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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lok Sabha Polls, 2009

The recently concluded parliamentary elections have shown the majority of the electorate opting for two things in particular.
First, a change for the better so that the MPs are not non-performing functionaries.
And, that they want a stable government at the centre, thereby saying 'no' to dillydallying and experimental coalitions.

There are many new trends that have emerged from the results. It has been unanimously asserted that this time there were a large number of young voters. The proportion of youth among voters is larger in our country than most developed countries, thanks to the 'demographic dividend'. Our country has been passing through a phase when the proportion of young adults in the population is noticeably large. Now one might probe its political implications. The idea that a larger proportion of youth will lead to a greater role for youth in politics is based on too simplistic an assumption that they constitute a distinct political constituency - a section of population with distinct political preferences, attitudes and voting patterns. However, the induction of several first-timers and young politicians in the Union Cabinet has shown that the powers-that-be are showing that they are conscious of the emerging trend of positive bias for a fresh governance.

The outcome of the 15th Lok Sabha elections have been interpreted by many as the surge of youth. Many have analysed the young voters eager for a youthful leadership to come up. Rahul Gandhi has been seen as a major draw as the United Progressive Alliance inched towards a near-majority in the 545-seat Lok Sabha, of which 543 are elected. There is nothing wrong with the preference for a youth-oriented leadership or a mandate for Sonia Gandhi's, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi's leadership. But one also has to guard against false lessons in bureaucratic-bourgeois democracy. Parliamentary politics must not degenerate into a harmful waste because of the very structure of the economy-polity in India, whereby illusions are circulated and the way for revisionist decay gets paved.
In both West Bengal and Kerala, the common people have come out and voiced their rejection of the way CPI(M) has governed. It is interesting that the other partners of the Left Front - RSP, Forward Block and CPI - seem to have been much less hit by the popular anger; in Bengal each has won two of the three seats they contested. Thus, at the end of elections, CPI(M) finds itself in an absolutely reduced and marginalised state - far from its declared role of being the force that uses the parliament to bring relief to people within a capitalist economy.
Across the world, the neo-liberal economy has been facing a crisis. In many developing countries, people are turning to the communists and social-democrats to counter the socio-economic helplessness. It is indeed sad that in such a worldwide scenario, the common people, in their negation of the communal/corrupt/anti-people politics of many local, as well as national parties, are forced to elect a government which is in alliance with neo-liberal forces.
The Congress' gamble - focusing in a major way on the young voters, often the first-time voter - has paid off well. Its youth power has been recognised as a formidable force, and its new young leaders are raring to go. Jyoti Mirdha, Meenakshi Natrajan, Mausam Noor, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Agatha Sangma and Sachin Pilot are some of the young faces in the Parliament that we will be watching out for.

[pic courtesy: Prabir Sikder]


Satyaki said...

It is good to see that the young Indians have enthusiastically participated in the polls this time, both as voters and as people's representatives. Even a few years back, the youth were characteristically apathetic, especially in the metro cities, in the electoral process. This was a fact aptly reflected in the film "Rang De Basanti", where the urban, young, educated Indians mouthed stuff like: 'Things will never change!' and 'Our system sucks!'
Thankfully, the young Indians have grown more conscious of their rights & duties. Campaigns like 'Jaago Re' too have helped. We urgently need serious, energetic, educated young politicians who can inspire with their leadership all the more.

Anirban Halder said...

Really good post!! The trends have been picked and analysed well. Just as expected from you, :).

Yes, the India growing young every year had to reflect on the votes and political representation one day. Besides it's a great relief that there's no more fragmented coalition. A stable government mostly represented by an experienced national-level party was the order of the day in these times of global meltdown that has directly impacted many of us. Keeping my fingers crossed for a turnaround soon under the able and cautious handling of economy by the new govt.