Elections 2009 – Negativity Loses

So, it is over. And, the Congress is the single largest party and how 🙂 I can’t stop smiling.

What is incredible, is the maturity of the Indian voter. They saw saw through all the crap, the political cynicism, the power grabbing dash of the third and fourth front, the negativity of the BJP – and they voted. They voted out those who were harping on irrelevant issues, those who ran negative campaigns and those who cynically exploited their sentiments. So BJP is down, AIDMK is out, the Left is out, Laloo and Paswan are out – and development is in.

The man who has never run for Parliament – Dr.Manmohan Singh – has had a bulk of the country voting for him. It’s good to know that my vote counts 🙂 . I am not sure that the Congress would have done so well if they did not project him as the next Prime Minister.

But, the Congress victory cannot be discussed without discussing the BJP campaign. This is the second election that they have lost on their campaign.

Didn’t they learn from last time? India is not the USA. negative campaigns don’t work here. Calling MMS names possibly put off BJP voters, and propelled Congress supporters to brave the heat and vote. Just as last time around personal attacks on Sonia Gandhi worked in her favour, this time around personal attacks on the PM worked in the PM’s favour – especially when he retaliated.

Funnily enough, at the end of this Campaign I still don’t know what the BJP was promising. I don’t have the time to trudge through miles of policy documents – most of the electorate doesn’t. I knew what the Congress was promising. I didn’t read their policy documents either – but their advertising was fairly precise. I knew that the BJP was promising us Advani as PM –at least the campaign that stalked me on the web did. They were promising that they weren’t the Congress – but what did they stand for ? The only thing I heard was Ram Mandir, and Varun Gandhi – the first reminded me of why I have always found the BJP dangerous – their leadership cannot control their own mobs. If anything the latter put me off the BJP more than ever before. And, towards the end when they started saying Modi next PM – I began wondering if the BJP was sabotaging its own campaign.

Why did they use Modi so much – he may gather crowds, he may even entertain crowds – but it will be interesting to see if those are converted to votes, or are people turning up to get entertained ! Rahul Gandhi obviously converted shows to votes, did Modi ?

Why didn’t the BJP harp on Development more? Especially, the development in the states of HP, MP and Gujarat – and the fact that these are honest administrations. Why did they run such a negative campaign on rising prices. Why didn’t they tell us how they would have cut prices or simple things, for example, like LPG under Rs.50 or Rice at Rs.20 – and communiatec this effectively.

Finally, the BJP needs to understand that India is changing. Caste, religion may be important, but in the personal space. I am not sure that people want it in the public space. I don’t want a Party that targets my fellow citizens on their beliefs. I don’t want to see mosques being destroyed and churches being burnt. I don’t want to see fellow citizens being murdered because they pray differently. I don’t want to see women getting beaten up because they live their life as they see fit. I don’t want imposed morality ! and, that is what I perceive the BJP to stand for. Against personal choice and freedom. To be electable they need to move back to the inclusive middle ground that Vajpayee had created

Ultimately the election comes down to this – who are we, and what do we – as the people – stand for. and, we voted for the Party that stood for us.

I am so proud of the Indian voter ! and I think that we will have a Good Government 🙂

25 Replies to “Elections 2009 – Negativity Loses”

  1. Well written post. And very relieved – that we have a strong govt ahead and no pains of pleading / bowing for ‘others’.

    In fact I was wondering in the morning: Did India vote Congress or vote against the NDA ? Ofcourse, as you note, it is both.

    For Congress – announcing MMS as the PM definitely worked as a strong strategy to get the votes in this recession hit times. The Rahul Effect as the media is covering has worked its charm too – though not as intellectually motivating as the growth/economics campaign.

  2. A reason to rejoice indeed.

    About the BJP, they not only just called names and did other verbal attacks, they thought India was USA and went out with those ad banners on each site which read “Advani for PM” n those twitter accounts etc etc. I just wish that they learn just one lesson for now – never ever to spam internet with religious junk again. that’ll do us some good.
    Advani wont sit in opposition he says – thats one more thing I want to see. For anyone else there, i wonder who rightfully can. Sushma Swaraj n Murali Manohar Joshi n likes are just soo incapable! 🙂

  3. I came across your blog from Desipundit.
    I am happy for your victory.
    I am curious about some of the items below. My question specifically, is why these items that matter much to me, dont trouble you at all.
    I am only trying to understand your line of thinking and am not trying to start an argument.

    a) Become a terrorist and get paid by the Indian Government:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK6xwFRQ7BQ (from IBN7)

    b) Indian Government is giving CBSE status to Madarsas: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/madrasa-certificates-will-now-be-cbse-equivalent/404478/

    c) Congress party uses public funds to build the image of the Gandhi family http://nehrugandhifamily.blogspot.com/

    Thanks

    1. hi shanth
      welcome to this blog
      thank you
      a) i just saw the clip. if it is true it is disturbing. would like to do a bit more research in terms before i can respond in more detail

      b) on CBSE affiliation – if they teach all the subjects in addition to religious curriculum then ok, else it is problamatic. will need to research to see how ved patshalas are being dealt with and what their curriculum contains.

      c) i find it odd that so many of these schemes are named after the family members. it is seriously confusing in terms of implementation and in terms of how policies reach the poor. I don’t have an issue with the schemes per se. i have an issue with them being named after the family. I wouldn’t have a problem if one each was named after them. but to have 450 of them named after them is overkill !

  4. @Jyothirmayee – welcome to this blog and thank you.
    Yes i am glad that the left is not there to hold them to ransom. I just wish that pepole like Nitish Kumar were part of this alliance.
    I seriosuly think that if the NDA had a VAjpayee like head, it may have stood a better chance. And, they ran a Presidential style campaign. The Congress benefitted from the Trinity

    @Prasoon – the BJP is facing a crisis of leadership. for a party that seemed to have so many leaders last time, it looks kind of bankrupt in that department. They need to start finding people who have a pan national appeal, and who can attract voters from across the Political spectrum. I would like to see it strenghten to provide people with a genuine choice. But, for that i think that they would have to give up Hindutva.

  5. I just went through your post, and I’m happy to see that you share my optimism. I firmly believe that this election marks the coming of age of the Indian voter (in fact, I just blogged about it too!).

    And the single biggest victory, in my view, is the defeat of Mayawati. I must admit I shuddered to face the prospect of her as a prime-ministerial candidate, and thankfully, India has deferred that for another few years at least.

  6. Admit it ur a die hard Congress (sans madam) fan
    Ps have u ever voted for the bjp?

    My first question , How long do u think will ur fav pm last???
    (im repeating it )

    http://acorn.nationalinterest.in/2009/05/16/no-excuses-left-dr-singh/
    i fully agree with acorn this will be his toughest election, because he will have peoples aspirations and huge expectations, similar to what atal had , and people wont forgive him if he does little that is if he is let to complete his term.

    im relieved that the others will loose a lot of relevance, the rout of likes of commis and laloo is welcome – but laloo is still in the coalition as madam personally welcomed him
    now the real test for congress starts – the ladys first statement is arrogant, and i figure, from her and mms s body language she still controls the congress van stronger than ever.

    First i think ur a bit too hasty on lauding the electorate
    there is nothin new about this election , infact the people seem to have negative voted much more than before

    Kerala and Bengal- to keep communists out thanks to internal reasons in each state
    UP – to keep Mayas arrogance in check the suvarnas voted congress/bjp and as a result of muslim lobby shifting to congress thanks to sachar and reservations
    Mah – Congress ncp have got a new lobby the Maratha lobby thanks to the obc reservations
    Rajastan – Anti incumbency trend continuation
    Muslims – to keep advani out as they havent forgotten babri.

    This election was rather interesting, and btw mumbai and thane voted in large numbers guess again for MNS not MMS , no wonder congress clean swept these places even after the pathetic record of the state govt … chk out the pole count stats
    MNS cut the sena bjp votes , even some ncp and congress maratha votes.

    1. actually Prax – i like what Sonia Gandhi has done with the Party. she has revived a dying party. I have an issue with Dynasty. But, that is more because i am a republican (not in the American Context) and not a monarchist 🙂

      i have never voted for the BJP. I have however, voted for Independents in my Constituency. For me the problem with the BJP is the Sangh Parivaar – and the day they cut that chord – i will vote for them.

      I would love to have a Centre Right party – sans the trappings of religious Nationalism. If the BJP was that Party i would vote for them without thinking about it .

      If you look at it, i am part of the BJP’s natural constituency. why are people like me not voting for them. what is it about them that makes people like me wary ?

      I would agree with Acorn’s post . This time around there are no excuses. No Left to shackle them. I would like to see good policies, i would like to see inclusive all round development and most importantly – i would like to see a mechanism that ensures transparency.

      like i said earlier – i would like to see Rahul Gandhi cleaning up the Party. The Party seriously need to systematically be cleaned up. It also needs a good dose of internal Democracy. Hope that will happen.

  7. also u r partially right
    this is also a vote for stability more than a pro congress vote
    and hats off to the spin of congress campaign managers
    whose campaign was to claim they could forma a stable dependable govt when all that bjp could think of was glorify advani and pooh pooh mms

  8. I dont mind the sangh as much as i do the vhp.
    but with yin comes yan so i still consider them to have a place in indian polity – that of the right hindus.

    for me noone is untouchable neither the cong nor bjp…
    maybe i wont vote an independent again…

    then again both are no that different
    if bjp has vhp the congress has iulml and the razakar owaisis of pip and courts madhni and the radical islamists.
    congress knows how to project itself and market itself better thanks to its media clout and experience of devisive politics thats all

    Baba yuvraj clean up a party and bring internal democracy?
    His every move is stage managed and worse he epitomizes the ng danasty.

    1. i have an issue with the ‘Grand Unified theory of Hinduism” that the Sangh projects.
      I resent the fact that a bunch of atheists have hijacked the Hindu Gods. I don’t have a problem with athiesm – i have a problem with the cynical use/abuse of my most sacred religious symbols by a bunch of people who use it to gain power. Pretty much like the Neo-cons.

      if BJP has VHP the congress has iulml and the razakar owaisis of pip and courts madhni and the radical islamists.

      The single biggest mistake that Rajiv Gandhi made was to give into the blackmail on Shah Banu – condemning millions of Muslim women to harrassment. If he had stood his ground on what was the right of a citizen – we may have been a different society now. I would like to see the current Government protect Muslim citizens and Hindu citizens by going after the teh PIP, VHP’s , the Ram Sene’s with equal ferocity. we need to pull whole chunks of the population – both Hindu and Muslim- into 2009 ! And, i would like the BJP co-operate on this with the State.

  9. inclusive all round development and most importantly –
    interesting
    inclusive development – does that stand for reservation – that is the buzzword of the rich
    what ive noticed is reservations dont really affect the rich who send their kids and kin either abroad or afford paid seats
    The sad bit here is that merit suffers anyways

    i would like to see a mechanism that ensures transparency.
    fully agree on this one but with a party that has redefined the cbi as congress bureau of investigation i dont expect much

    1. it doesn’t necessarily have to mean reservation. But it could mean encouraging industry to adopt an affirmative action policy.

      But, it starts before that. strengthen the State School system. relook at the curriculum – make it more job friendly. Simplify language – do you know kids in rural Maharashtra studying in Marathi fail repeatedly and then drop out – because the Marathi used is highly Sanskritized . On the other hand, kids in TN do well because the language used is spoken langauge.
      Strengthen the ITI’s. Revamp the University system – it is an outrage that the system is not geared to take in everyone who wants to study. Create scholarships.

      Bring roads, schools, primary health care, two square meals a day. See if solar energy can be used to power up villages fast.

      If you are rebuilding slums – then please don’t create inner cities. We are making the same mistakes that the US and Europe made while creating low income housing- – we are ghettoizing the poor, and getting rid of their community spaces. We are putting them in dingy buildings, packed like sardines – with no light, play area or gathering spaces. The land exists – but it has been given away to builders who sell it to high income groups.

      And finally cut corruption.

  10. lastly i think there should be a party like the fdp in germany of the moderate people , most of them liberal and centre right
    but as of now from the voting patterns it seems a distant dream.

    would tend to agree

  11. News from ht

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has maximum number of MPs having criminal cases with 42 MPs, of which 17 have serious criminal cases against them. It is closely followed by Congress with 41 MPs having criminal cases against them. Twelve Congress MPs have serious charges against them,” the study said.

    So in this aspect they are also almost even !

  12. Gargi,
    As I see it, you are for a pro-development, pro-true secularism government. Fair enough. I too would like such a government.
    Clearly at this time, we only disagree on who can provide this.

    As far as pro-development goes: Initially I was under the impression that the dream team of Chidambaram,MMSingh, and Montek could not go wrong in this department.
    Here are a few articles that surprised me:

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/23233030/Understanding-the-fiscal-mess.html?d=1

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/16215734/India-a-rising-tide-of-red-in.html

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/24213503/The-8216fallen-angels8217.html

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c8524754-29f4-11de-9d01-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

    There are other articles out there, which deal only with finances…
    We can discuss them in detail including numbers if you would want.

    I have done my reasearch and I find UPA coming up short in this department. Would like your rebuttal. (Other than the “left front hampered them”)

    Now coming to congress being truly secular….
    a) ” Dr Karan Singh was denied to become the President of India because he wears “Om Namah Shivaya” bracelet. He said in an interview to Indian Express“If Om Namah Shivaya is the reason I didn’t become president, then certainly it’s a great blessing, because I won’t exchange my Om Namah Shivaya, as Arjun says in the Bhagwad Gita, “even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, what then for this land.” Interestingly Hamid Ansari was selected to become the Vice President just because he was a Muslim.”

    Would like your thoughts on this, and how competent do you think Prathiba Patil is to become president of India….say compared with say Abdul Kalam.
    Again would like to hear if this matters at all..

    b) Surely you have read the entire manifesto of the congress party. How many times is there mention of minority communities compared with others…
    I am curious here to see if the non mention of the majority community matters to you. Or is it just me..

    c) You mentioned strengthening the state education system.
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/Economy/25_lakh_scholarships_for_minority_students_in_11th_Plan/articleshow/2861204.cms

    says the following:
    “A Centrally-sponsored scheme of pre-matric scholarships has been approved for eligible students of class I to X belonging to the MINORITY communities, Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay said in a reply in the Lok Sabha today
    He said it was proposed that 25 lakh scholarships would be given during the 11th Five Year Plan and 30 per cent of these would be earmarked for girl students. ”

    I would like your thoughts on why you think, only the minority community should benefit from this good scheme. Should not the economically poor uppercast kid also get a chance in this scheme.

    c) On December 18, 2006, AP government announced subsidy for Christians to travel to Bethlehem in the same lines as subsidy for muslims going on Haj Pilgrimage…..
    Will the government give me a subsidy to go to say Haridwar?
    Any thoughts on this…

    Let me again make my stance on this clear. We should call a spade a spade equally. When there are incidents like the one at the Mangalore pub, I will denounce it, wheather you join me or not…
    I will however continue to point out the other side, (again wheather you join me or not…:))
    Thanks for responding to my queries..

  13. I have tried to post this a few times, I dont see it on the webpage, so I will try one last time. Hopefully you dont see this post too many times….and hopefully you actually see this post atleast once!

    As I see it, you are for a pro-development, pro-true secularism government. Fair enough. I too would like such a government.
    Clearly at this time, we only disagree on who can provide this.

    As far as pro-development goes: Initially I was under the impression that the dream team of Chidambaram,MMSingh, and Montek could not go wrong in this department.
    Here are a few articles that surprised me:

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/23233030/Understanding-the-fiscal-mess.html?d=1

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/16215734/India-a-rising-tide-of-red-in.html

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/24213503/The-8216fallen-angels8217.html

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c8524754-29f4-11de-9d01-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

    There are other articles out there, which deal only with finances…
    We can discuss them in detail including numbers if you would want.

    I have done my reasearch and I find UPA coming up short in this department. Would like your rebuttal. (Other than the “left front hampered them”)

    Now coming to congress being truly secular….
    a) ” Dr Karan Singh was denied to become the President of India because he wears “Om Namah Shivaya” bracelet. He said in an interview to Indian Express“If Om Namah Shivaya is the reason I didn’t become president, then certainly it’s a great blessing, because I won’t exchange my Om Namah Shivaya, as Arjun says in the Bhagwad Gita, “even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, what then for this land.” Interestingly Hamid Ansari was selected to become the Vice President just because he was a Muslim.”

    Would like your thoughts on this, and how competent do you think Prathiba Patil is to become president of India….say compared with say Abdul Kalam.
    Again would like to hear if this matters at all..

    b) Surely you have read the entire manifesto of the congress party. How many times is there mention of minority communities compared with others…
    I am curious here to see if the non mention of the majority community matters to you. Or is it just me..

    c) You mentioned strengthening the state education system.
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/Economy/25_lakh_scholarships_for_minority_students_in_11th_Plan/articleshow/2861204.cms

    says the following:
    “A Centrally-sponsored scheme of pre-matric scholarships has been approved for eligible students of class I to X belonging to the MINORITY communities, Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay said in a reply in the Lok Sabha today
    He said it was proposed that 25 lakh scholarships would be given during the 11th Five Year Plan and 30 per cent of these would be earmarked for girl students. ”

    I would like your thoughts on why you think, only the minority community should benefit from this good scheme. Should not the economically poor uppercast kid also get a chance in this scheme.

    c) On December 18, 2006, AP government announced subsidy for Christians to travel to Bethlehem in the same lines as subsidy for muslims going on Haj Pilgrimage…..
    Will the government give me a subsidy to go to say Haridwar?
    Any thoughts on this…

    Let me again make my stance on this clear. We should call a spade a spade equally. When there are incidents like the one at the Mangalore pub, I will denounce it, wheather you join me or not…
    I will however continue to point out the other side, (again wheather you join me or not…:))
    Thanks for responding to my queries..

  14. well why does the congress need to meet ambanis , and why is there the lobbys from business that demand who should get which pf?
    Congress has the most no of crorepati mps now and money is power – one thing the old fashioned sangh styled politics of bjp never understood till mahajan came.

    Dlf will be one of the biggest gainers in tomorrows market rise

    U may have big ideals but i dont see them executed by the dole politics of the party in power which is fully controlled by the business and builder lobby…

    slums like centralized control – are a need for congress – they need them both for easy votes and for the eventual land grab to sell to builder lobby at a later date
    i know someone who is privy to the internals of mah politics and the tales i get to hear in private about the actual dealing would shock u or any good citizen for that matter.

  15. The AIADMK is out not because their campaign did not work but since MK Azhagiri managed his goons better than Jaya did her’s.

    Now, if you want to call that maturity of the voter, be careful what you wish for!

  16. I’m happy to share your enthusiasm and optimism. BJP certainly did not learn from their past mistakes. And the higher echelons of their senior leadership still live in the bygone era of old-fashioned negativist politics.

    All their personal attacks on MMS backfired. Ambivalence on Varun exposed their weakness in having any unequivocal stand. And positioning Modi as the future PM was hara-kiri.

    As Shekhar Gupta says in the IE, the politics of aspiration has won over that of negativism.

  17. @shanth – it is good that we have similar views/hopes/aspirations – and just differ on the Party that can deliver those.

    – on the fiscal mess – i get very scared of high debt – whether personal, corporate or national. the interest payments are killing. and we are mortgaging our tomorrow for today, without any way of knowing how we are going to repay. Having said that, in today’s economic scenario- governments across the world are abandoning fiscal prudence. I am hoping that MMS sans the left shackles can avoid too much debt.

    – i think that one of the ways of reducing debt is looking at a sensible energy policy – that possibly looks at solar and other renewable energy sources

    – farm subsidies need to be looked at – possibly being replaced with a voucher system for farmers with small land holdings- it has always been a political hot potato, but someone has to bell the cat.

    – we need to look at price support for the farmers as opposed to input support.

    – if the thing with Karan Singh is true it is dumb. truly dumb.
    – Pratibha Tai Patil – i want to have amnesia about her. she is an embarrassment. Querishi is at least a scholar, she is a stupid housewife.

    – on Muslims – especially in the North – they are seriously below poverty line. my own theory is that the bulk of them were converts from the lowest castes – and what has screwed them over the years is not the fact that they are Muslims but because they are from the lower castes. in that sense, i find the policies to be silly – because the cause of discrimination in India is caste – it doesn’t matter what religion you belong to. I wish that the Muslim clergy and the Christians accept this, as does the Govt. it is because of dogma which says that the Abahamic religions don’t have caste (they do in India) that these communities are still in deprivation.

    – finally on pilgrimage subsidies – i think it is stupid. the whole point of going on pilgrimage is that you the penitent – deprive yourself, save and make that effort. the Government by providing subsidies is taking away all the ‘good karma’. i don’t believe it should exist. if it does it can be via donations to a central charitable fund – and you and i chose to donate and avail ourselves of a 80(g) 🙂

    finally – stupidity and bad behavior is just that – doesn’t matter if it is owasi beating up tasleema or muthalik beating up pub going women – i will condemn both. we may disagree on the Party to support but our aims are more or less similar.
    it was good to have a constructive dialog.

    thank you

  18. @Mahendra – you are so right. if the BJP had shown leadership, and taken the EC’s advice and suspended Varun – maybe the results would not have been so abysmal for them. That and the fact that they seemed very opportunistic – aaj black money, kal Bofors, parsu Ram Mandir — it seemed like their campaign was being run by the Fox Network.
    India is not the USA. thankfully. elections are not about religion, or evolution or abortion or the equivalent. it has been, for the last 20 years or so, about Bijli, Sadak and Paani 🙂

  19. @santh

    >Will the government give me a subsidy to go to say >Haridwar?

    Actually the govt. gives you a subsidy, just not to Haridwar. Would you like to go to Manasrovar though?

    http://mea.gov.in/parliament/ls/2001/03/mar21-3657.htm

    Gargi has a good point about subsidies taking away the karma associated with a pilgrimage.

    Either way, the govt. should stick to governance and keep its nose out of religion and subsidies to any and all religions.

    If the govt. wants to give out subsidies on a religious basis, perhaps I should start a religion that involves worshipping at a resort and claim a subsidy too.

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