Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly Election : Arrogance slapped

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends first ‘press conference’, answers no questions When journalists raised questions, Modi diverted them to party president Amit Shah

Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly Election : Arrogance slapped

The poll results of the Haryana and
Maharashtra Assembly as well as by-polls in about 52 constituencies across the
country are out and wronged the pollsters as well as the arrogant
‘spokespersons’ on the Manu stream media who were out and out ‘determined’ to
‘decimate’ the opposition. In any democracy, if we wish to strengthen it,
people must ensure that a healthy opposition remains in the Parliament and
Assemblies to make the government accountable. In the absence of opposition,
media would have done the job as it is doing so powerfully in the United States
as well as other Western world but unlike them, the casteist Manustream media
has become one of the ‘specialised’ branches of the Sangh Parivar whose job is to spread
‘fake-news’ and have debate based on it, distort facts and deny people their
right to correct information.

I have always mentioned that no
party, whatever, its strength is, can win elections on the basis of the
propagandist media because, it is running the show on the guidelines of RSS
ideologues and therefore has no time to send to reporters to the ground to get
a feel. In fact, reporters who go to the ground, is not as a journalist whose
job should be to remain impartial and probing particularly to the deeds of the
ruling party, our media probe the ‘misdeeds’ of the opposition and if any one
challenge them or ask accountability from them, they ‘lynch’ them during their
‘prime time’ ‘puppet show’. 

Most of them were doing more than
what can be afforded at ‘national channels’.

They had pre-election surveys and
spent lots of time in their studios to abuse the opposition, to divide them,
confuse them. Every one of them had given verdict to finish the
opposition.  ‘Gandhis are done’.
‘Opposition wiped out’. Not satisfied with the surveys, there was a ‘surgical
strike’ too to ensure India-Pakistan binary remained in
the news and big ‘experts’ continue to do their ‘nationalistic’ work on
TV.  They won’t wait for the dead line of
the Election Commission and would do everything to influence the voters. As the
election time was over, all of them started again with their ‘exit’ polls with
their puppets speaking what they wish to deny people even right to ‘peace’. All
of ‘exit’ ‘experts’ gave BJP and Shiv Sena virtually two third majority in
Maharashtra and huge win in Haryana. Based on their ‘exit’ findings they had
already ‘broadcasted’ ‘End of Gandhi era’ and beginning of Modi 3.0.  We don’t know who suggest these headlines but
all these Sangh Parivar influenced or blessed party workers masquerading as journalists
are a disgrace in the name of journalism.

One channel goes berserk as its Exit
Poll has got the correct results.

Now, our opinion is that all these
polls should be banned. Either organize them three months before the polls or
before the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ and for the Exit Polls, there is no need as
we can always wait for the main results. We do you need an Exit poll when the
results are about to come but then you have huge Stata market based on
speculations and these Exit Polls are meant for that.

The current results have many
takeaways.

The attempt to divert people’s
attention from the issues facing them and putting them all the time in ‘national’
perspective will not be useful. If our political leaders are mature enough,
they can easily deflate the ‘national narrative’.

BJP wanted to sale Article 370,
Surgical Strike all the time to both Haryana and Maharashtra but it did not
work. Both states have a huge number of farmers too and their issues were never
addressed by the Prime Minister, Home Minister and local leaders.

BJP leaders have become arrogant to
shout down the others.

A completely inefficient leader like
Manohar Lal Khattar continue to be chief minister of Haryana where the Jat
discontent with BJP’s attempt to isolate them was growing. There was nothing
for the chief minister to show as his ‘achievements’ except for abusing and
accusing the opposition and talking about ‘how great India was”. Narendra Modi
while campaigning in Haryana ‘assured’ that he would not allow the Satluj water
to flow in Pakistan despite the known fact that legally India cannot do this as
per the guidelines of the International River laws.

In Maharashtra, the BJP was over
confidence of Devendra Fadnavis who too was harping on national issues. Prime
minister spoke about 370 and ‘challenged’ the opposition to oppose it.  During the elections, as usual, the BJP sent
Enforcement Directorate and IT officials to Sharad Pawar, who at this moment is
the tallest leader from Maharashtra. The attempt was to humiliate Pawar and
compel his supporters to desert him. A large number of NCP and Congress leaders
were made to resign from their parties and joined the BJP but the ‘Operation-
ED’ fell flat on the face of the BJP leaders and Sharad Pawar, as a matured
politician used it without speaking anything. Maharashtra leaders of all the
political parties felt an attack on Pawar was an attack on the ‘identity’ of
Maharashtra, particularly to that of Marathas who constitute about 30% of the
population.

BJP as a party is never known to speak about the issues of the poor.

BJP has nothing to explain to people about policies and governance. Its major focus is to influence the NRIs and caste Hindus and the sloganeering it engage in is about ‘greatness’ of India and a ‘powerful’, Ram Mandir, Article 370, India-Pakistan, Hindu Muslamaan. During the elections these issues were deliberately raised as Haryana has a large number of retired as well as serving army personnel and hence it attracted. It is not that the issue did not appeal but can’t be the sole issue. Both Maharashtra and Haryana results have one thing in common and that is the anger of the dominant communities in these two states. Marathas and Jaats have been with BJP and perhaps ignored the local issues but this time perhaps they realized that the BJP while trying to get their support was also backstabbing them. Since its inception, Jaats have been the main political force in Haryana but BJP has ‘successfully’ put a Punjabi Khatri as chief minister of the state who is unacceptable to them.  Most of Khattar’s ministers lost election showing how the people have given them a resounding slap very much similar to what happened to the arrogant ministers of the Devendra Fadnavis government yet they would not like to change Khattar who is RSS point man in Haryana. It is not that Indira Gandhi did not want strong leaders, it looks Amit Shah and Modi don’t want strong regional leaders to emerge in their party.

Congress was not really in the fray
in both the state. It looks party had already lost. In the political arithmetic
in Haryana, Congress had already lost the jaat support as it was not seen as
standing with Hooda, the tallest Jaat leader of the state. Rahul Gandhi’s card
of bringing a Dalit as the leader of the party in Haryana actually went against
the party. This also shows the caste realities of our country and how social
reforms can’t happen in the realm of politics. The Jaats who were already
disturb losing their power, would not side with a party where they don’t have
the leadership role. Second, Ashok Tanwar was no match to Hooda’s outreach and
the result is party failed. The late decision to give Hooda, charge of Haryana
along with Sailja paved the return of the jaat voters to the party but it may
not be permanent unless a Jaat is at the helm of the affairs of the party.
Jaats have no love relations with Congress but they never had a liking for the
Sangh Parivar except the specific efforts of the Sangh Parivar to woe them in
2014 onwards that they swayed in the nationalistic narratives of the BJP as a
huge number of them are in the armed forces. The fact is that BJP has cleverly
reduced the Jaat political representation in Western Uttar Pradesh which were
its dominant areas. Also, the BJP strategies are cleverly planned as it had
two-three big jaat groups in Haryana, it did not want to put its weight on them
entirely. Dushyant Chautala and their other family members ensured that Jaat
voters don’t reach Congress alone and remain fragmented much to the benefit of
the BJP.

In Maharashtra, NCP-Congress put a
great show and the credit goes to Sharad Pawar who tirelessly campaigned. The
two parties which are being blamed for playing spoilsports for Congress-NCP in
Maharashtra are VBA of Prakash Ambedkar and AIMIM of Asadduin Owaisi. VBA and
AIMIM had jointly fought the Lok Sabha election and secured one Lok Sabha seat.
This time, both broke and while VBA could not get a single seat, AIMIM got two
seats in Maharashtra and one in Bihar. The fact is that Muslims are feeling
deeply betrayed from the secular party and AIMIM and its leader are looking
decisive and well prepared to raise their issue. Asaduddin Owaisi, has been
raising the economic issues, and that of the Dalits and farmers. Both the
parties are being blamed for giving 30 odd seats to BJP as the vote got by
these parties was more than the margin of defeat but the question is why should
these parties be blamed. Is not it a fact that both got substantial chunk of
vote during Lok Sabha polls and even then, both Congress and NCP did not seem
to be bother too much about them? We know in politics; politicians have become
hard bargainers and in that the smaller parties are proving to be craftier than
the bigger one as they can switch over easily. Both VBA and AIMIM were ready to
talk to Congress but not really ready with NCP which is predominantly an upper
caste party. Both NCP and Congress failed miserably in Maharashtra because they
did not take VBA and AIMIM seriously. It is well understood that many time
politicians in their attempt to blackmail and bargain actually go beyond
rhetoric. Most of them judge their political strength beyond normal and hence a
possible alliance is impossible with Machiavellian politicians.

India is definitely in the coalition
age and all members will have to judge themselves honestly to come for an
alliance. Democracy in this country is not really for the sake of democracy but
representation of communities and leaders. BJP has woven a better community
alliance everywhere which is making it successful. Powerful communities are
looking for their share in power, they are craving for bigger positions.
Marathas and Jats felt left out in the political structure have switched allegiance
because they found powerful leaders at the helm of top positions in party.
Congress will have to develop stronger regional leaders added with strong sense
of social justice and minority representation as in the absence of all of this,
they will never gain trust of various communities. The defeat of NDA in Bihar
reflect that all is not good for Nitish Kumar and RJD and other opposition
parties will make it difficult for him in the coming Assembly polls. In Uttar
Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav has proved that he is the better bet to counter Yogi
Adityanath. He needs to build the Samajwadi Party and get rid of the middlemen
who don’t have any ideological strength of the party. As far as BSP is concern,
the lesser said about it the better. Rather than introspecting on her politics,
Ms Mayawati continue to blame others for her defeat. Kerala is out of reach of
NDA at the moment so is Tamilnadu.

These results have several messages
for all.

That media will be used to divert
attention and steal the mandate. All the opposition leaders should boycott
media and may be file a petition in the Supreme Court for a comprehensive
guideline on media ethics. Pre poll surveys should only be allowed prior to
election notifications and exit polls should be completely banned.

Modi and Shah will continue to harp
on ‘nationalistic’ ‘narratives’ with the help of media. It is not true that
their ‘efforts’ have failed. It is true that they have won despite no factual
pro people works visible prove that people are still fancied by these
narratives including 370 though it won’t work fully if there is a good counter
narrative on the massive economic failures of the government. The opposition
needs to counter them with local narrative and expose the lies being spread in
the name of abrogation of 370 and Kashmir.

The bigger parties need to develop
better strategic alliances and honor the smaller parties. Attempt to discredit
them will only push them towards the Hindutva. Just blaming political parties
not in alliance with them as B team of BJP will not work.

The B team argument can easily work
on Congress Party too as it has failed to prove ideologically that it is
different than BJP. How is it going to take the minorities and the marginalized
along with it? The non-acceptability of a Dalit president by the dominant Jats
in Haryana reflects the ideological crisis of the Congress party.  The elections show that BJP is not invincible
yet it is also time to be alert all the time particularly the issue of EVMs is
not going to die that soon.

And end of the day, political parties
must clear their position on social, economic, cultural, foreign affairs issues
and need their effective propaganda machinery. It can’t just respond to the
issues but also clarify various issues. For parties like Congress, it is not
merely to condemn the government but also introspect their own follies in the
past. Unless Congress accept that it did make mistakes and its stand on various
issues remained ambiguous, it won’t be able to win the confidence of minorities
and the marginalized. It needs to talk to various social groups and also allow
the other parties to flourish. One thing is for sure that India cannot be
prisoner of a few political parties and we will have to admit that such a huge
country like us, communities and groups will always attempt to get fair
representation and when bigger national parties fail to provide them fair
representations, they will find their own way and there is nothing wrong. It is
for the parties to develop long term alliances and not merely on the eve of
elections. If we are able to do that, it will help in long term. Is it possible
for Congress and other political parties to build state wise alliances for the
2024 elections and raise people’s issues both in and outside the Parliament and
assemblies? I am sure, the result can be beyond the imaginations of the
pollsters. The people in this country have from time to time taught arrogant rulers’
big lessons and one should not be surprise watching these results that the most
arrogant politicians got humiliated in the worst form. It is time for all to
remain on the ground, raise people’s issues, stop attempting to speculate
results and build alliances. If each sector work according to the norms and
ethics, democracy would get strengthened which is not merely elections but as a
culture which build modern India based on constitutional ethics and norms.

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

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