These General Elections will determine the Nations Direction in future.
The seven-phase elections to the 14th Lok Sabha are presently under way, with fifth phase of voting being conducted today. By the time you receive your copy of Naad, the results would have been declared and the nation would have ushered in the next government at the center.
Kashmiri Pandit’s political history, since 1931, as far as the electoral politics is concerned, has essentially revolved around backing one party or the other, rather than jumping themselves into the electoral battle. They had few numbers of their own to make a political dent in a democratic system, where only numbers matter. Over the years, KP’s have invariably kept two issues in mind while voting; nationalism and progressive politics. As a result, they supported Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah when he formed the National Conference after breaking away from the Muslim conference in 1934. Sheikh Abdullah’s tilt towards the congress & leaning away from the communal politics of MC represented a nationalist as well as progressive shift in his politics, which appealed to the KP’s, placed as they were in an unenviable position of being mere supporters rather than participants, being a microscopic minority.
However, as Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference developed second thoughts about the accession, he had to be finally put under arrest in 1953. KP’s, therefore, shifted their loyalty to Bakshi Gulam Mohammad, who replaced the Sheikh. Over the years, KPs remained loyal voters of the congress party, as it represented the Nationalist voice in Kashmir.
All this, however, changed after our exodus from Kashmir in 1989-90. Most of our biradari saw congress complicit in our wide-spread killings and our eventual exodus from Kashmir. Though many remained loyal to Nehru – Indira legacy, yet a large number of them shifted their loyalties to the Bhartiya Janta Party (previously Jan Sangh) as people saw it as a party that supported the displaced community during the dark days of 1989-90 and thereafter. Over a period of time, the BJP’S, appeal among the community has only increased.
In India, due to our civilizational values and traditions, there is unlikely to be a revolution which would usher in political change. Therefore, revolutions have been ushered in through ballot on some occasion. The elections of 1977, which dethroned the unquestioned queen of India, Indira Gandhi, and the election of 1984, held after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, were revolutionary. The later brought back the Congress Govt with an unbelievable number of seats; (402). Thereafter, it was the election of 2014 which can be called revolutionary.
The 2014 elections represented the massive out pouring of support for Narendra Modi as people saw in him a great hope for the resurgent India. He was seen as a person who articulated India’s aspirations, as none before him had done. The buildup of massive support for Narendra Modi saw India getting its first single-party majority government after 30 Years. In six states, congress could not even open the account.
The 2019 elections are different, in the sense that people will vote based on the performance of the NDA government which has been in power at the center for the last five years. The alternative option on the other hand is the fragmented opposition which has joined hands to dethrone Narendra Modi, despite numerous contradictions making them each other’s foes for decades. However, in a diverse country like India, performance of the govt is not the only thing that decides the winnability. Caste, regional aspiration, influence of vested interests, communal leaning’s, etc, all add up to decide the fate of elections.
If electoral success was to be based on the performance of the government, the re-election of this govt is a near certainty. NDA government’s numerous social schemes like Jan-dhan Yojna, Ujwala scheme, last mile provision of electricity, building of millions of toilets, health insurance, crop insurance, constructing two crore houses for the rural poor, etc, have changed the lives of millions of marginalized Indians. The massive investment in infrastructural development, like roads, ports, airfields, railway stations, etc., has improved connectivity throughout India, helping our towns and villages to grow.
India’s image among the comity of nations has improved tremendously. Big powers no longer take us lightly; our voice matters; our market matters; our growing middle class invites huge FDI. India is already a three trillion economy & third biggest in terms of GDP. It will be no exaggeration to say that India is well on its way to become a big influential power in the world.
I hope our march ahead is not derailed by people voting due to narrow political considerations, but for achieving the lofty goal of Nation First.