Sunday, May 17, 2009

MESSAGE FROM THE INDIAN ELECTION RESULTS

The news channels on the TV held centre stage at our home yesterday. It was the day of reckoning, and the day when it would be known what our nation of over 1.1 billion people thinks; and what over 700 million eligible voters believe is crucial to this nation. This was even more important this time, than hitherto fore, considering the happenings in our country and abroad, in terms of political upheavals, economic downturn, and the overall security environment. It was even more interesting for me to watch the results as I had stuck my neck out on various issues in my post on 05 Apr 09. Relevant excerpts reproduced below.

"In case one of the major parties gets over 200 seats in the 546 seat Lok Sabha, then we have a chance of seeing progress on projects that have led to our recent growth rates. This scenario is the more desirable and feasible too. The major party would then be able to cobble a coalition and have a major say in deciding on national priorities. Looking at the present situation, I would be sticking my neck out to say that I have a gut feeling that the BJP would be able to come up with 200 + seats in the coming elections. I am neither a supporter of or against BJP, but am pro-India. Congress has put all its eggs in its own basket by deciding to go it alone in their national convention, and has ruined its own chances in the short term. What should the average urban educated do in such circumstances? One has to go for development and not against some issue or party. One has to try and make a national party gain over 200 seats in parliament (which seems tough this time) other wise there is more pain in store, with all regional parties colluding to make a joke of the office of Prime Minister (we have seen it at the state level in Karnataka and J&K), and the functioning of the government. No party with 200 + seats and running a coalition can take random and thoughtless decisions, that much is for sure. I would go with supporting a national party, than the regional ones in this election."

I had stuck my neck out about the BJP winning 200+ seats and have been PROVEN WRONG. I am very happy to be proven wrong, as the results are definitely pro-India. The reasons for the BJP's debacle could be many but what seems decisive to have tilted the balance in favour of the Congress are: firstly, there was a visible mismatch between the personal ambitions and the job dictates of the PM of India between the two main candidates - L K Advani and Manmohan Singh; secondly, projection of Narendra Modi as PM in waiting at the last minute; and lastly of course the BJP not distancing itself categorically from the virulent election speech of Varun Gandhi.

The election results have proven that at the macro level, the Indian people believe and want that India be secular, as envisaged in our constitution. The majority of the people have through their electoral verdict indicated that they do not support divisive politics on the basis of religion, and caste. M J Akbar in his article in TOI dated 17 May 09 has very beautifully expressed this thought when he says that, "India is not a secular nation because Indian Muslims want it to be secular. India is a secular nation because Indian Hindus want it to be secular".

So wisely said Mr Akbar - I admire, and value, your thought that the onus always falls on the majority community to be liberal in their outlook to give a sense of belonging to the minorities. This fact is so blatantly clear if we only look to our twins across the border where the majority community did not defend liberal thought and belief in the formation and growth of their independent nation-state - leading to the distressing state of their own nation. I had written about this in an earlier post, "News from Pakistan...Lessons for India".

Religion aside, caste factors have also been ignored by the people this time creating upsets in UP, Bihar and other caste conscious states. This augurs well for India.

I am happy though that India voted to give this mandate to the other national party. I am sure a lot of good will happen because of this mandate, without the stranglehold of the Left parties. India's primary concern is with poverty alleviation and this can only happen if we can grow our wealth - because one cannot distribute wealth without first generating it. This was covered in one of my earlier posts dated 11 Jan 2008. Our left parties are stuck in a time machine which has since been abandoned by most nations around the globe. The electorate have understood this fact clearly and have thus given a thumbs down to the Left parties.

The more I think about it the more I am impressed with the Indian people: the ones who consider voting to be their right and responsibility, and take pains and effort to discharge the same every time - majority of them seemingly illiterate and ill informed, and also backward and poor by our standards. The electoral results this time have taught me another valuable lesson and that is to never underestimate the wisdom of the Indian people, as also the wisdom of our founding fathers who gave us our Constitution. I have reaffirmed my belief that our foundations are strong and our people are wise. The challenge now lies in getting the seemingly better informed (like me), and the younger people in understanding India, and what it stands for. This election to me represents the winning combination to be one that can live up to the saying, "Act regionally and think Nationally". All parties that went against this dictum have suffered losses. 'Jai Ho' to the aam aadmi on thinking beyond himself.

In the end, I believe that elections in India are an affirmation of liberty and equality and "There’s an amazing grace and beauty about the way India goes to elections every five years" - TOI editorial, 17 May 2009. Pray and believe that this 'amazing grace and beauty' is generation proof in India, and spreads to other troubled parts of the world, including our neighbourhood.


THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

PREAMBLE

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

13 comments:

How do we know said...

agree agree agree!!! your 3 word post says it all!!! :-)

J P Joshi said...

HDWK: Sorry for have unknowingly hit the publish button. This post has now been published under the present heading.

Smitha said...

Agree with everything you've said.. The result is certainly a 'pro-India' result.. Now at least we can have a govt which can focus on governance as opposed to keeping partners happy... Lets hope they deliver and that the BJP introspects and tries to improve.. I do think Modi as a future PM puts off a lot of people..

J P Joshi said...

Smitha: Yes, I do hope that Congress does not take it as a vote to rule, but instead takes it as a vote to serve the people. Also, hope that the BJP introspects, and functions as a constructive opposition party in the parliament, as this is most crucial for the functioning of a healthy democracy.

Kislay said...

Good one Sir . The quote from MJ Akbar brought this to my mind - Courage is tested when you are the Minority , Tolerance is tested when you are the Majority .

Usha Pisharody said...

Agreed, Sir. No matter what we had predicted, the voter has shown that he and she can make a difference, as has happened.

Stability at the Centre will definitely be the fulcrum on which our progress will balance, and grow!

Indian Homemaker said...

Loved this post! Like you I also was very sure BJP was going to win and or we would see Mayawati as our next PM - so I was seriously taken aback when the results started pouring in :)

My respect for the Indian Electorate went even higher after these results. I think we all realised what was happening all around us, it was extremely sad and very depressing.

I also agree with the reasons that you have given for Congress winning. Dr M M Singh is definitely better than most of the PMs we have seen till now, I am amazed at his popularity, somehow I have hope (a lot of hope) that he will not disappoint us. (But we also must not expect miracles)

Lastly I loved these lines, how true, and these lines made me so proud to be a liberal Hindu.

"India is not a secular nation because Indian Muslims want it to be secular. India is a secular nation because Indian Hindus want it to be secular"

J P Joshi said...

Kislay: "Courage is tested when you are the Minority , Tolerance is tested when you are the Majority". So very true!

Usha: Agree with you. Many of us had predicted a win for BJP but the aam voter of India gave a verdict that was beyond our comprehension before or during the elections, but which is very apt and correct for our conditions today. Yes, like you say stability and growth are interlinked... and the ballistics display at the stock market gave a thumbs up to the results.

J P Joshi said...

IHM: Agree with your comment entirely. Yes, the results came as a big surprise initially but as the day wore on, my respect for the Indian voter went up manifold - he outclassed all us educated people, without letting us down - on the other hand, he made us feel proud to be a part of this unique country.

I also used to consider Dr M M Singh to be a very gentle soul and considered him to be guided from behind the chair, BUT his stand on the nuclear deal with the US, despite opposition from within the party and other parties changed my opinion about him. I realised that he could differentiate between issues worth fighting for, and issues not worth the trouble - a sign of a mature leader. Also, I realised he is one person who understands his strengths and weaknesses and lets others help him overcome his weaknesses, which we mistakenly take as his being a pushover.

Yes, M J Akbar's lines are so very true.

Renu said...

This election has again enforced the view that our democtacy is vibrant and alive.
I am of the view that a stable govt, without having any roadblocks created by those fence sitters will be good for us, now we have to see what they(congress) do with this clear mandate.

J P Joshi said...

Yes, I agree with you and am also looking forward to the cabinet formation and its subsequent functioning - I am also praying and hoping that they live up to the trust reposed in them by the people, by giving them a clear mandate.

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

Hi J P Joshi, came over from your comment on my blog. Interesting reflection on your own predictions about the election results. Nice to see you blog about your various interests like aviation in separate blogs. Keep blogging!

J P Joshi said...

Gopinath: Thank you for visiting and for your comment.