a hapless anti-incumbency factor, considerably less of an emotional wave this time and a whole host of people from his very own party(not to mention an insecure party high command). But then Mr. Modi triumphed and how.

At the very start of it, the opposition got a lot of things wrong. The Congress forgot that it was a state election and not a national one. The factors at the micro level were more important than if Modi was the “merchant of death” or for that matter, progress made/not made in the past five years mattered more than the fresh legs needed to run the state. Take a trip to the most interior areas of Gujarat and one will find a network of roads, water and even electricity unparalleled to anywhere else in the country. The roads in the tribal areas of Gujarat are perhaps even better than the ones in the capital cities of other states. The rebels banked on their past popularities unaware of the chord that Mr. Modi had struck with the masses. A confidante in Saurashtra would agree that the firebrand non- corrupt and sincere Narendrabhai Modi outweighs the laidback Kheshubhai Patel in every respect. Lets accept it that the media, the intellectuals and even the peace loving citizens of India, didn’t want a man associated with as grave a thing as the Gujarat riots to be at the helm of affairs for another five years. Modi’s authoritative (and even “dictatorial”) attitude made us call the last five years as the darkest period of democracy in Gujarat. For the sake of democracy, we all cringed!! But we forgot that we were not destined to decide Modi’s fate, but the onus was on the voters in Gujarat. The voters didn’t care what the national or the international media felt, what mattered to them was how much the person they were to repose their faith in cared for Gujarat.

Most undoubtedly, Narendrabhai Modi is the sole hero of BJP’s win. He has come across as a powerful and charismatic leader who understands and values the masses. He alleviates the need of middlemen (or even party workers for that matter) and believes in a single point of contact with the masses. He very well knows the importance of an issue in context to a particular place and a particular time interval. So though polarization was an integral part of his wooing package, he always put a special stress on development. And this is where Mr. Modi stood apart. Not only did he align himself with the masses, as a certain Mr. Laloo Yadav would have done, but also played the development plank as efficiently as Chandrababu Naidu would have wanted to. So, to see the masses stand up to the expectations of their leader was not only heartening but might also prod our other political leaders to consider development as an integral agenda behind every state election.

As it seems, the Gujarat state and the factors of development might have won for now. But with an extreme nationalist Narendra Modi as the head of state, would India and humanity be a loser, that only time would tell…

10 comments:

swatimala said...

tht was an excellent observation on the elections..u have a grt career as a politicial analyst should u care 2 pursue it

shruti said...

m spellbound by ur thoughts....u made me think....

ximb pgp 07-09 said...
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ximb pgp 07-09 said...
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Manish Mohan said...

good...for a change u accepted verdict given by masses...I think credit goes to gujju masses who are politically naive and can not differentiate between democracy and facism. bole to apne ko to bas dhandha se matlab hai...agar modi kuch aur logo ko mar bhi de magar dhandhe ke liye acha opportunity create kare to hum use hi vote denge. ...Jai Gujarat...

HR said...

well written arpit. some balance there.

Seriously Funny said...

Arpit: Leave your MBA plans and go and Become a political analyst.
Super Post. Nice analysis.

And like i said earlier too. I am not gonna post on this topic on my blog. Just a link to this post of yours :P

Indrajit said...

you write really well.
Hope you have a blessed new year.:)

Anonymous said...

Congatulations on getting 186 in the CET.. Strange ! I dunno how you managed that...

Inrepid's Profile said...

Good work !

Gujrat Shares a stark similarity with yet another state. West Bengal.
The kind of success BJP has got in Gujrat is pretty similar to the one which CPM has got in West Bengal.

Both have been (overwhelmingly_ consistent.
Both are being despised by the central media.

However there are differences.
Apart from tags like saffron and secular,
Taking a clue from the author,
CPM's success does not bank upon development to that extent.