Any Star challenger on horizon? Handling politics when the breeze is changing


* Anand Sahay

Deccan Chronicle

Dec 17, 2018


What form the riposte of the Opposition parties will assume in different states is all lively speculation now.


Note: The unexpected always happen in Indian politics. It is often thrown up from unexpected quarters, the illiterate, ‘mature’ electorate! Whoever expected a win for ‘Congress’ in India’s heart land called the ‘Hindi Belt.’?

That is now  sending shock waves to the ‘invinsible’  Hindutva-RSS  ruling parivar. A threat from an immature child dreaming to become King and ruler over-night? That is how some ridicule it. It reminds one of an old story of what happened to a great Herod when three wise men visited him with the story of the newly  born who was going to become king of the Jews and whom they were going to visit guided by heavenly stars. But for what?

Just born,a threat?

To offer him their  respects offering gold, myrrh and incense, as tribute to his royalty. How could a child born yesterday become a threat to an all powerful reigning King? That’s how the worldly wise think to ward off any foreseeable threat to their rule and stick on to their seats of power like a leech. The king advised them to visit him on their return with glad tidings. The rest of the story is known to you.

The Modi-Sha seems to be in such a predicament. They are also trying might and main to blunt instantly the edge of Rafale scam terming it as insignificant childish play.

Chor and Neech

But they see the child growing up too fast, and the writer Anand Sahay of the article below  warns Rahul to desist from stooping low to the level of his opponents spewing venom, calling ‘Chor’ and using such uncultured, uncivilized and unparliamentary language to drive his point. Is it a more dignified word than “Neech” to which he himself had objected?

That is very good advise and a fast growing up Rahul can digest it fast. His soft humor is better suited for public discourse than the bitter and  boorish language of his opponents. A drop of honey attracts more bees than a barrel of vinegar.


Honey of action

What Rahul and his party men should exhibit to public view is the honey of action, fast and prompt – Kamalnath  has already written off all agricultural loans up to 2 lakhs,promised on assuming CM’s post in Madhy paradesh, in contrast to  many of Modi’s unfulfilled promises. So was it done in Utterkand. Similar things should be done by other enthroned Congress CMs in their respective states, while avoiding public display of divisions and disputes for prominent posts in the party.


Although DMK chief Stalin has proposed Rahul as the future PM, in a flourish of flattery,  the other worthies pretended not to hear. Rahul too has kept his cool. His party men also should do like wise. Let the exemplary actions of the Congress party men across the country speak, unlike Chennithala and Congress  breed in Kerala, failing to take Rahul’s firm stand for gender equality(Rahul’s private view?), respect for Supreme Court, national unity and brotherhood as Indians and practical steps for job creation for the jobless youth.


Presidential Election? No!

There was also talk among ruling sections and their sympathizers  to conduct the 2019 elections in Presidential style between Modi and Rahul, one to one, to their advantage, as Modi is an unparalleled orator. All know too well that Rahul is no match for such a gamble. What the country wants to know is: who is a better performer, who is an honest leader, who can be trusted and relied upon and who has some experience, specially bitter ones, in politics. Rahul had more than enough.

As we said earlier many times, there should be no talk now of who would be the next Prime Minister. The question now is to form a grand alliance and put their heads together to prepare a people friendly manifesto, practical, implementable and addressing crying needs of the country, specially for  the economically, socially and culturally backward sections of the land. The talk of selecting the next PM should start only after winning the 2019 elections and that for the most deserving and charismatic person among them to be chosen by secret ballot.

Most of all every one knows that in politics no individual or party is INVINCIBLE. Persons and so-called leaders with such hubris are detestable in politics. What people look for are leaders like Lal Bahadur Sastri, humble simple and too ready to serve and own up failures. Nehru who was an all rounder. On taking office he described himself as “Your First Servant” and  he proved it.


Cave cadas!

The illiterate Indian voters now know from experience how to differentiate between WISE cracks from  real CRACKS! ‘Cave cadas’! He whos thinks he stands firm on his feet, make sure, not to stumble and fall! james kottoor,  editor ccv


Please read below Sahay’s article in Deccan Chronicle


When the BJP was expecting to steamroll the Congress, it went for a six over mid-wicket. This alters not just the political lie of the land but national political dynamics as well as we approach the Lok Sabha elections.


Suddenly, the expectation has been given birth in the minds of the people — not just the political class — that a credible challenge to the Modi-Shah BJP has sprouted.


There is a sense of loosening up in the country — a feeling of normal breathing, a dispelling of the suffocation produced by the overt and persistent majoritarian actions of the Sangh Parivar elements which appeared to enjoy the indulgence of those who matter.


What form the riposte of the Opposition parties will assume in different states is all lively speculation now. The conceptual confusions that attended the very mention of the prospect of multiple parties combining to challenge the supposed masters of the game have dissolved.


The “hesitations of history” imposed on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by the circumstances of his birth and by Narendra Modi’s unremitting demonising of Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira and Rajiv Gandhi — magnified by leading media sections that praised even questionable moves of those in power — appear to have melted away.


The current Congress leader has demonstrably shaken off his fetters. Observers now note Mr Gandhi’s maturity, his gentleness (which stands out in such sharp contrast with the boorishness of many of his Sangh Parivar opponents), and his soft humour. These set him apart from his adversaries who had made the spewing of venom against political opponents routine.


Mr Gandhi has now even demonstrated that he is Prime Minister Modi’s equal in terms of what psephologists call the “strike rate”. If the BJP won 55 seats where Mr Modi campaigned in the recent elections, Mr Gandhi’s tally was 50 — not much to choose there. This hardly used to be the case earlier.


After providing evidence of grit on the campaign trail and political savvy in managing edgy Congress factions, the bane of the party, especially at election time, the Congress president should forgo the appellation “chor” or thief when speaking of the self-appointed “chowkidar” — the guard of the premises — of the nation. More restrained language will do our democracy a world of good.


Stooping low to emulate the leading lights of the BJP was never advisable. After the Congress’ major wins in a head-to-head contest with the BJP, this is now not even necessary in order to impress the “shirtless”, who may incline to rough speech to show machismo — the path favoured by the Hindu nationalists in recent times as they worked to mobilise large sections of society.


While it is true that those in power today (and some others) had reviled Mr Gandhi’s father in the same language, paying back in kind in such matters is not the civilised way, even if men like Donald Trump (and others) do this all the time. False delineations of words and actions of political opponents, a stock-in- trade of important ruling party politicians, is also a temptation best avoided.


It has become evident that the ruling party’s defeat in the recent state polls in three Hindi heartland states, which had played a vital part in the BJP’s famous win in the Parliament election of 2014, is attributable not so much to the functioning of the ruling party as to its leading demagogue and ideologue of the past five years.


More than the PM’s style of campaigning (galling though his reference to Sonia Gandhi as the “vidhwa” was), analysts of different shades are united in the view that rural distress was at the core of voter disenchantment. Allied to this crucial cause was the faltering unemployment data for nearly a five-year period, which was seen as Mr Modi reneging on a key promise.


The crisis in agriculture and falling unemployment were both fed by the demonetisation policy of 2016, a policy that Mr Modi had personally driven with single-minded devotion, cutting out all others in the political executive, and key advisers


Thus, barring the gainfully employed sections that form the backbone of the urban middle class, practically all sections of society had begun to nurse a grievance against the economic policies of the Modi government. This is a picture that was on view across Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.


Madhya Pradesh under Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s leadership appeared to resist the trend, but the psychological disequilibrium triggered in the lives of ordinary people by the policies of the Centre defined for Indians in a basic way the main motif of the recent Assembly elections.


Will the graph of the state elections be valid for the Lok Sabha poll? Aren’t issues debated at the Assembly level different from those raised in Lok Sabha elections? Analysis of polling data over time suggests that, generally, if the national election is held within about six months of Assembly polls, then the trend seen at the state level only intensifies in the Lok Sabha elections. And we saw in the recent elections that the key deciding factors were the Centre’s harmful policies, rather than those of the three state governments. Logically, this should continue to be valid in the Parliament election early next year.


Until recently, the RSS-BJP were seen as running the most fearsome election fighting machine in the world, which was at it round the clock, even when there were no elections. The polls in the Hindi-speaking states, which were the RSS-BJP’s special area of influence, have shown this to be a myth. The propaganda of invincibility was circulated by the RSS itself with the help of friendly sections of the media, some of whom even expanded this pedestrian hypothesis into a shaky theory in quickie books.


It was noteworthy in the Madhya Pradesh election that the BJP was bested by the Congress even in the state’s Malwa belt, where deep RSS influence has carried from even before Independence. For the main Opposition party, this reveals a favourable juncture. But there is nothing automatic in life or politics. Rahul Gandhi and his party have laid the groundwork. They need to show the skill and the wisdom to take forward the momentum. The BJP, the party in power, is hardly expected to be sitting on its haunches.

*Anand Sahay is a senior journalist based in Delhi.

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