Parliamentary Elections in India in 2014.
Elections process kick started today on the day of Ashtami, considered auspicious by most of Hindus, which is the 8th auspicious day of the celebrations of Navratra. India shall vote to elect the Union/Central Government in New Delhi. The Constitution of India is quasi-federal. In other words it is heavily biased in favour of Central/Union Government in terms of power. Every adult person is entitled to vote for the Government. This being Parliamentary form of Government, a representative from each constituency shall be elected and all elected representative shall form a Government. But that is only in principle.
Involvement of political parties with their legal power to whip the members of parliament to act in a certain way, makes the formation of Government, a mere formality if that particular party comes into power with majority seats in Parliament. However the larger question is: How electors elect the representatives?
Election: Qualification for electors/voters and those elected.
Everything in life requires some qualification. May be not everything. Marriage and elections fall within exceptions. To get a job one needs qualification but to procreate and to elect government there is no qualification required. Two most ultimate fictions need no qualifying training at all! No doubt that with each progressing day, both the institutions have begun to inspire less and less confidence. While marriage is a different matter but it appears that if voters focus on few aspects before deciding to vote, it may help the ultimate fiction on earth called democracy. While my focus is limited to India but I think similar considerations can apply to elections anywhere.
Winner and losers:
This is an election in which one loser is presumed to be certain. That is the ruling Congress Party.
1. There is major opposition party BJP which has launched an unprecedented Presidential Style campaign in favour of its Prime Ministerial Candidate Narendra Modi. If he becomes Prime Minister, he shall be the first PM who rose from most modest working class family.
2. Congress on the other hand is a corporate in which top slot is reserved for descendants of Nehru. For last ten years it’s nominated Prime Minister, who never faced a public election, Manmohan Singh, a retired bureaucrat and supposedly an economist whose only achivement was to always wear blue coloured turban and to eradicate decimal from currency. The currency Rupee has fallen so much that the Paisa, the equilant of Cent or Pence has disappeared. Nothing is available for less than rupee. Congress Party is fighting election on the basis of it’s crown prince Rahul Gandhi who was not part of ruling Government. The posters of congress have only pictures of Rahul and none else. Prime Minister Manmohan which literally means ‘the person who will entice the heart’ has been sentenced to obscurity. His face is nowhere part of campaign. Not even among the Sikhs. A community he belongs to.
3. Aam Aadmi Party is the third and a new entrant. Like both the above parties, this also lacks inner party democracy and a troika of three persons call the shots. They are: Arvind Kejriwal, a retired bureaucrat, Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer, and Yogendra Yadav, a psephologist by profession, was once adviser to Rahul Gandhi. Father of Prashant Bhushan has heavily financed this party but Prashant is not facing public in elections. Yogendra is also not contesting elections. The troika has hand-picked candidates mostly from lower middle class sections of society merely to ensure that the herd remains intact.
As I am punching these words, an executive of party has been expelled because he had demanded and called for a meeting of the party to remove Kejriwal from the post of Convener.
4. The fourth party is different smaller regional parties in different states. This section is more powerful than the third or AAP. These parties are again family parties mostly run on Caste equations are full of carpetbaggers.
Considerations to deliberate in elections:
Unfortunately most of election campaign is on vague promises. There is no tradition of Debate on specific issues. Narendra Modi, the person in lime light is averse to personal interviews by press for a long time. Of course he does have a track record of generating employment and creating infrastructure in Gujarat, as a Chief Minister.
AAP is mincing words about crony capitalism and corruption but did not take a single policy decision in its stint of 49 days of Government of Delhi. The allegations that he is the B team of Congress are not entirely without reason. He is unduly soft towards Congress’ first family if compared with his rhetoric against Modi. But how is he going to run a government with a bunch of losers?
Regional Parties are unpredictable carpetbaggers. They will roll towards centre of power irrespective of who is there.
Welcome to democracy in India. We create new millionaires and billionaires with each election.
There are three promises which are attractive and all are made by BJP/Modi:
1. Replacing all direct/indirect taxes with transaction tax.
A similar tax is also in operation in respect of security transactions and has brought about transparency in security transactions. This will certainly very helpful to bring out black money as only transaction tax would be payable. It will bring huge funds to productive use which are otherwise lying in underground boxes or storage facilities.
2. E-governance to be strengthened.
As an author of a commentary on Information Technology Act, I have already opined that the present law is most flimsy, even after sweeping amendments in 2009, it only became more Draconian. It provides no time frame or duty to switch to online repositories. I can tell you from my experience, if public dealing is switched to online mode, 80% of popular corruption would be over. Not in terms of money value but number of affected people.
3. Special fund to fight food inflation.
Inflation is indirect taxation which affects the poorer sections the most. The worst effect is that it affects health of those who do physical labour. There can be nothing worse than food inflation which takes away nutrition from the mouth of poor especially children who are the work force.
How to decide:
It is a time to rise above stupid casteism. It is a time for change and every one realize it. Even ruling Congress Ministers have started the packing. All Congress could promise was Housing to All. Haha. In a country where one-third of population sleeps on empty stomach only Congress can make such lofty and impractical promises.
Question is will we have a hung parliament or a decisive vote. I would not advocate for anybody but please do ask about specific measures, the party you are going to vote, would implement. Empty rhetoric without ideas of governance is as stupid as jesters in a Musical drama. They provide interruptions but do not help the core message.
About Modi being a right wing Hindu:
Modi is a Hindu and may have that Bias like every Christian or Muslim or Sikh may have. But he belongs to OBC or a backward caste. Can he help the traditional priests or Brahmins of Upper Caste to restore classical caste based, classical Brahminical, Hindu Rule? Not only improbable but also impossible. About Hinduism please read my addenda to ‘Ancient Hindu Law and Judicature‘ and you will understand what I am talking about. The version of Hinduism, everyone is fearful perhaps never existed or perhaps was extinguished in 12th century and in any case, now it is impossible to recreate.
But if at all that happens, there would be fierce opposition from within the Hindu Community because the word Hindu itself does not embrace a hard-core one version of ‘Vedic Brahminical Rule.’ There shall be an uprising from within even before other communities could protest.
However the possibility of changes in gender equality or ending of discrimination due to religion would be a welcome step. Does any body know that the law to seek divorce in India, for Christian is most backward? More backward than law for Muslims. There must be some small mercies on the couple who fail to keep their flock together.
A Muslim or Christian women, even if she receives beating from her husband, every day is not entitled to divorce? Is it fair? Think about it. And think about the wrath of God if you believe in him, over such atrocious law.
© Sandeep Bhalla