Lok Sabha 2014 : An Election Campaign too MODIfied

‘Bhaaiyon aur Behno, aap ke yahan unnlogon ne school toh banah diya, parr usme souachalay nahi banaya. Choutish saal se Bangaal ko unn logon ne kahan dhakel diya hai yeh aapko malum hai’ said Modi at Brigade Parade Ground, Kolkata on 5th February, 2014. The man Modi and his ‘Bhaaiyon aur Behno’ with the bouquet of objections and promises are the newest trend that Indians are facing every day. And with each one of such promise Mr. Modi never forgets to add ‘Bhaaiyon aur Behno, mera Gujarat, (pause) dekhiye kahan se kahan pohuch gaya’, as suffix. In short this is BJP in being and doing before the Lok Sabha elections 2014. So simply put, there are three points in straight, (1) objections, (2) promises and then, (3) an image. Objection of whatever the central government (UPA 2) has failed to deliver. Promises that never came into being in last 67 years, yet rock the daily lives of almost 78% Indians who are either poor or hardly able to manage their livelihood. Then comes the wake up call to BJP and Modi himself that all the objections and promises are making its way in to the popular discourse through a man, who is accused of heading full length genocide and post-shocks. So BJP’s need here becomes; to put forward with an image that eventually would manage to extend a shadow on the bloody projections of the past. In a country that witnessed and still experiences large numbers of religious conversions in exchange of money, it can be a submission that, promises that deal with images of economic prosperity in vague would keep on hailing upon the warnings of communal disintegrations in abstract. The much discussed ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ is serving as the mighty ‘image’ carefully tailored for the citizens of a country distressed with high-stake corruptions and sky-rocketing price rise. 

Vibrant Gujarat’s rural population’s 67% have no access to toilets and Gujarat’s enrollment ratio at higher secondary level was so vibrant that it got exhausted on reaching 3% lower average than the pitiful national average. No wonder that this BJP man Modi who is an established communal hate-icon and mass-murderer lies, what else is expected? Point is: what made the image Modi to be so influential that it has rocked every platform available for the election campaigns for Lok Sabha in 2014! 


Behind MODIfication

Actually the reality of opposition’s scopes is easier to understand through the list of failures of the existing rulers. For last 4 and half years the UPA2 headed by the INC is in the chair. This government started with supports from various regional parties. That nexus included all sorts of parties starting from reactionary to corrupt. This UPA2 was never formed to serve the people of this country, this was a means for the INC to sit in the chair and for other constituent parties it was mere medium of satisfying their vested interests. For example, the Trinamool Congress was every time a constituting member of all the alliances that has ever been made to create a government at the centre in this country. They missed the UPA1 only. So parties of such kinds are always eager to support to form a government for their own interests, as we all know the now CM of West Bengal Mamata Bannerjee had used the Indian Railway to fulfill her dream to come into the State government. So the Indian Railway in her captaincy turned into a vessel that helps to fulfill her dreams only. She started with a spectrum of promises that almost created a picture of West Bengal being a Railway capital, almost every town and village got assured with something or anything from the railways. Then the CAG reports on rail disclosed that those projects were not approved by the planning commission even, so they never had any real fund allocation. By that time this mistress of fraud practices had won mandate to chair the state government, so to fulfill one’s dream Indian Railway and the people had to pay the price of being forged. This sort of ‘interest-realities’ are associated with almost all the important ministries of UPA2. But as time passed one after another interests got served and those members of UPA2 started leaving the alliance by dropping the ball of responsibility of those wrong doings in INC’s court. Those parties are all responsible for every decisions starting from deregulation of the petroleum to the Foreign Direct Investment policies. But now, no one is there to share the responsibility with the INC. Though it is not the say that the INC is anyway receiving harder blow than its deed, the submission is that the regional constituents of the UPA2 were nonetheless worse and are the masters of the art of forging the common people of this country only to serve their own shallow political and economic interests. 

Now talking about the INC’s role in the UPA2 from the first day; was just alike the Managing Director of a Private Limited Company who is all known that the company would eventually face a liquidation in five years. So they played it bare and raw. Every time they tabled a pro-liberalization or pro-privatization bill, they never observed full length discussion at the parliament. Every time they came up with something to do with their so called reform or boosting-the-economy drill, they avoided the house. The INC’s bare and raw mode was expected to infect its own members first, so it did. INC MPs started to get involved in corrupt practices, high-stake high-count corruptions, influencing governance at various stages to enforce wrong doings of multiple types and so on. But this, ‘stay raw’ image unlike as it is shown in a concerned television channel seemed to have earned steady increase in hostility towards the INC and its leadership to the UPA2. This increase in hostility is only to be attributed to the INC’s no compromise manner to the agenda of liberalization, thus it handed over the golden chance to choose among the steps of liberalization initiatives by the UPA2 as a departure point when the regional constituent parties can part their course after having satisfied their own interests with the government. The more the UPA2 proceeded the more it got weak and this ever weakening of UPA2 goes on. 

Now we have, a national party, to say a strong party leading a weak government in this country. It has its own structural corollary to follow. The weakening effect of the UPA2 pushed the anchor party i.e. the strong national party, the INC to involve in meeting those agenda which were missed out in case of the UPA1. Here the INC took its lesson, though wrong from the earlier one. They observed no delay in enacting whatever their interests were through the UPA2. In this haste once for a while UPA2 turned to a government that was serving all the party interests attached with it. INC insisting deregulation, AITC making Indian Rail serve its supremo’s intention etc. Governance was in no way taken care of; corrupt practices grew at all levels of the governance, by that time the delay in response to regulate governance economy had already received the harder blow. Inflation rose. It took its toll in the domestic market, price-rise turned uncontrollable. To have some boost channelized from the international markets the UPA2 leaders had to push more and open its gates for foreign direct investments in various social sectors in exchange. Yet that reach no shore, the amount of Rupee experienced its worst devaluation at the UPA2 regime. So less for the UPA2 and more for the INC last five years timeline went like this: jumping wild to form a government anyway to fulfill its unfinished business in the UPA1 (the Nuke-deal and more), then forming a government to take care of explicit self-interests of the stakeholders, undermining the issue of governance, corrupt practices, weakening alliance, weakening economy, more corrupt practices and in short a non-performing government. So it is clear that the Celebrated scams like 2G, Commonwealth and Coal-gate though amount to a huge and almost head banging total, in effect the country’s economy had received the blow of corruption at a much higher magnitude, as for the UPA2 it was not only the head which was infected by corruption, the whole body including all the limbs were infected. For now, as the rest of the UPA2 is there, it has no other way but to observe the same practiced inaction that it was doing earlier. Any nudge to the set up would result in annihilate the whole system called UPA2. The Lok Sabha election 2014 is a much needed affair for the INC to manage its freedom from the remains of the UPA2. The future i.e. finding an answer to question that ‘who will be the winner in the elections’, is the secondary object to the INC for now, the primary one is to get rid of its own present, the UPA2. 


The course that led to MODIfication

Following the scams, the country experienced a spectrum of protest actions. Among them, the one which was ideologically more suitable to the commercial media got hyped. Anna became the icon, his anti-corruption movement demanding effective Janlokapal bill became the most celebrated movement in recent times. Though promoted carefully but the involvement of the common people, to be more specific the youths to the protest action of Anna and his team was an eye-opener for the political fraternity of this country. Split of interests occurred to Anna and his team, it was the proof that may an icon be promoted by the corporate capital in a certain case, but the supporters may not always be ready to buy the whole package. The team departs from Anna. Kejriwal formed the most discussed brand in recent years of this country the ‘Aam Admi Party’. The party took a different approach before it was to face the assembly elections of Delhi. It started to avoid the forms of propaganda based on identity politics and its manifestations. More like the Left partie’s, they started to deal with the issues of citizens’ rights, their focus has therefore been on issues and policies to ensure equity and justice… and participatory development’. They promoted Kejriwal to the image of Mr. Possible for all the never-met Indian middle class dreams. They came up with creative forms of campaigning and mobilizations and intelligent use of the media. Calculated moves were being tossed as ‘inexperienced moves by an honest image’. But they were yet to confront with the fundamental economic process that serves as the base to the state structure. The one thing worth watching was popular enthusiasm (mostly urban people) in backing the not-tested-yet brand in a name of a party. Mr. Kejriwal and AAP is not the concern, what is at stake here is that, what made the people go and join in numbers with an untested party without knowing what it had to offer when it comes to the issues of the base? Though it would be rather over-pricing if one is to judge AAP as a prime contender in the coming Lok-Sabha elections, yet a performance of a political eye-catcher can be seen from Mr. Kejriwal and his company. 

Now we have three separate tendencies on which the already discussed political stake holders are sharpening their weapons. The AAP knowing its limitations are likely to concentrate on winning over a broader mass base in urban areas particularly among the new generation of voters. The INC which is facing a harsh time are expected to get the dividend of reacting timely in case of anti-rape protests by amending a new bill. In addition to that they are aware of the fact that this election is going to be the benchmark of having the largest ever share of youth and new generation voters, i.e. fresh mandates are the key that they are after. They already have put forward the brand of Rahul Gandhi as the representative of the youth and they are following their own strategies to win over the mandates of youths from all cross-sections starting from urban to rural areas. The one thing the INC leadership would try hard to get in their side is by taking pro-active measures and steps in the murder case of young Nido Tanium to sensitize the north-east India’s voters in their favor, all have seen Rahul Gandhi visiting the protestors. Then comes the question of BJP and their captain Modi. It is clear that facing the problems of price-rise and distress of agriculture and seeing the forgery in the name of food security and universal education, the rural population of this country are not in a manner to support INC to form a government of same spirit once again. The semi-urban population affected by the price-rise and economic distress are too not in a manner to vote for INC. Here BJP hops in. Although for the decent legacy they have starting from the Babri Musjid to the Godhra mass killing project headed by their captain the BJP is still not an option to vote for. Here comes the role of corporate capital to win over mandates from various cross-sections through various propaganda machinery it has. Before someone goes into the depth of that case study, the issue has to be understood more closely and theoretically.