In a democracy, electing a government is that special right, for which the public waits for every five years. If the voters like the work and administration, the incumbent government comes back to power. Else, if they feel otherwise, they can elect the Opposition party and give them a chance for a better performance in comparison with the predecessor. Well, this is an ideal situation.
Though, there are several reasons for a government coming to power or getting ousted in Indian polity, it is not that common that public has some sort of confusion vis a vis the entire election process. In the last 25 years, this is probably the first time that there are Assembly elections scheduled in two prominent states, but the public is either silent or absolutely indifferent to the polls. Voting for the Assembly elections will commence on October 21 in a single phase in both Haryana and Maharashtra, but the public, the actual voters are totally out of picture. It is pretty much possible that on 21st, there may be a decent voter turnout and the incumbent government say that “see, people have yet again reimposed their faith in us”. But in words of Ghalib, “humko maloom hain jannat ki haqiqat, lekin, dil ko khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayal achha.”
Jannat ki haqiqat- the phrase has lot of meaning to it. For instance, the nation is going through a severe economic slowdown, there is no end to the worrying trend of widespread layoffs. Nearly one lakh people, who work in three government companies, namely MTNL, BSNL and Air India, that are in continuous state of despair and worried about what will happen to them once the government kickstarts the divestment process. Thousands of them have not received their salaries for two months. In the auto sector, people are getting employment only for 20 days, but the state governments are paying zero attention.
Surprisingly, poll-bound Maharashtra and Haryana have maximum numbers of workers hit by the auto crisis. But nobody is talking about these issues. Not only this, both states have a robust agrarian sector with powerful farmers’ unions. Despite 4,000 farmers committing suicides every year, the farm distress is not a poll issue. In comparison to last 10 years, the situation of farmers is worsening with each passing day. It’s as if the cat has got farmers' tongue. No agitation, no leader to speak for the farmers of India. Oh, India! What has happened to you?
Between 2016 and 2018, Jat agitation in both Haryana and Maharashtra hit the national headlines. TV channels also started showing the stir, it felt, finally some real news is being reported. But now, this agitation and the cause is missing from election discussion in both states. Neither any leader nor any agitator is voicing the concern. Their mouths are sealed and the government is taking pride in the 'fact' that no such movement took place in states ruled by the incumbent party.
There was a time when Maratha and Jat politics was powerful in Maharashtra and Haryana. In 2014, the BJP central command gave power to non-Jat and non-Maratha leaders in both states. It seemed that a rebellion will happen anytime now. But everything remained as usual.
Not only both Chief Ministers completed their terms but they are also the faces of their party in their respective states for the second term. This means that those belonging to Maratha and Jat politics have been completely routed out of political discourse. This is truly 'kamal' ka 'kamaal'.
The BJP is going on its set narrative. But take a look at the Congress, NCP, INLD and other regional parties. Nobody has seen this sort of directionlessness and casual approach in last 40 years. Looks like leaders have left their brain somewhere else! Neither any constructive statement, nor any dialogue with public nor any zeal to work towards the political future of their parties. Everyone has already conceaded their defeat. That's why, it won't be wrong to say that the current assessment shows that the BJP will get more than 2/3rd majority in Haryana and in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance will also win record majority with more than 2/3rd votes. It means that the the BJP is already a winner. So what's the point of holding the elections? Why should the Centre spend around Rs 200-300 crore of taxpayers money? Shouldn't this money be used for some important public project.
In my 26-year-long career, these are the most unique elections that I have ever seen. And I just told you the reasons.
Many experts will say that there are numerous flaws in the BJP's poll campaign. State-level topics are missing, whereas the entire narrative is centred around Article 370, Kashmir and Pakistan. Janab, even if the BJP doesn't say a word, doesn't releases the poll manifesto or sends its leaders for poll campaign, yet, it will win the elections.
So, it is not addressing the public of these states, but addressing the nation at large. In such a scenario, how can it talk about local issues of Haryana and Maharashtra to the entire country? However, I don't feel the same about such an assessment. Still, it’s disheartening to see that in the country, the democracy is dying a slow death.
The very core of politics is changing, mobocracy has taken over public interest. Journalists are falling silent, voices of dissent are fading away and we are moving to a new India, India that Indians have not seen or know anything about it.