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Friday, March 31, 2023

What Does Opposition Have to Offer in LS 2019, Except ‘Defeat Modi’ Call?

There seems to be a deep desire on part of many, primarily those called Bharat’s old elite, that an individual called Narendra Modi should be defeated in the 2019 elections. The fact that they rarely use the name of the party he represents, namely the Bharatiya Janata Party, could give an impression that if there was someone other than Modi heading it, perhaps the party is acceptable, but not the individual!

In a democracy, a political party, or even an individual, seeks votes from people based on what the party (or the individual) will do to improve the lives of the people and how the party (or the individual) will protect the interests of the nation. Hence, people really vote for an agenda, and not for a party or an individual. The party or the individual comes into the picture because the agenda has to be articulated and the people informed that the implementation will be as per their desire.

This was quite obvious in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and most of the state and the local elections that followed. For the Lok Sabha, the BJP increased the number of votes that it got from about 90 million in 2009 to about 200 million in 2014 – a massive increase of 220%. It is not just the percentage increase, but also the absolute number of votes that reflect the mood change, and a clear desire to move away from the old elite.

But as some analysts have observed, the old elite are fighting back because they find that they are losing their relevance. Sadly, their method of resistance is based on lies and fake analysis. They have been so used to privileges that they have been grabbing so far, privileges that gave them social importance far in excess of their merit and pecuniary advantages far in excess of their worth, that they cannot see a world where they have to really work hard to keep themselves relevant to the needs of the Samaj.

Please read this article by Barkha Dutt, and then my comments below. And while reading it, please remember that it is not only Dutt who is thinking in this way, but also many others. Rajdeep Sardesai’s tweet is an example:


Nowhere in the article by Dutt is there any mention about what the opposition has to offer to the people. Namely, in what way will they improve the lives of the people from what they have today. Will children get a better education? Will the roads be better? Will there be more access to electricity? Will Bharat make more contribution to the world community in economic terms? Will Bharat’s advantage in soft power be better exploited? Will social harmony improve? And, many such questions.

In democracies, sometimes elections are contested on a single issue. In 1977, the people at large just wanted those who had indulged in the excess of the emergency of the previous two years, to be defeated. However, they also expected that the new dispensation would give good governance. And when this expectation was belied, the people brought back those who made them suffer from 1975 to 1977, with a hope that the lessons had been learnt and the horrible mistakes of the past would not be made. In a sense, it was a case of choosing the better of two evils.

In the present case, Dutt’s starting point is that Modi is unadulterated evil. (Okay, I am exaggerating, but not by much.) Hence she is saying anything will be better, and so there is no need to present an agenda to the people and answer the questions posed above. Perhaps she thinks that once the ‘evil’ is done away with, the new dispensation will deal with the questions, and Bharat will once again be a land of milk and honey.

However, people can decide on this when it is clear what the agenda of the opposition is, and the individuals who will take a lead in implementing the agenda. Mere pious thoughts will not be sufficient. People voted on a single issue in 1977, and the results are known.

For Dutt to implore that the opposition to Modi should go into the next election without any clear announcement about the leadership, including the one who is likely to be the prime minister, raises the following question: for whom will it be the land of milk and honey? For the people at large? Or for the old elite, that is also variously called Lutyens’ elite, the Delhi Darbaris, the Nehruvian elite? So, instead of merely saying ‘defeat Modi’, would it not be better for these elite to say how the country will be better off without Modi as the prime minister?

I am sure people are looking forward to Dutt and Sardesai enlightening them on this subject.

(Featured Image Source)

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Ashok Chowgule
Ashok Chowgule
Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.


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