None had expected the 16th may result to be so much clear and explicit. Both the Congress and the BJP were surprised with them. Although BJP’s surprise is more of a shock, and congress’s pleasant but they had also not expected to do so well. Since the surprising Saturday all the political pundits are busy assessing the results and trying to give some explanation. I don’t know why BJP lost or Congress won [even the Congress is not sure how it won, then how can I be?], neither I have any explanation for it, but it is interesting to listen what others has to say.
The first loud noise is obviously about secularism been voted in. Many times earlier I have talked about the questionable secular credentials of congress; so there is no point repeating it. But the famous Varun Gandhi’s hate speech is prominent in the analysis of political pundits. The only hate element in the famous hate speech was “jo hath Hindu ki taraf uthega, Varun Gandhi us hath ko kat dega”. They say BJP lost ground all over the country due to this hate speech, although Varun Gandhi won by a handsome margin.
Regarding the communalism propaganda about BJP in this election I read a very interesting article by Mr. Kanchan Gupta in Pioneer this Sunday http://www.dailypioneer.com/178123/Three-myths-and-an-election.html he has scrutinized the questionable role of the media in projecting BJP as a communal party and not displaying the correct picture to the people. He has talked about how the media labeled the BJP’s election manifesto as communal just because of 3 lines on 48 page manifesto said that “The BJP will explore all possibilities, including negotiations and judicial proceedings, to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya”. This much was enough for the news channels to say BJP returns to core Hindutva.
Some are blaming Mr. Advani for BJP’s poll debacle. Their argument is, unlike Atalji Mr. Advani is not a widely accepted and popular leader. This election was not Advani versus Atal, but Advani versus Manmohan, and I don’t think that politician by chance is more popular then politician by choice. Moreover even if the Atalji factor is there, then why BJP lost last time, when it was Atalji all around?
Then others say people voted for development over change; that’s good. Development should be the bases of voting and not some caste or religious calculation. But is the NDA’s record of development during 1998-2004 so bad that they didn’t deserved a second chance? The massive road building which NDA undertook in its regime was at an all time high of average 11 kms a day as compared to the UPA’s present less than 5 km daily average. The literacy rate during 1998-2004 increased from 62% to 67%, but rose to just 68% after that. Primary education [gross enrollment ratio] in 98-04 from 94 reached 110, but only to 114 in the next 5 years. Infant mortality rate decreased by 14 percentage point in NDA regime and only decreased by 3 percentage point during UPA. But then the same people have said that last time change was voted over development.
In the same article Mr. Gupta has very rightly said that no voting in India is taking place on the bases of development and good governance. Had that been the case then BJP would have won more seats in Gujarat; but then the justification comes as, there were few takers of Modi’s hatred campaign, although during the entire campaign he never said anything derogatory to anyone; media accepts this.
In a nut shell no one is sure about the voting behaviour of India. Predicting the election result or giving justifications about the result never holds any ground. You never know what is going in the mind of the voter, and what clicks to them. Many say Rahul Gandhi has clicked, but again this notion has many flaws.