Yesterday, when the Election Commission (EC) announced the crucial nine days that would decide the destiny of India, away from the media glare were politicians in sweaty white kurtas, panting heavily after finishing a race. They were racing against time, irrespective of their caste, creed, greed, colour or political party they belong to.
These white kurta politicians dread imposition of the Model Code of Conduct due to its ability to define the line between promises and actions. The Code ensures a level playing field amongst The Haves and The Have Nots. Announcement of the election calendar triggers the code and the codes regime would end only after the fortunes are made and lost. The Code short-circuits The Haves’ superficial generosity and indiscriminate inducements. So, once the code is in place, the EC says no more ribbon-cutting & the foundation stone laying can happen. Privileges of the empowered are dead. The game is over.
Amongst those who failed themselves this year is the Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, he couldn’t inaugurate the pet project of supplying piped gas to cluster houses. With his inducements gassed out, he needs to be more worried about “the swing” claimed by Mr. Narendra Modi & Co.
Politicians are politicians, they are not sportsmen and are not expected to demonstrate the same spirit, needless to say they understand several kinds of spirits other than sportsman spirit and use those effectively. They get going with playing the game they know best, blame game. Speculations are rife on which initiatives violated the Model Code of Conduct. People are being sued, news is being created and massive efforts are on to get the opponent in trouble. Briefly in the eye of the storm was the Appropriation Bill which was passed by the Jharkhand Assembly yesterday. However, Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer later said that the passing of Bill, which paves way for expenditure for next fiscal, did not amount to violation of the Model Code of Conduct though it coincided with the EC announcement. Well, that storm seems to have quietened but as the election dates approach, it would be interesting to watch out how many more Model Code of Conduct aspects are being violated and who is raising the level of noise.
Talking about the Code of Conduct, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was the first prominent politician to be detained by Gujarat police. He was “detained” because he had not obtained prior permission from the authorities for holding a road show of his party’s election campaign. Apparently Kejriwal was touring Gujarat to assess the development under Narendra Modi regime. Must give credit to his guts – walking into a BJP prone area and assessing the progress? Mr Kejriwal didn’t realize that Gujarat has several human drones which can crash into windscreens of cars. Further, he and his opponents didn’t realize that photographs of broken windscreens can pay for election funds for a few more seats, donations are sharply up. Wish, he would assess his 49 days performance too as the Chief Minister of Delhi. He projects himself as a storm chaser who has done a splendid job. May God Bless Us.
On Day – 2, an FIR was filed against AAP leaders for illegally gathering at the BJP headquarters. Among them is former journalist, Ashutosh. This must be an experience for him – from the newsroom straight to the political minefield. Is he feeling like a freedom fighter right now and getting a kick out of it? As Ashutosh was taken to the police station for questioning, he was tweeting live – “In Mandir Marg Thana for questioning, not arrested yet.” Jai Ho!
This brings us to a question – what was the protest supposed to mean? Is tit for tat the only way politicians in India can function? Arvind Kejriwal repeatedly appealed to the people to maintain calm and not raise a finger against anyone, yet there were clashes. Who trashed whom would always be a mystery. This leaves us, the aam aadmi, to wonder if the clash was necessary. As the questioning progresses, Kejriwal apologizes and Ashutosh proudly awaits arrest. Perhaps, this is what politicians and politics are all about.
Meanwhile, elections campaigns are being rolled out in full vigour. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar began his campaign by lashing out venomous attacks against BJP and the Centre. Bihar being denied ‘special economic status’ was the main agenda of the campaign. He also lashed out at Ram Vilas Paswan’s comeback to BJP after he had distanced himself from the party for 12 years after the 2002 Gujarat riots.
While we may not lash out at Paswan, some of us would definitely want to know what was playing on Paswan’s mind when he distanced himself and what is playing on his mind now when he decided to make a comeback. The Gujarat riots still feature as a major national crisis and nothing much has changed since then in terms of people being brought to book, then what made Paswan change his mind. Maybe he prefers a little bit of gambling here and there. Isn’t that what elections are all about – milking the opportunities to the maximum?
Continuing with the election campaign in Bihar, Nitish has claimed to a leading T.V channel that his credentials are far better than Modi to lead India. Well, well, well. First accusation, then self-appreciation. This is a typical formula for any successful operation, right? And, isn’t Modi Ji conducting practical lessons for that, day in and day out? However, a poll survey predicts that Janata Dal United is set for a huge loss in Bihar and is expected to lose about 16 seats while BJP may gain 10 seats capturing 22 out of the 40 seats. Congress is expected to secure only 2 seats.
Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was in Mumbai meeting the fishermen community. Sporting a red fisherman cap, he certainly looked like one of them, OK, I correct myself, tried to look like one of them.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj is very angry at reports that Venod Sharma, a Congress leader from Harayana who is better known as Manu Sharma’s dad, is all set to join her party. Manu Sharma is in jail for shooting model Jessica Lal in 1999. Sushma Ji also has issues about the Reddy brothers being brought back, somehow opposing her own party’s conduct gives her more mileage than cursing Congress / UPA for ills we live in or calling Arvind Kejriwal and company as an “Urban Maoist” would. Meanwhile, Jayalalitha Ji is playing “yes and no” game with Left and has supposedly left the Left in lurch and is keeping her options open. After failing to align with AIADMK or DMK, BJP is trying to play scrabble and is considering an alliance with DMDK.
Some of them are going to be furious, some are going to get sarcastic, some may throw stones, while others may blow their own trumpet. Hundreds of emotions are set to flow as the political parties and the politicians enter the stage and perform live. The script may be pre-written or there may not be a script at all and all the actions may take place impromptu. But whatever said and done, it is a drama worth watching – the Great India Elections 2014.
Stay tuned with us as the drama unfolds.