The Shifting Sands of Indian Politics

A distinctive feature of the Indian electoral scene is the Aam Admi Party’s goal to end corruption, communalism and crony capitalism.

Indian-General-Elections

Credit: National Turk

Skullduggery might be a mild phrase for the current state of the Indian politics.

In the countdown to the general elections of 2014, the distribution of party tickets exhibits unscrupulous and semi-overt calculations involving winnable horses.

Hence, the race track is witnessing digressions, keeping the spectators on tenterhooks and turning the contest sharply concentric with pre-ticket scrambles and post-ticket frays. Be that as it may, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the major opposition party, has virtually abandoned its own senior stalwarts in one way or another by embracing the strangers.

Its thunderous Narendra Modi-centric campaigns, aided by visual media’s uncanny coverage, social media’s unprecedented involvement, and revelations of corruption in the ruling central government, has whetted the visceral appetite of certain Congress leaders to cling to the BJP, hoping it will triumph. Similarly, the abrupt entry of athletes and film stars is akin to the introduction of exotic plants in a field sown with native seeds.

These seismic shifts in parties make the upcoming elections look like a virtual reality phenomenon with candidates vividly experiencing the victory in advance, and thus casting the die in favor of a particular party, regardless of the chronic ideological clashes.

It also shows that the certainty of victory, real or delusional, is a major centripetal force attracting far-flung magnets to a common core, pushing the weaker particles to the periphery. Clearly, ideology, thrust out of party practices, is searching itself in election manifestos that resemble a ritualistic practice.

Hence, the ruling Congress party’s manifesto with a “six-point charter” including the right to affordable healthcare and housing appears as a sarcastic contrast to its own fragile health owing to internal betrayals. Interestingly, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holding the manifesto titled “Your Voice, Our Pledge” hints at his classic silence while echoing his personal message “I have No voice!”  On the other hand, the BJP manifesto is obscured in the chants of NaMo, NaMo.

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A distinctive feature of the electoral scene is the entry of the activism-originated Aam Admi Party, with its stated targeting of the three C’s- corruption, communalism and crony capitalism. How much the popular imagination is captured by this mission will come to the surface soon.

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Romi Jain is a published poet, novelist, and Vice President of the Indian Journal of Asian Affairs. She did her MBA from San Francisco, California, and has worked as a marketing professional with a Silicon Valley-based company. Her creative works include: The Storm Within (2008; 2011), Poetry! You Resurrect Me (2011) and Voices of Rocks in the Dusk (2012). Her poems have appeared in international anthologies and in literary journals such as Off the Coast; Touch: The Journal of Healing; The Journal of Poetry Society; Aquill Relle Magazine; Munyori Literary Journal; and The Tower Journal. Read other articles by Romi.