2012 Assembly Elections: Stray Thoughts

I find psephology tedious. At a level, it reduces democracy to a savage farce of a triumph of numbers over ideas, ideals, even philosophy. But the times we live in makes it a necessary evil and like everybody else, I give that evil its due. I consume psephological data at a bare minimum: I abhor trend-spotting, and analysis of every vote polled and every seat won or lost or retained. Out of the wisdom gleaned from experience, I’ve placed my faith in the historical sense and it has served me well. In this case—I know it’s easy to say this in hindsight but it’s true—I was fairly sure that Uttar Pradesh would go to the Samajwadi Party and Goa, to the BJP. I didn’t pay much attention to the three other states that went to polls. As far as these two states are concerned, there was simply no other way it could have happened.

First, Uttar Pradesh: I won’t peddle the now-familiar and banal media and pundit-theories about castes and formations and campaign strategies for a very fundamental reason, which has to do with the nature of politics that’s in vogue. It’s the politics of divide and rule. It’s the politics of deception, which has been elevated to an art form to such a vile degree of refinement that everybody has taken it for granted and nobody even questions it anymore.

Needless, it is the Congress party that sowed the seeds of this deception whose harvest it reaped till that fatal and irreversible defeat in 1989 at the hands of the same Mulayam Singh Yadav (then Janata Dal), whose party (now, SP) won so spectacularly today. However, Mulayam’s tenure back then was short-lived in face of the wave of resurgent Hinduism that altered the entire political landscape as well as because the Congress party yanked the rug off under poor Chandrashekar’s feet in Delhi. And then it was the BJP’s turn at the UP helm. If the Congress party lost due to sheer arrogance—as is its wont pretty much whenever and wherever it’s in power—the BJP lost due to infighting and its penchant for scoring self-goals. Forget Chief Ministership, it never returned anywhere close to electoral respectability after 2002. Ever since, UP became a football alternating between the BSP and SP. In other words, the two national parties were rendered irrelevant in a state that gave India most of its Prime Ministers. This mini history lesson holds an important instruction: both the BSP and SP needed some 15 years to groom themselves. Once that was done, they had perfected the art of gaming the numbers-system in UP in a way the Congress and the BJP hadn’t done and are unlikely to do anytime in the near future. The comparison of UP to Tamil Nadu is both fair and warranted: in TN, this numbers-game had been perfected more than three decades ago largely because the “Dravidian(sic)” identity brainwashing had begun in pre-Independence days followed by the anti-Hindi (which translated to anti-Congress) agitation and the rest. The SP and BSP script was different, tailored to local climatic conditions. Thus, it doesn’t matter that Mayawati is voted in because the UP junta was fed up of Mulayam’s goonda raj and the same junta votes her out because she’s perceived as arrogant and megalomaniacal. Thus, it doesn’t matter that the same goonda raj was in full display today, the very day SP won. As for the national parties, the BJP simply wasn’t in the reckoning while the Congress party was smashed to bits in both its home grounds: Rae Bareli and Amethi. 

Now, Goa is a state that holds a record for political instability with 14 governments in 15 years. Yet, it voted in an indisputably clean Manohar Parrikar as Chief Minister only to lose him to the Congress party’s practiced skullduggery. For which the people of and Mother Nature in Goa paid dearly. The gory story of the rape and loot of Goa under the active watch of the Congress party is only too well-known to repeat here. It would have been a surprise if the result was anything less than an absolute rout of the Congress party.

Which brings us to the arch-villain of these Assembly elections: the English media. The English media no longer cares for things like shame simply because it knows that the public knows that it’s firmly on the Dynasty’s side. So it went right ahead and campaigned for the Congress party. Right from cleaning up after Rahul’s mess as early as during the Bhatta Parsaul episode. And then when he landed from that perfumed Pushpakcopter, it opened fire and assaulted us relentlessly, sans a commercial break, making it appear as though the UP elections was only about His Impending Coronation. Like I’ve always maintained, if you thought something was the lowest that anybody could plumb, the media manages to prove you wrong every single time. And so we ransacked the lexicon to find an appropriate word to describe a Sheela Bhatt who wrote stuff about how Priyanka Gandhi is:

…the fair-skinned, graceful, lady from the Nehru-Gandhi family….the most charismatic member of the first family of the Congress party. She is sheer magic when seen through the eyes of a television camera in news footage…Her slim figure, her flawless European skin tone, her thick black hair and her resemblance to her grandmother Indira Gandhi is accentuated by the camera and loved by the television viewing urban middle-class. Every time she is shown on television screens, the myth around her deepens…No doubt, through the camera lens, she emerges as the beautiful mix of grace, wisdom and spontaneity. Her charm is evident when she responds to television journalists’ nagging questions.

And when the lexicon gave up on us, the next involuntary response was…well, the word starts with “V” and its synonymn starts with “P.” In UP 2012 polls, no other party existed. Hell, no other Congress party candidate existed for these paid pen-pushers who committed journalistic perjury right from the poll run-up to today. What these pen-pushing party pamphleteers didn’t disclose was the fact that the Congress party’s fate was sealed the day those “backward” village women questioned the selfsame slim-figured, fair-skinned, black-haired embodiment of Nehru-Gandhi Family charisma, “kaa bitiya teen saal ke baad aai ho phir teen saal ke baad aaogi?”

If there’s anything you need to praise the media for, it is its well-honed capability for dressing up denial as fact. The media has successfully kept the Congress party in denial mode about its weakness and failings, the standard hallmarks of an accomplished sycophant. Thus, despite Rahul Gandhi’s belated—and fake—admission that the UP defeat was his responsibility, the media will manage to find a yarn that will tie the Congress party’s rout in UP to Narendra Modi.

It is this infinite capacity for denial that blinds the media to Manohar Parrikar’s deserved victory. Goa is the only state to post a record voting turnout of 81%. It is also the state where the BJP fielded 5 Christian candidates, all victorious. Manohar Parrikar is the exactly the kind of man that the media loves: the only IIT graduate set to become Chief Minister for a fourth term. He is cultivated and non-corrupt with a record of good governance. Oh and he speaks English. Yet, all he—and Goa—gets is a perfunctory “electoral victory” coverage while the Prince’s grief is mourned as a national tragedy (earlier today, Barkha Dutt was almost choking at Rahul Gandhi’s plight). No prizes for guessing why. 

Now you see why I said psephology reduces democracy to a savage farce of a triumph of numbers over ideas and ideals? Corrupt but powerful losers find handmaidens who make sorry excuses on their behalf. Goonda Raj returns in the garb of electoral victory. Genuine do-gooders get ignored. The nation loses yet again.

41 comments for “2012 Assembly Elections: Stray Thoughts

  1. Manu
    April 3, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    menka, did anyone ever told you that you are extremely dumb?

  2. Amit
    March 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    If you have links in your comment, sometimes, the comment goes into moderation. I usually include links without the “http” in my comments and that posts the comments right away.

  3. Ranger
    March 16, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Sandeep, why are my comments going under moderation ?

  4. Ranger
    March 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    A comment on today’s budget :

    Manmohan Singh changed India completely by introducing economic reforms in 1991. He was the biggest hero of the Indian middle class. But today, Singh is a lameduck prime minister. Instead of delivering on economic reforms and furthering liberalization, he is just about trying to survive in his chair by pandering to the worst statist and socialist proclivities of his boss Sonia Gandhi and her jholawallah gang at the NAC. He knows what he is doing is wrong, he knows he is ending the so-called “India story” by taking India back to the worst days of 1970s license-control-quata Raj, he knows he is damaging his own legacy, he knows he will henceforth be known as the man who put an end to the hopes of India being a superpower rather than one who gave such ambitions birth in the first place.

    But like a typical bureaucrat, he does not care. He only wants to stay in his job. Nation be damned.

    And by the way, if today’s budget does not put an end to our foolish hopes of becoming a “superpower”, I will be surprised. Today’s budget was an acknowledgement by the government that it does not care about what the current economic situation is, it will just go about its merry ways, transferring productive money to non-productive causes, robbing Peter to pay Paul… and since in India there are lot more Pauls who vote than Peters, it will win every forseeable election, thus guaranteeing power for the next 5-6 generations of Gandhi-Maino dynasty. Meanwhile the nation called India will turn into a large scale version of Somalia – but really, who cares ?

  5. ava
    March 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    @malavika
    The vernacular press as you said is more representative of public opinion in India, the english papers are read by a tiny English speaking elite, but unfortunately rags like TOI do influence opinion, especially the foreign media which mostly gets its news about India from sources like the TOI…I had a friend who was in the media business, he told me that basically it is a business and the news is about publishing what people want to hear, what sells just like any other business. What is sad about the TOI is that it is at the level of the National Enquirer yet is considered an important newspaper….

  6. Kathil Dev
    March 15, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    anup,

    your definition of porn fits TOI. Check out the description of cleavage in Wikipedia. you also seem to have no objection to the other part of ava’s description – that TOI is a Congress mouthpiece.

  7. Malavika
    March 15, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    @Ava,

    I call TOI the ‘soft porn lady of Bori Bunder’. We don’t get this rag because it is utter trash and besides we have kids in our house. It is vernacular press which is far better than the English Language mafia. And vernacular press has better better reach.

  8. anup
    March 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Ava,

    Are you sure it means nothing? You are close to answering your own question. Hint: ToI is one of India’s largest newspapers.

  9. ava
    March 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Anup,
    The toilet paper of India peddles low grade content, just because dumb folks read it tailored to suit their poor tastes and enrich the business farts who publish it and make a buck out of their stupidity does not mean anything.

  10. anup
    March 15, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    My dear Baba ji,

    The usage of porn was metaphorical, hmm? You and Ava have a shared neural connection, eh? Or perhaps you are right, I really do not understand this metaphorical language that you speak of.

    “ToI reduces our historical….. “. Do I notice an undercurrent of a sentiment that metaphorically reads as “my milkshake… it’s better than yours” (hamaari sanskriti in logon ki sanskriti se toh acchi hain); pardon my clumsy attempt as I try to learn the metaphorical ways around here. Make no mistake about this, ToI wouldn’t be in circulation if there wasn’t a demand in the society for such publications. Why try to create a boogieman?

  11. Baba Hamza
    March 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Should be addressed to @Anup, not @Amit

  12. Baba Hamza
    March 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    @Amit
    And you, sir, don’t understand metaphor.
    The Slimes of India reduces our historical, social and political arena to a playground of emotionless f*ckfest, where the only relations that can exist between people, societies and cultures is who is f*cking who.
    Please sir, spare me from trying to explain further.

  13. anup
    March 15, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    Ava,

    You probably do not understand the meaning of porn. And you seem to be repeating nonsense spouted by someone else.

    Dictionary meaning of porn: “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.”

    Do you get a special edition of the Times of India by any chance that really does contain porn? If so, please share details.

  14. ava
    March 14, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    I don’t see Mats carping. The toilet paper of India is a Congress mouthpiece and mostly peddles porn, this is common knowledge, there was a time when this was actually a readable paper……

  15. mats
    March 14, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    I don’t understand the logic of this writer’s carping. The English media, from the Hindu to TOI, was all over the place putting down Congress for its poor performance in UP and Goa. It is either that the author sees only what he wants to see in what he reads, or that he reads only what he thinks fits his story.

  16. Jooske
    March 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Kangaroos in Karnataka?

    The clamour for a Lok Pal.

    “This episode should remind us, once again, that there are no short cuts or miracle cures to fighting corruption. The populist demand for the Lok Pal comes with a thinly disguised contempt for constitutional processes and legal niceties.”

    http://acorn.nationalinterest.in/2012/03/09/no-kangaroos-in-karnataka/

    Justice Santosh Hegde should be aware of the saying- that you cannot dispense justice with an eye on the clock.

  17. Ranger
    March 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    You guys can thank me later, but here are a couple of MUST-READ articles by a former IAF officer called Air Marshal Nehra on why hindus were beaten militarily in the past.

    http://www.sify.com/news/how-hinduism-destroyed-the-military-news-books-kjnpc1febeb.html
    http://www.sify.com/news/how-hinduism-destroyed-the-military-part-ii-news-national-kjnpu9iibhd.html

    The above are excerpts from his book, “Hinduism and Military Ethos”. Its a very expensive book, costs 2500 Rs on Flipkart. If you have the money buy it, please. I personally can’t.

  18. March 10, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    CONCLUSIONS ON THE UP ELECTION (By Patrick French – Indian Historian)

    1. Somebody’s son did better than somebody else’s son.

    2. The disjuncture between national & local grows. National vote patterns are not replicated at state level. 2012 does not predict 2014.

    3. Voters are less inclined than they used to be to vote along caste/ community/ religious lines; and more women turned out to vote.

    4. UP belongs to the SP and the BSP; the rest are also-rans.

    5. A closing thought: In India’s first general election, Congress won 81 out of 86 seats in UP.

    Unrelated – Lok Sabha’s top models – http://www.wahsarkar.com/2012/03/lok-sabha-honours-list-our-most-useless-mps/

  19. Avinash
    March 9, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    menka, >>>>>>>>>>>this trend may continue in all states tomorrow and regional parties will gain which will result in anarchy>>>>>>>>is this not what you have written above? Then what makes doomsayers like you happy about the prospect of BJP getting decimated? Any way the PM’s seat is reserved for the Amul Baby. All others are just day-dreaming.

    Like Calipha Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin ISI Malik, I also want India to become an Islamic Republic as soon as possible, so that the Indian Muslims can also enjoy like their counterparts are now enjoying in Pakistan, Afghanistgan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, etc.

  20. ItAcHi
    March 9, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    menka BJP will continue its abysmal performance unless as ranger suggested,pitch in for modi big time. Then it will be a huge loss or a huge win at centrestage.

  21. menka
    March 9, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Mr. Ranger

    Is it an acheivement to come at no.3 and get 47 seats? No. 3 or No.4 its one and the same. Anyway , why dont you give me your analysis of how BJP is capturing power and an analysis of state wise how it translates into seats ?

  22. Ranger
    March 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Menka… you are the guy who claimed that BJP finished 4th in UP after SP,BSP, Congress even after the results were announced. You have no credibility. Shoo, troll.

  23. menka
    March 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Mr. Chakri

    Congress can get zero. How does it matter ? I find this logic very childish because time and again you derive happiness in someone else coming behind you. Same thing happened in U.P. BJP’s only consolation is congress did worse than them. People here have been commenting as if its a foregone conclusion that BJP will win in 2014 with Modi at the helm. So, if that is so, why are you bothered about the numbers of congress? Give me the numbers of BJP and prove they are going to win.

  24. chakri
    March 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    menka…. can you pls enlighten us how many would con-gr-ass get. With the same logic you applied.

  25. menka
    March 9, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Ramgun you are correct. Let us analyse each big state and see where BJP stands in 2014.

    Assam – A little gain than last time if allied with some local party.

    A.P – Zero seats because TDP will come back strongly and naidu is dreaming about leading fourth front. He wont talk to BJP let alone have alliance.

    T.N – Jaya is another contender for fourth front and BJP alone is a big zero there.

    Kerala – Zero.

    Karnataka – Will lose terribly.

    W.B- 1 or 2 seats at the maximum

    Gujarat – Let us give all 26 seats to BJP here since people think Modi is bound to get them.

    U.P – At the maximum 10 seats or less.

    M.P – Another 10 seats

    C’garh – Zero

    Orissa – 2 seats

    Bihar – Nitish is itching for a way out and become PM contender. So, perhaps on own another 6 seats

    J and K – Zero

    Rajasthan – Only gain apart from delhi perhaps so let us say 20 seats

    Delhi – 5 seats

    H.P – Zero

    U.K- Zero

    Punjab – 3

    Maha – 10 seats

    Haryana – Zero

    Other N.E states – Zero

    So, the total seats which they can get is 94 not even 100. And people here are dreaming of BJP government. HAHAHAHAHA.

  26. shreesha
    March 8, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    (earlier today, Barkha Dutt was almost choking at Rahul Gandhi’s plight). No prizes for guessing why.

    LOL :-)

    I hope the second sentence also to be inside the braces….

  27. Hrishi
    March 8, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    There used to be a great bastion of Democracy – they broke a Wall as a symbolism to breach the boundary to let people out (wonder why people risked lives to climb over and run away before that…) They had wonderful individual rights, freedoms, and economic prosperity..

    It was called German Democratic Republic…ROP and ROL are so full of PEACE and LOVE; wonder when the walls will be breached or will crumble and fall away (sigh)

  28. Amit
    March 8, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    Avinash, I hope you figured out that my comment was tongue-in-cheek. I’m in agreement with what you wrote in your earlier comments.

  29. Dheeraj
    March 7, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Dear All,

    In My view the SP’s win is mainly because of 2 reasons
    1) Hugh Anti – BSP sentiments ( same that existed in 2007 against the SP, which gave same power to BSP )

    2) 1000 INR for unemployment (students and young thought it was for them and voted for t hat ). Now that we know it can not be done, as people expected. SP will give conditions like Age > 35 and less than xx etc etc.

    People of UP could not make out that SP and BSP, both are very old archaic parties with no difference in reality in ideology and leaderships. The 2012, the change was expected towards more progressive and Visionary parties like BJP or INC, But it seems people thought that let us give one more chance to SP, before concluding that SP and BSP both are same

  30. Avinash
    March 7, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Amit, I know that very well. Some followers of the Religions of Peace peacefully chopped-off the hand of a follower of Religion of Love in Kerala a few months back.

  31. Amit
    March 7, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Avinash, don’t you know that “Religion of Peace” and “Religion of Love” – as indicated by their names – can never be communal? How can Love and Peace be communal? These are secular values, common to all humanity. It’s only Hinduism which is communal.

  32. Avinash
    March 7, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    @ menka, single party rule at Delhi Sultanate ended with the massive majoirty the late Rajiv Gandhi got in 1984. Ever since no party has formed a Govt at the Centre without the help of the Regional Parties.

    BJP getting elected in some States/Seats despite our print and audio-visual media making them larger than life Monsters itself is a big mircale.

    Though it was the late Mr. J.L.Nehru who had abandoned Assam during 1962 war with China (search for Nehru’s “Withdrawal Speech” to the people of Assam), the “Commies” are traitors. The allies of Congress party in Kerala have been Muslim League and Kerala Congress for the past several years but BJP is “communal”!

  33. Anand
    March 7, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Sheela Bhatt could try her hand at authoring erotic fiction. She seems to have a natural talent for that kind of stuff.

  34. Ranger
    March 7, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Future name suggestions for the troll :

    Ganapathi

    Shakuntala

    Mika

    Mamta

    Vishwa

    Kalpana…

    When the troll uses the above nicks and still wants more, I will give more suggestions.

    Dhanyavaad.

  35. rajkumar
    March 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    hi,
    ramgun is right. no has every, i guess, written why bjp lost in up from height in 1992 to 2012 ?
    any post on this wd be very much needed.. post on politics needed..why poeple voted in x and voted out x.. but we must cut the crab or generalistation like better man management,etc..
    WHY DONT THE MBC,UPPERCASTES OF UP NOT POLARISE AGAINST YADAVS 15% WHO ALLY WIT H MUSLIMS 19% TO GET POWER ?

  36. V A Krishnan
    March 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Your thoughts are well-said and I don’t wonder why the MSM do not express differently (I mean, conduct themselves to true journalism). They will remain paid pen-pushers forever; For Rahul Gandhi, now the entire Congress Senior Pros claim that it was merely a fillip to the Royal Son’s plan of long overhaul and therefore the Congress tally remaining in the same tens of numbers in UP assembly was almost, as if expected. The problem with these Senior Pros is serious lack of their own identity amongst the voters and in a way, they hence are the seniors in the party. Name them, Digvijay, PC, Pranabda, Khurseed or any other name at the Government or party, never find a mention beyond their constituencies; not to speak of MMS who’s just a tenant-in-question in some far-east Assam by-lane. So their survival instincts go for Rahul’s rescue whose family owns the party. But with BJP, we can still hope for better days, only that we need good leadership at the state level like UP, Maharashtra and Karnataka to notch up their claims for 2014 episode.

  37. ramgun
    March 7, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Well said menka

    The disaster in UP and other states is more worrisome for BJP than it is for Congress. Without UP, BJP cannot even dream of coming to power in centre again – what with its near absence in several other states like Kerala, TN, much of North East, AP. These are all states from which Congress can expect a decent MP strength.

    BJP has royally screwed up UP (which was once its strength). It has messed around with several leaders and their associated caste equations. But hasnt managed loyalty of a single caste or region of the state. It also managed Punjab only on the back of an SAD wave. Gen Khanduri lost his own seat in Uttarakhand

  38. menka
    March 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    It is time the supporters of congress and BJP did some serious introspection. One can go on arguing about caste and money power but the pertinent question to be asked here is : Why could not one of these parties take advantage of the anger against maya? Congress may not have the organisation on the ground but what about the BJP ?

    BJP’s performance needs to be analysed carefully and in great detail. They have performed miserably and the only consolation is congress has done worse. BJP”s performance is their worst since 1989, infact their vote share which was constant for the last 10 years has also gone down. In many of the right wing blogs, people were saying ramdev will help BJP, khushwaha will bring in OBC’s etc,. What happened? In fact, in one the blogs, one person was praising gadkari for his shrewd distribution of seats to those who will definitely win.

    The simple truth is BJP was never in the reckoning in U.P. The blog master is heaping abuses at the media for praising rahul but is this the time for that?

    If you people including the blog master are genuine supporters of BJP, you will try to do serious introspection because this trend may continue in all states tomorrow and regional parties will gain which will result in anarchy. Their outlook is a narrow minded, myopic one which will not augur well for the country.

  39. raman
    March 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    The UP verdict is just continuation and not return of the “goonda raj”. Mayavati was an equally big goonda or whatever is female version of goonda!! But the real tragedy is this is an an out and out victory for “muslim appeasement.” I really wonder what this country is heading for.

  40. Not a Modi Ass-kisser
    March 7, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    So the media writes extensively about how Rahul Gandhi-led Congress has suffered a massive loss in the UP elections and in your warped mind, you see this as pandering to the Congress party? If they hadn’t given it enough coverage, you would have written about how the media is ignoring the Congress losses.

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  41. Prakash
    March 7, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    Not that I disagree with all the points of your post; but media coverage of results of Goa and Manipur were both, to borrow a word from you, perfunctory. B.Dutt’s congress loyalty not withstanding, states like Goa and Manipur dont get that kind of mention that a UP or Bihar do, because there is a tendency to weigh states based on the Lok sabha seats they have. UP has 80-odd and Bihar has 40. In fact on NDTV, Roy referred to even Punjab as a small state (13 seats). Manipur and Goa have 2 each. So even though in assembly elections its significant to qin any state, the media (and even viewers) tend to give more importance to the big states since the bigger states have more impact during the next general elections. BJP swept Goa, congress swept manipur, but those will just mean 2 seats for each in 2014. BJP themselves, in private, would be way more thrilled if they had won more seats in UP than sweeping Goa. Same with congress with respect to manipur. Mainstream english media has a congress bent, but the perfunctory coverage of goa is not the best example.

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