Sunday, May 17, 2009


Till the morning of May 16, 2009, even the bookies were betting on the NDA forming the government, despite the new and improved projections in favour of the UPA given by CNN-IBN the previous evening. The results, which surprised all equally, have once again shown the collective wisdom of India's voters and spared the country another five years of a government in which the heartbeat of the Prime Minister is controlled by loose cannons within and outside his government.

Lots and lots of justifications for this decisive verdict are being given by jubilant TV anchors, politically committed journalists, TV channel owners and analysts who have greeted the result with unmitigated excitement. In fact some TV studios have began to look like outposts of the victorious Congress party! India's voters are being praised to the sky and beyond for their wisdom, and the BJP is being told condescendingly that its policies of hate have led to the downfall of the NDA and the victory of "secular" forces. Rahul Gandhi is already the new hero of this lot that is programmed to deflect any blame for any failure to others and create credit out of thin air for him given even a sliver of a chance; more had not been forthcoming till now.

Just imagine what would have been the scenes in TV studios had the verdict been exactly the reverse, with the BJP scoring 200 plus.

Big TV stars would have found it almost impossible to stomach the verdict and it would have showed on their faces, just as defeat is now showing on the faces of NDA leaders. Rather than celebrating the wisdom of India's voters as they are doing now, they would have been cribbing about how voters had been poisoned and polarised by Narendra Modi and Varun Gandhi. There would have been long and laboured discussions on how the politics of hate had corrupted democracy and secularism and how the minorities were going to feel insecure now. Many analysts would also have been predicting dark times ahead for India.

Some would have even been questioning the ability of illiterate and non-English speaking masses to really make a sound judgment about their voting preferences, and would have been siting the mature and secular choices made by voters of Delhi and Mumbai to press the point that democracy had still not taken root in India and that a large number of voters had been swayed by the explosive combination of money, liquor and hate speeches. Democracy, they would have argued with due sophistication, is a dangerous tool in the hands of such illiterate fools who have no idea about what equality and liberalism actually mean. What do slumdogs know about democracy and secularism? This would have been the most asked question, without being put into words for obvious reasons.

A lot would also have been said about how the Muslim vote had got split between various secular parties that had needlessly fought each other rather than unitedly fighting the NDA. Had they fought together, would have gone the arguments with statistical evidence, the BJP would have lost very badly. Of course, an intelligent analyst and "life-long BJP hater" like Ramchandra Guha would have asked the analysts, as he actually did on CNN-IBN, to use the word "minorities" rather than "Muslims", to give their essentially communal argument the cloak of "secularism" that they were croaking about!

Then there would also have been a detailed analysis of how the government would not last for long because secular leaders like Nitish Kumar were uncomfortable with the communal BJP and would soon walk out of the NDA, much like Naveen Patnaik had before the elections, and how other "secular" allies of the BJP would be better off dumping the party and crossing over to the UPA.

All this would have been dexterously mixed with visuals of Gujarat riots and Varun Gandhi's speech, to present a really gloomy picture with a foreboding of evil.

In short, India's so-called liberals and secularists would just not have accepted the verdict of the people with any grace whatsoever. On the contrary, most of them would have found every conceivable reason to reject it outright and blame the BJP for corrupting the minds of the people and destroying the very idea of secularism. Major TV stars would also have vanished from the studios in grief almost immediately after the results were clear and left the unpleasant task of continuing the coverage of the dreaded news to greenhorns.

Above all, there would have been no voices calling for the resignation of Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. Nor would they have resigned on their own with the grace that LK Advani has shown by accepting responsibility for the defeat. All the blame would have been passed on to the likes of Laloo, Paswan, Mulayam, YSR Reddy, Mamata Banerjee and Karunanidhi, besides other faceless Congress leaders. In fact, some "teenaged" media fans of Rahul Gandhi would still have craftily dug out some statistic to show that the Congress had done comparatively better, even if marginally, in places through which he had driven in his SUV!

Oh yes. Tehelka and other sting operatives would also have woken up after five long years of slumber and started planning on a new series of sting operations to nail NDA leaders in some scam or the other, however small, to get the UPA back in business again as soon as possible!

PS. Someone has just told me that India's voters had foreseen all this and decided that they would be better off being less "adventurous" by voting a stronger Dr Manmohan Singh back to power.
Readers may also read:
1. Singh is the people's King
2. The Manmohan victory: Time we got a President
3. Will the Congress do better without Sonia and Rahul?
4. A new day