The politics of our nation works out in the manner of a wheel. A figure or a party rises and reaches glory, many a times at the cost of others, only for time to move on and keep the wheel turning. The spoke that was up high comes low to make way for another spoke.
India has seen many rise to power. For the hungry, a country with a population of (now) 1.2 billion is a great source of power, being a voice to be heard and an identity which is not so easily ignore. Indira Gandhi found out, which in turn led to her rule still being referred to with awe. Atal Bihari Vajpayee also felt this power, having had the distinct honour of declaring India a fully nuclear capable state.
The BJP came to power in 2014. By their own account, they were given a overwhelming mandate by the country. With the march of progress, the elections also saw, thanks to technology, for the first time, an overwhelming involvement of some parts of society; most noticeably the youth. From the lowest party worker to Mr. Modi, no one could deny that their victory had something to do with the fact that for the first time, the youth were waking up to their franchise. For various reasons, ranging from identifying with the Hindutva ideology to the matter of development, the young and ambitious came out to vote in large numbers.
2 years on, and we see the same youth protesting in the colleges and university across the country. With assembly elections in various states coming in, they bring in mixed feelings for all concerned. The media of the country are having a field day reporting the shortcomings and achievements of all political sides concerned, making a pretty penny on the side. But what does the future hold for India?
The next general elections are scheduled for 2019. By far, one of the most important elections with India on the start of a boom in all socio-economic parameters. Our population will be set to have the highest number of working professionals in the world, also having nearly the largest population in the world. Business sectors, targeting the domestic markets are expected to tap in and pursue expansion. With a robust startup culture which has patronage from the establishment, the young guns of India are expected to take on the world with a gleam in their eyes.
As far as the political theatre is concerned, it is anything but as clear. The BJP, while celebrating the “vindication” as many see it, of their pro Hindutva and “nationalistic” politics, will have to contend with the ire of the very vote bank they won on. The Congress, in rout in nearly all the states, is expected to be a shadow of its former self, an pathetic excuse of what once was a formidable amalgamation of determination (Indira Gandhi) and experience (Jawaharlal Nehru). Then we have the wild card of Aam Aadmi Party, which saw a decisive comeback in Delhi and continues to make headlines, albeit it seems now for better reasons.
The 2014 General Elections can be seen as a testing ground, a learning for the society as it slowly realises the power of the vote. A power which the politicians fear and the bureaucrats scoff at from fatalistic cynicism. The question which arises, simple as it may sound but with far reaching consequences – will the people accept the power the democratic form of government bestows upon each and every citizen?
The answer to this question will only be answered with the results of those elections. But it also serves as food for thought for our political leaders to ponder on. What was once an easy game of vote banks is slowly but surely changing to result oriented governance. Above all, it is changing to governance which is being watched for all the good, or bad, it does.
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar