Thursday, January 31, 2008

political science

I want to ask all of you a question. I recently read in an Express editorial that in a recent address to his party, Rajnath Singh was talking about the burdens of EMIs on the ‘aam aadmi’. And since I recently bought my own car, and have now entered the new world of car loans, EMIs – taxes – I stopped in my tracks. Now, if elections are held in 2009, who would I vote for? The Congress, which has been nothing but disappointing – the PM’s idea of a communal budget to me is appalling and probably the last straw – but can that disgust really make me vote the BJP way? I’m not so sure I’m really to ignore the RSS affiliation but the Congress doesn’t present itself as an attractive alternative anyway.

Ok, so let’s get back to a conversation I was having when Modi won Gujarat. Oh no, cried the defenders of secularism, this is the beginning of the end. But there was another thought that struck me at the time. If he really is the strongest candidate in the BJP, but realizes that he needs to earn the loyalty of other members – and not in a grudging manner – then will he change tactics and leave Moditva (of the communal kind) behind, and just concentrate on the economy? I can’t believe I’m quoting SRK here, but something he said that one of the award shows made sense – his appeal to politicians to not take bribes, because if we get on with it, we will all do well. It’s true though, I’ve never understood why the hell someone wants Rs 100 crores for a personal bank account? What can you possibly do with that kind of money, except probably ensure your grandspawns will be drug-addled wasters? But, as always, I digress. But before I try and assess if I could ever vote BJP (not for Modi – he should defend his actions of 2002 in a court of law), let’s just figure some others things out first.

Mayawati. If you read my blog (and at this point I apologize for not writing but trust me, this new job was hardly inspiring although it’s picking up momentum now) you know that I was impressed by Mayawati’s win, and especially her social experimentation. Ok. But the other day I was sitting with people who know the lay of the land better than me – and I asked them if her obsession with big cars, big houses and security wasn’t going to alienate her people, and I was told no. She wears gold because dalits were historically now allowed to wear gold, and she is trying to be symbol of what they can achieve. Oookay. But I don’t know, arrogance is arrogance. Someone who came over for dinner was telling me this story about how they were in Dubai (?) with Mayawati, one of the previous times she was CM. They didn’t know her, but being in the civil service, were introduced and went shopping and had lunch with her that day. She went shopping with a bag filled with cash -- $100 notes. And the overriding sense by the end of the meal? “She’s very petty”. The frequent calls for even more security make me agree. Actually, the other day I had an emergency at work and needed to get to the mall PRONTO! The road was closed because Maywati cavalcade was passing by. I decided to run along the road anyway, and got stopped by the guard. I can’t tell you how many big cars she had following her, it would put Khan Market to shame! Since I don’t know her game plan – vendetta politics seem to be top of the list – I can say right now, she seems like she’s losing the plot.

See, this is my question. What demographic am I? Upper middle-class? And then if that’s it (friend tells me, with your phancy Chanel glasses, you certainly are), then what is my ideal party? I’ve been thinking about it. Maybe if I was a practicing Hindu, I’d be able to wrap my head around the BJP a little more. I don’t know though. I keep thinking; nothing is static. I don’t see Rajnath, Jaitley or even Modi (despite Godhra, but that’s because it seems to have been politically motivated) too Hindutva-centric. I’m not supporting or defending Modi here at all, but what I am saying is, perhaps the younger generations will move away from religious politics. Perhaps. It’s a tough question. Can my conscience ever allow me to vote BJP?

Another conversation I happened to be sitting in the middle of. Should reservations for lower castes be allowed across all religions? Which is to say, SC/ST reservation be extended to Christians, Muslims etc? Can we, once and for all, admit, that despite some of these people having converted to escape their lower status, they never really did? And perhaps the Congress can come out of this strange, strange, vote-chasing politics they have succumbed to? It makes me angry. Why didn’t they call the Left’s bluff and call a re-election based on the nuclear deal? Word has it that at that time they were not sure of the numbers, which they feel they would have by next year. Well, actions speak louder than words, my friends, and you are losing even more votes as you go along! And what of the younger generation of Congressmen. Ironically, if the jump is made from Madame to Jr, doesn't that leave out an entire generation of Congressmen in the middle? The 50 yr olds??? What does that say about what the Congress stands for. Sychophancy? If nothing, the BJP is far more democratic!

I’ve gone round in circles. So, no really, who would you vote for?

P.S. More and more people I talk to, prefer to get their news from Doordarshan. No fluff.