As the Gujarat election results unfolded, it became increasingly clear that the ‘corporate Hindutva’ represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again prevailed, albeit with a largely reduced majority.
For a short while, to those who were watching the live results, it appeared as if the Congress, led by the scion of the Gandhi dynasty, may pull off a surprise victory. And the seemingly astounding turnaround for the Congress, though short-lived, sent chills down the spines of our casino capitalists, as the benchmark in’dice’ in the Bombay ‘casino’, which of late has been mirroring the corporate Hindutva sentiment, was understandably down by over 700 points in the morning trade before rebounding as the clearer picture started emerging. And some dynasty loyalists, who were present in the television studios, started indulging in a premature celebration blissfully ignoring the fact that the initial trend might not sustain.
I, being a common man, am concerned about the plight of my fellow commoners. For them, neither the BJP nor the Congress is good because one represents ‘corporate Hindutva’, which only makes the lives of the poor and marginalised more miserable, and the other represents corruption and casteism, which eat into the vitals of the society.
Then what is the alternative? The third front? It is only a delusion and in all probability may not materialise. So these elections only made me uninterested and unexcited.
Now, what will happen? The dynasty scion, who became the president of the Congress party only days ago may face some heat from the disgruntled party members for not being able to capitalise on the vulnerabilities of the BJP, especially after it imposed a needless demonetisation and botched up the implementation of the GST.
And Modi, emboldened by this victory, will definitely pursue his neo-liberal policies with increased vigour and intensify his efforts to deregulate with an avowed intention to make the lives of his corporate cronies easy as part of his ‘ease of doing business’ mission. If he doesn’t do that he may not be able to mobilise enough ‘anonymous’ corporate donations for his 2019 campaign. Therefore, this result will only pave way for the institutionalisation of the crony capitalism and its further entrenchment.
The reduced majority in Gujarat, in spite of it being a Hindutva laboratory and the inspiration for an economic model called ‘Gujarat model’, which is now being implemented all across the country, is truly ominous for Modi and his party. The BJP, though managed to score impressive wins in urban centres, appears to have faltered in the rural areas, where the agrarian distress is running rampant.
As far as the Congress party is concerned, it better get rid of the dynasty and bring an able leader to the forefront who can compete with Modi. As long as Rahul Gandhi leads the party, the binary between Rahul and Modi will, in all likelihood, work to the advantage of Modi. The problem with people in the Congress is, though many of them are able leaders, they deliberately disable prostrate before the dynasty in the belief that only they have the capability to bring the party to power.
These elections, in a way, deliver an important message. That is, the people, in the absence of a credible alternative that has the capability and willingness to take care of the interests of the poor and the marginalised, opted for a seemingly lesser evil.
They also appeared to have been swayed by the Prime Minister’s scare tactics, which he executed with a campaign rhetoric that is laced with communal overtones.
In an essence, elections in India are increasingly turning the words of Karl Marx a reality. He stated, “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” Indeed, people don’t have any other choice except for choosing between Modi and Rahul and they have to put up with them till an alternative emerges. For now, the people of Gujarat decided not to change the incumbent oppressor.