When Mumbai was attacked in 2008 even the most loyal of the Congress Supporters felt that it was the last nail on the coffin for the beleaguered UPA-1. That was not the first time such a hair-raising misadventure had happened and most of the political pundits said that the next general election that were just months away would see the demise of the Oldest Party of India.
October 2005 brought death of 66 people in Delhi when three serial blast shook the capital out of the festive mood of Diwali, March 2006 saw attack on Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi, Malegaon happened in September, followed by Samjhauta in March 2007. May 2007 went red with blast in mosque in Hyderabad, July witnessed serial blasts in Jaipur, Gujarat and Bangalore. It did not end here. In September 2008 Delhi was struck again resulting in death of 18 civilians and then the mother of all, 26/11 Mumbai happened.
People had every possible ground to assess UPA’s falling fate.
This ‘carpet bombing’ of sort, in no way, substantiates any claim about a country that prides of being a resurgent, emerging, torch bearer and what not for the rest of the world.
But 2009 elections gave a new mandate to Congress, even better than what it had got in 2004. Congress was riding high. No one can definitely say as to why India voted for a party that had let them down in the previous 5 years.
Were we still evolving as electorates, easily vulnerable to the rhetoric, sweet talks and the goodies of a smiling Neta?
Did we vote on caste, creed and religious patterns? Did we see terror as something that can only be eradicated by the Grand Old Party of India. Didn’t we read the stormy blogs,the inspiring editorials castigating UPA in English dailies? What happened to the power of internet? Wasn’t bandwidth screaming DOWN the UPA whenever we read or wrote anything online?
We all saw and read about the realities of UPAs in-competencies. But the issue is how many constitute “we” here. In 2009, according to varied estimate India had 50 million internet users which roughly constitutes 5.1 percent of the whole population. The educated and the resourceful 5.1. And even that 5.1 finds it hard to come out and vote because of various factors.
Even though internet made us believe that the ‘whole’ of India and ‘every’ Indian was angry with UPA but the real thing was that the words ‘whole’ and ‘every’ were wrongly understood. The difference between Netizens and Citizens was forgotten.
Where there in no reach of the internet, like in the majority of Rural India, it is the other medium that works. Doordarshan, Vividh Bharti, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran may hold little value for us but they are the idea builders and conscience shapers of the mass. High-end Intellectualism does not cut much ice here, but a simple statement does.
For farmers, rickshaw pullers, laborers, domestic helps, the party is best that helps them financially. And Congress is an expert at that by way of doling out social schemes oriented towards the struggling class. These social class of people who are more in number than the educated class first seek to satisfy their primary needs of food and shelter. The rest of the desires like respect, a good way of life are too far up in the hierarchy.
For them, a BPL card is more important than NIA. And AADHAR is more dear than Agni. 2G doesnt make as much noise as MNREGA does.
It was a case of Shining India and Struggling India. And Struggling India triumphed.
Until and unless the social class that still struggles for two square of meal is given empowerment, by way of basic needs being easily fulfilled, one cannot expect them to participate in the dance of democracy that is scheduled for 2014 in a rational way.
Congress may continue to the Harakiri by allowing Digvijay Singh to speak in the most Hitler’ous way or it get down to business by focusing on the job of coming down hard on corruption and terrorism.
Absolving responsibility by accusing Judiciary, of indulging in over-reach, may be one way of doing the job but it certainly isn’t the right way and same holds true for the way it clamped down on Baba Ramdev.
Till the farmers in India are smiling, Congress will continue to dance. And keep it in mind that for some Congress leaders, Vidharbha does not constitute India. Or else, the farmers there would not have been dying.
What happened in Bihar or Gujarat may not be repeated at the national level. So to expect a clean sweep of NDA and a downfall of the UPA, will be too much of an expectation as of now.
And until and unless the opposition is able to reach out to the masses that reside in the Rural India and make them believe that they are a better option than Congress, it is the Congress that will form UPA-III in 2014. Whether you like it or not.
The netizens have already made up their mind to vote out UPA but to make the citizens realize the benefits of voting for the right person is a herculean task.
Still discovering who he is!