Assembly elections in UP and other states are around the corner. Desperate to stop Modi juggernaut, alliances are being made and unmade. Here is one in UP
UP's Mahagathabandhan =Akhilesh's SP-+Mulayam's old guard + -Congress + -RLD Other local parties too are coming together on 'secular' platform.
The pluses and minuses change daily like in a soap opera. The Yadav family drama has caught the fancy of our pseudo-everything main stream media. Very eager to see Modi humbled and bundled out, the media clutches at every tenuous thread to prop any challenger -Kejriwal, Hardik, Mayawati, Mamata, and Rahul being air dropped between his vacations. Media's latest knight in shining armour is Akhilesh.
The 'Theory of Akhilesh Win'
Media's 'Theory of Akhilesh Win' goes like this: SP faced anti-incumbency. With his bold gambit of throwing out old guard Akhilesh would overcome negative performance and image of his own government. The EC dutifully gives him the 'Cycle' instead of freezing the symbol. Akhilesh's youth and Muslim vote in pocket and some laptops would be enough to sweep aside Modi's BJP.
Then the soap opera's conductor adds a twist to the script. The father, the son, and the uncles would soon get together for a family selfie. Our media spinners spin a new sub-theory -Maulana's return would bring back Muslim votes which would have been captured by Mayawati.
Mayawati's vote trawler
She has a trawler with her vote-fishing net having 97 floats thrown out in UP's waters muddied by caste and Muslim factors. Mayawati stares at her fishing net's 97 bobbing nodes and wonders whether to focus on Muslims or her wads of SC votes.
Congress, seeking a semblance of relevance, declares its alliance with Akhilesh. Our media is ecstatic.
Politics is changing, opposition doesn't get it
This is how electoral politics has played out all along in India -deals, counter deals, back deals, reward the rebels, encash votebanks of castes and be very afraid of Muslim vote.
If one looks at the enthusiastic support by common people to demonetization, one knows that India under its PM's leadership has already changed and it is changing. When Modi exhorts BJP to be transparent about its funding, one can assume that he is throwing another challenge to the political class.
By this time, details of BJP MPs' and MLAs' cash deposits from November 8th to December 30th must be under processing.
Modi has irrevocably altered India's political economy. He is combining a revamped and bigger subsidy regime with a business-friendly environment and infrastructure development with boosting small and tiny businesses through Mudra loans. Demonetization, e-transactions and GST are ushering in a faster economy. A grocer, a shoe shine wala and every ordinary Indian have tasted the advantages of digital economy and what it means to get transfers of subsidies and payments directly in one's bank account. In rural households, LPG connections are replacing smoking chullahs. She knows that her 'notes' are safer in her bank than in her kitchen. She feels empowered and is no longer a beggar that the Congress had reduced her to be. She is a tough task master. Read more https://www.myind.net/silent-revolution-going-indias-noisy-democracy
Right under the nose of opposition political parties and media, Modi is transforming India's politics too. While they are creating fiction of intolerance, church attacks, and Dalit deaths, India's politics is changing from job reservations to livelihood and wealth creation, from fear of technology to embracing it and innovating, from mere demands to people's participation as seen during demonetization crunch, from main stream media to social media and specialty media. That's why some 'eminent' journalists are clamoring for gagging the social media.
Public mood is changing from cynicism about crime and scams to taking on the monsters of black money and terror. When else would you find the Prime Minister and the most watched and followed politician launching BHIM app for person to person transfer funds based on indigenously developed technology?
Opposition parties are scared of Modi's budget coming right before the polling for assembly elections begins. They know that something has changed but they don't get what -conditioned as they are by decades of Congress style of politics.
But what about the BJP?
I had written in my article on June 12, 2016
"The worrying fact is that BJP is playing the game set up by its opposition." Read more https://www.myind.net/elections-bjps-tough-road-ahead
At that time, BJP lacked an overarching emotive appeal that would transcend caste and religion considerations. Surgical strikes against Pakistan and the war on black money which has reached every household are those overarching issues now. From its towering leader, BJP couldn't have asked for more. Then there are powerful local issues like bleak law and order, communal riots, and Kairana exodus. Akhilesh has nothing to show and everything to hide for his rule of five years.
As I write this, I am aware of RSS's Manmohan Vaidya's statement on reservations at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The opposition and main stream media are quite thrilled because they are good at twisting facts to suit them. For an ever-defensive BJP, this provides another reason to stay on back foot. If BJP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, this would be an excuse like it was in Bihar elections. The reason wasn't valid in Bihar of 2015. It will be even less valid in UP and India of 2017.
You can't learn how to win from losers of 2014. You can surely learn something from the winner, your top leader and India's PM -work on your message and deliver it aggressively.
Is BJP afraid of losing UP ?
Afraid to do anything 'wrong' lest it doesn't win, it stitches an alliance of castes and plans to select candidates accordingly. BJP hears about Akhilesh-Congress alliance and it goes on defensive. It forgets its own PM's huge achievements and its declared poll planks -surgical strikes and demonetization. On top of allotting tickets to Congress and BSP rebels it welcomes a thoroughly discredited ND Tiwari in its fold. BJP later plays down the whole sordid episode after a huge protest by its supporters on social media. In 2012, BJP had welcomed BSP's Babu Singh Kushwaha infamous for NRHM scam. In 2004, it had welcomed strongman and history sheeter DP Yadav.
Worse, when its workers die at the hands of leftists and jihadis in states like Kerala, It doesn't take the state governments to task. It ignores Hindu traditions to be trampled by foreign-funded NGOs emboldened by a lopsided judicial overreach. Our pseudo-secular opposition doesn't see anything wrong in casteist and minority appeasement politics and letting corrupt contest elections. Is BJP afraid of bad press?
BJP may sweep polls, but we need better politics from it
Union Budget will most likely consolidate and build upon Modi Government's pro-poor and development reputation. Modi’s rallies in UP will be another big factor. These factors and the emotive and substantive issues mentioned above may transcend Congress politics. UP's main parties SP and BSP are not likely to come together. Therefore, it is quite possible that BJP will sweep the UP polls. But we expect far better politics and communication by the largest political party.