Random Thoughts

Tryst with Democracy, Who'll Win?

Tryst with Democracy
A Hat that has Lost its Shape
Newspaper Correction
Alphabet of the Day
Struck at C
Strident Tune
Who’ll Win?
Take Your Choice

Tryst with Democracy

The story is told of a disciple of the Buddha, who once asked the Master whether he too could attain the exalted state of Tathagatta. Buddha replied that it was certainly possible as long as he followed the right path. And, if he proceeded on a wrong trail, there would be enough indications to deter him, if he were to remain heedful. Today, our nation is confronted with the question whether it has chosen the right road to attain its national objectives. We have put the entire task of nation-building in the political domain. Six decades after Independence, the Republic is faced with problems of immense magnitude. Let us as voters imbued with innate common sense choose the right path to find for ourselves the rightful place in the comity of nations that has eluded us all this time.

Though the chief contenders at the national lever are three, namely, BJP, Congress and AAP, as many as 1300 registered political parties are in the electoral fray, scrambling for 543 Lok Sabha seats. Amidst all the poll fury the nation has started the process spread over nine phases and five weeks. On May 16, we’ll know which Party stakes its claim to form the next government. This is by all reckoning the most crucial of all the elections to determine India’s democratic destiny as a nation.

A Hat that has Lost its Shape

It was CEM Joad, the famous BBC Brains Trust Radio spokesman who once said, half in jest and half seriously, that socialism is like a hat that had lost its shape altogether since all sort of people with varying head sizes have donned it. What was once valid for socialism is most aptly applicable to the term secularism in our society. What it means to a thoroughbred Catholic like Sonia Gandhi may not be the same for the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, Narnedra Modi. With the Lok Sabha elections in full swing, the so-called communalism vs. secularism debate has taken centre stage and the Muslim vote has emerged once again as a key issue. So, every discussion has a mention of secularism whatever its connotations.

I, personally, have grave misgivings that all Muslims vote en bloc. But politicians think otherwise. Hence, those opposed to Modi lose no chance to rake up the 2002 Gujarat riots, forgetting that far more — at least hundred times more — Muslims died in riots under Congress regimes, the most of all, for instance, in Nellie in 1968.

Adding least needed fuel to the fire that dyed-in-the-wool opportunist Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari of Jama Masjid in Delhi has thrown his weight – and he carries some — on the side of Congress. This endorsement comes days after his tête-à-tête with Sonia Gandhi where some sort of deal was stitched.

The question is: will the Muslim community, which accounts for around 15% of the 814 million voters in India, vote against the BJP? Here is, dear readers, are six key states where Muslim votes will play a role in influencing the outcome:

With nearly a fifth of its population being Muslim, UP is a state where the community’s vote may play a far-from-marginal role. For non-BJP parties – SP, BSP and Congress – winning over the Muslim population has always been, and will be, a key factor.

The Muslims community’s disillusionment with the Congress was evident in Rajasthan in the 2013 assembly polls, when all 16 Muslim candidates fielded by the party lost. Muslims in the State will influence the outcome in at least nine of the 25 Lok Sabha seats.

In West Bengal, with the second-largest Muslim population in the state barring Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshwadeep, has always had the Muslim vote playing the decisive role. The ruling Trinamool Congress enjoys the community’s allegiance. Look at Imam Bokhari’s endorsement of Mamata Banerjee. Against the backdrop of the Singur and Nandigram land movements, TMC ended, in 2011, the Left’s 34-year-old stranglehold on West Bengal. Muslim supported TMC. This time, however, the Left Front may give the Trinamool a run for its money by fielding the most number of Muslim candidates.

In Bihar, Muslim votes can influence outcome in at least nine seats. There is a big talk that Muslims are likely to vote in favor of the UPA, while the JD (U) could get the support of minorities where UPA candidates are considered ‘weak’.

As the Narendra Modi factor grows stronger, there is likely to be a consolidation of the minority Christian and Muslim votes behind the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala. Minority votes could help the ruling UDF tide over the anti-incumbency factor.

In Assam, Muslim voters constitute about 35% of the electorate and play a deciding role in at least six of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. Muslim-dominated areas in Assam were regarded as Congress bastions. But since 2009, state’s All India United Democratic Front has fought the Congress for the Muslim vote pie, giving an advantage to the BJP that won four seats during the last Lok Sabha polls.

Newspaper Correction

Can you guess who wrote the following?

“For the past 12 years we have been writing about the chief minister of Gujarat as being responsible for the happenings in his state.
We called him a communalist with no grip on his administration. A man unable to curb violence against thousands of citizens, and who showed laxity in prosecuting its perpetrators.

Now that he is clearly ahead in the polls we have been utterly mistaken.

He is in fact a visionary with a total grip on his administration. His revolutionary view on development has made life better for thousands of citizens.

We are shocked by our misidentification and we offer Mr Modi our most sincere and unconditional hypocrisy.”

And it’s signed by all the journalists and anchors who had been writing in the publication.”

The above apology — or it is just a parody? — appeared in the Mumbai Mirror. This indeed is one of the most passive aggressive, non-correcting corrections I’ve ever run into.

Alphabet of the Day

You learned in school A for Apple, B for ball and so on and so forth. How terribly dated? The latest is the list of 26 alphabets and for each alphabet a scam or corruption case named thereafter. That’s how it begins:

A for AdarshScam,
B for BoforsScam,
C for CoalScam,
D for DamScam,
E for ElectionScam,
F for FodderScam,
G for 2G Scam

Struck at C

Asked to recite the alphabet a child got struck at the third letter.

The kind teacher wanted to be helpful. She suggested C for….

Another boy shouted C for Congress.
Another added quickly: C for Coalgate.
Thereafter was an avalanche: Crore Pati, Chaos, Crime, Corruption, Criminals, Culprits….

Strident Tune

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday, saying he “will do anything to become PM… divide into many pieces… make people fight against each other”.

Addressing a rally in Balod, Rahul said, “Modi PM banna chahta hai, uske liye wo kuch bhi kar dega. Wo tukde-tukde kar dega…wo ek ko dusre se ladaa dega (Modi wants to become PM, and will do anything for that. He will divide into many pieces… make people fight against each other).” Rahul also said the BJP wants to hand over all the power to one person, and has humiliated its senior leaders.

“In their party, one man knows everything about the world. According to them, one person will change India. Make me a peon and I will change India. But peons also commit theft. They want to hand over everything to one person… don’t ask what will happen later… They had several leaders: Advaniji, Jaswantji. Ask them chaukidari kaisi hui? They were all set aside,” he said.

Blaming the BJP for the Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar riots, he said BJP members beat up people in other states and make Hindus fight against Muslims.

Is this outburst a proof of the old dictum: if your case is weak, raise the pitch of your voice?

Who’ll Win?

After reading through the above I can well imagine you shooting the question: all this analysis and facts are fine, now tell us who’s going to win?

The simple answer is whoever is: your favorite. Didn’t Andy Rooney famously said:“People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.

Take Your Choice

The best three jokes I’ve heard on the Congress Prime Ministerial candidate during the week are:

Rahul Gandhi at the Congress core committee meet: “If people of the nation are demanding change, why doesn’t the RBI mint and circulate it?”

Poor Man to Rahul Gandhi: Sir, Diesel has become very costly.

Rahul Gandhi: Big deal!!! Wear Benetton or Tommy Hilfiger instead.

Questioner: Mr. Gandhi, can you name the seven sisters of the north east?

RaGa: Is that remake of Satte pe Satta?


More by :  Sakshi

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