Saturday, May 09, 2009

Get ahead, get a headache

Byline by M J Akbar: Get ahead, get a headache

‘The elections are dead. Long live the elections!’ This may not quite possess the grand flair of a Cavalier cheer for Charles the Second, but it does strike the more puritan populist chord so essential to the simpler creed of republicans.

Good Indians always take their time over weddings. Our funerals are faster. This is the obvious explanation for the Election Commission’s decision to drag the electoral carnival through six mind-numbing weeks. The results will be known next Saturday within six hours, bringing to an end one set of tensions and generating a new round of headaches. I sometimes feel that a stonemason should construct an Indian politician’s head. There is no other way to prevent headaches.

The relevant question, which cannot have escaped the reader’s traditional eagle eye and Einstein brain, is of course this: why have I pronounced the final rites of the 15th general election when there is still one round, with 86 seats (one more than the penultimate round) still left to deliver its verdict? If the results are obvious then an election is more or less over, isn’t it? I suppose apart from immediate kith and kin, and perhaps hardcore cadre, no one else in Tamil Nadu believes that the DMK is going to win this time. The Congress, which is the DMK’s principal ally, is obviously worried that it is going to lose big time in the state. You can see the depression on home minister P. Chidambaram’s face, and reporters are sending back stories that the candidate is snapping at voters with questions, always a bad sign (for the candidate, not the voters). It must be doubly depressing for him to imagine a scenario in which the Congress can form another coalition in Delhi, but there is no Chidambaram in the ministry. The Congress dilemma is reflected in the crisis created by Rahul Gandhi’s implicit overtures to Jayalalithaa. The overture might, or might not, be the prelude to a symphony after 16 May, but on polling day the atonal message will only echo in dysfunctional music for the 14 Congress candidates trying to get into Parliament from Tamil Nadu.

It is similarly obvious that the Akalis are under pressure in Punjab, and all the backroom boys with calculators have factored in Akali losses as they project the numerical mix of the next Parliament. The one place where the election is far from dead is Bengal, where there are 13 seats still waiting to decide whether the state will drive on the left side of the road or the right. There used to be a theory that heavy polling indicated bad news for the ruling party, since it meant that voters had been energised by anger. But such certainties are vulnerable in Bengal, since it is one state where the party cadre can be mobilised. The Left knows that this is its toughest election since 1984, and it will certainly have maximised what is politely known as booth management. Two remarkable aspects, however, have already emerged from the pattern of voting. First, violence has been minimal, so intimidation has not kept voters away. Credit for this goes to both the voter and the Election Commission. Second, there has been an exceptionally heavy turnout of women. Women constitute the most powerful silent vote in the country. The Left has been worried about the shift in the Muslim vote, and may have underestimated women as a distinct and independent category. There was 75% polling in the second round, which must be a record for a May election.

The good thing about time is that it passes — or is that a bad thing? There is less than a week left for the czars of democracy to fidget. But now that there is just a day left for the last shreds of rhetoric to wend their way through tired airwaves and desolate print, the next set of propositions are being put into place. They are not necessarily as simple as choosing either the UPA or the NDA at the Centre. The Left’s priority now will be to break the alliance between Congress and Mamata Banerjee before the Bengal Assembly elections. The easiest way to do so is to support the Congress in Delhi. This would force Mamata to go towards the NDA. But what if the Congress decided to stick to its ally in Bengal and dared the Left to support the NDA if they could? That would throw some exciting loops into the game, would it not?

Will Naveen Patnaik stick by his new friend Prakash Karat if he does not get enough seats to become Chief Minister again? He could ask the Congress for support, but that would dilute his identity, which has been created on Congress space. Can Chandrababu Naidu accuse the Congress of destroying Andhra Pradesh and then help it in Delhi to destroy the country? That is what the logic of a decision to shift towards UPA would amount to. Of course the Third Front parties, shuffling on the horns of a dilemma, would like nothing better than to get the support of the Congress while they enjoyed a year in government. But would Congress support a Cabinet that sought to reverse its economic and foreign policies? There may be some substance in the view that the Congress and BJP have already decided that they will not support any concocted government.

I hope you see why one suggested that a stonemason would be the man of the hour in Indian politics. The headaches of the second half of May might turn out to be migraine proportions.


R.Alamsha Karnan said...

To break the second class citizen mentality, Indian Muslims should think about making Muslim candidates as PM of India and CM of Tamil Nadu in next 10 years:

Just look at the elections. Everyone takes Muslims for a ride. Muslim vote bank is becoming irrelevant in the win/loss of a candidate. 250 million Muslims are standing as silent spectators expecting that a great saviour will emerge one day from nowhere, pull them out of their political "shutradom", and will put them on par with other political Brahmans.

If someone says that a Muslim can become the next CM of Tamil Nadu in less than 10 years, it will sound like some sort of travesty and blasphemy on Indian politics. It is just impossible for 20% Indian Muslims to make a Muslim candidate as the next CM of Tamil Nadu, even if they vote en masse.

It is definitely possible if they can send the right message to the 80% Hindus and win their support. If Muslims can think about the magic formula required to win the support from 80%, it will automatically push them out of second class mentality.

Is it possible?. What Indian Muslims should do to make a Muslim as the next CM of Tamil Nadu and PM of India?.

R.Alamsha Karnan said...

The per capita space available for growth in India is one of the lowest in the world and is shrinking because of 1.2+ billiion ever growing population. This is a clear threat for India and if ignored, the ship will sink.

Who else can bail out India from this silent tsunami brewing right under our arse?. Only Indian Muslims have the answer. In the genuine interest of my country India, i see overpopoulation as the biggest threat and burden which does NOT allow the nation to move forward.

Does any of our politicians have any answer for this crisis?. It's a nightmare. We have to put our heads together and find a solution. It happens in our own families, where the family house becomes overcrowded with grand children. Brothers and sisters agree to leave the house for another family memeber and build better houses for themselves.

In the best interest of both Muslims and Hindus, Muslims should appeal for Hijrath-Migration. This way, 250 million Muslims can rebuild a better and peaceful life for themselves abd also can leave space for 250 million Hindus. Imagine the kind of job opportunities it can create for millions of Hindus in OIC nations. This way we have solved the problem of 500 million, almost 50% of India's burden. After all, we are brothers.

Population grows but land does not grow. Who else is capable of leaving the home for his brother?. Muslims should seriously think about this noble mission for the sake of 1.2 billion humanity.

Muslim leadership for India will open-up the gateway of opportunities with 55 OIC nations. It will create millions of jobs for everyone, including the well educated intellectual Brahmans. More than 90% of Brahmans will definitely support Muslim leadership because they are loosing faith on Brahman leadership.

Win-win formula. Sooner the better.

1. World poverty list:

2. OIC GDP List:

3. Country area list ranking:

4. Country population ranking:

5. What will happen to India, if 250 million Muslims leave?