I attended a Narendra Modi election campaign rally in Hyderabad on 1st April 2019. I came out of the rally enlightened not so much about the governance but about what drives our country and what does not.
Here are the 5 observations from the rally. Please note that these are not about Narendra Modi per se, or for that matter about BJP either.
Political analysts/commentators do not attend an election campaign rally
The so-called political experts keep crying hoarse on TV and digital media. They try to dictate the terms of the political discourse in the country through their newspaper columns and articles. These arm-chair critics of Indian media claim that they know the direction the political winds blow, ought to blow and predict the outcome.
Just that they get all their electoral forecasts and mood of the electorate spectacularly wrong.
Why would this happen? These so-called knowledgeable authorities on public opinion are driven by their own beliefs and what they hear within their ivory towers from people like their own selves.
For if these renowned pundits attended any of the election campaign rallies, they would know who the voting electorate is, what they want, what their priorities are and what they will vote for.
The voting electorate attends the election campaign rally
What would be the significance of the election campaign rally in today’s context? It is very high.
Who would be the people who would vote on the voting day? Broadly, it is just the two types of people and both attend the election campaign rally. The first kind of people who vote are the people who get paid to vote. The same people also get paid to attend the rally and make up the numbers. The second type of people who vote are the ones who do so of their motivation and drive to vote. The same people also turn up at the rally on their own without getting any tangible benefit.
The people, who attend the stand-up comedian’s show, show their angst on Twitter, are active in drawing room discussions and on digital media, busy in passing verdicts on electoral outcomes are not the people who vote. Coincidentally, these people also do not attend an election campaign rally.
The political leaders know this more than anyone else and this explains their behaviour and utterances.
Election campaign rally shows the position of the general public vis-a-vis the politicians
Ever wondered why the Indian politicians never end up doing any good for the general public? Ever wondered why the general public is so tolerant of their political masters who do no good?
In the rally, the general public gets to sit in scorching sun whereas the political leaders are on a grand podium with coolers all-around. There is so much of a mismatch in the positioning of the two. Shockingly, both the participants are at peace with the status quo.
The same relationship gets extrapolated when political leaders get elected. They live in their huge palatial mansions and the general public continue to smell the sewers in their pigeon holes.
India has so many political leaders for elected representatives to look after
In any rally, there will be 3 rows of dozen odd chairs on the dais to accommodate the surfeit of political leaders. It will not be more than 5-6 people at maximum who would give a speech in any election campaign rally. But, there will be more than 30 political leaders on the stage.
In addition to this, there will be a VIP enclosure on the ground to accommodate further political leaders of the second rung. These breed – on or below the platform are easy to identify anywhere – The devil wears white.
The elected representative of any political party has to take care of the interests of all these people first. No wonder that these MPs / MLAs never finds time or inclination for any public good, for he is busy with the private good of his followers.
There are so many police personnel
Apart from traffic police resting in the tea-shop next to their traffic signals, actual police are never to be seen. Election campaign rally was swarming with police personnel. All of them in their uniforms, having smart-phones and surprisingly nothing else, not even a mandatory stick.
If anyone is dreaming about living in a digital world with hi-tech devices and modern technology, a look at these police personnel is enough to change the opinion that our protectors of the law are the beings of the by-gone era. I wonder apart from hanging onto the railings and panting, what value addition these people make, that too when frisking is contracted to private operators.
The election campaign rally seems to have remained rooted in the same past since the time of Indira Gandhi, if not Jawaharlal Nehru. Nothing seems to have changed.
For that matter, the fortunes of our country seem to have remained rooted in the same past since the time of Indira Gandhi, if not Jawaharlal Nehru. Nothing seems to have changed.
Wonder what has to give in, to make our lives any better.