I have long cherished and celiberated my politically neutral position as a proclaimed mugwump. However, the way political world around me moved with a speed so unusual in Indian world of homeopathic revolutions, only way to maintain sanity in a rare fast-changing scenario which moved from Congress to AAP to BJP was to get on the bus whisking past.
So I did and vote this time, not hiding behind missing entry of voting list or the NOTA, which is nothing but a self-satisfying absurdity, since with or without NOTA, the one with highest votes in rest of it will win the seat anyways. The world around me was seething with anger, and I perhaps, augmented that fury with mine, even more feral then that of the world around.
A lot many Pundits term this election as a referendum on corruption. That reading isn't entirely correct. Many things happened in last few years. We Indians, to a great degree have, over the centuries reconciled ourselves with the idea of divine rule, however much ridiculous it might appear to the world at large. That reflects in the Gandhi family having Amethi and Raibareli as Gandhi bastion, in spite of failing to do any service to the said constituency. What compounds the absurd notion of divine right is the silent submission of public logic which agrees to the lack of development but refuses to change the incompetent guardians.
Then India Against Corruption happened which actually followed Ramdev's movement against black money. I was still unmoved cynic, going about selling computer. The option presented by BJP as principle opposition was nothing more than a saffron congress, with similar smugness, and political arrogance. Then beheading of soldiers on the borders happened with a continued dithering by a incompetent government. Then Nirbhaya happened and Home Minister, used all his learning as a police constable to crush an impromptu movement. He shamelessly said that is the state supposed to talk to every twenty people who come up to protest. He was the Marie Antoniatte of Indian polity at the time and very ugly one at that. I was there on the first day and still remember water canons, and young girls mounting themselves over the lamp posts near the parliament. The non-political face of movement and a clear disgust at the crime, with the shameful statement of erstwhile CM of Delhi advising women to not to be adventurous in the backdrop of murder of a female journalism playing in my mind, I had to step in and be counted. The only hope for the movement was in numbers. When the power corrupts the minds of the ruler, citizens can only find safety in numbers. AAP came in towards the end of the day with their caps, declaring political intention.
So, to my mind, to believe corruption be the force behind the suspected change of guard in governance is creding ourselves with much more than what we deserved. We are Ok with corruption till the time a pretence of ruler as a guardian is maintained. In the backdrop of all these events, that thin veneer fell down and the political apathy stood in front of us in its naked ugliness. People aren't only angry with congress, they are disgusted with its apathy. We could've probably tolerated the government which is corrupt, but not one, which additionally is uncaring. The carefully crafted illusion of the king as divine father fell off, as women died and nation attacked and government 'condemned' everything. The table where founding fathers envisaged the buck to stop, became the desk of decadence with a helpless figurehead, making rare utterances of condemnation, followed by thorough inaction. One found the outgoing PM active and aggressive only when his a few corrupt men were attacked. At those occasions, he would be scathing in attacks on not only constitutional bodies like CAG , but even judicial entities, the port of last call like the honourable Supreme Court. The man had the anger when it came to protecting the party, but when it came to protect the nation, he was a timid man.
AAP in between created the cracks in the images of infallibility of ruling dispensation, and I cheered with all when AAP cheif beat Sheila Dixit with a defeat as definite as could be possible for a serving CM. But then the 49 days disaster happened. Traffic police were taken away authority to challan the errant auto-drivers, since the auto-unions supported AAP. Then standard drama of free power and water, feeding on greed of citizens who would believe that the state can run without contribution of the citizens. The drama went beyond being amusing when the man who claimed everywhere that he had proofs of massive and blatant corruption of congress in CWG, suffered amnesia. Then he brought out Lokpal bill as a panacea to all the ills of nation, before resigning in a huff, merely because the Lt. Governer asked it to be routed through the centre. He wanted his bill, cleared his way, and not being allowed, left citizens without the bill and even without governance. But then his idea was to use Delhi as first stop to national politics, which soon became clear and in the process, also escape the impact of illogical policies he enacted.
This brought changes in BJP as well. The old guard, who were in some tacit understanding with corrupt and uncaring government, with some Omertà with the congress found their own position untenable. After dithering for a while, Narendra Modi came in as viable option and a hungry notion jumped at the fresh air which came with him. He came in as a man who wouldn't hold his punches and to the utter surprise of detractors, would follow secularism to the literal meaning. If the amount of opposition is a measure of a man, this was quite a man, given the opposition he faces within and without BJP. Those who used the falls ideology of feigned secularism, people who get annoyed by Kanwariyas disrupting the traffic, and advise how crackers must not be used on Diwali, but have no problem with mosque loudspeakers in the middle of town or change of traffic five times a day, collected and conspired against the non-Delhi outsider. They all became Raj Thackarey to the man who came from out of town.
AAP which lost the briefcase full of evidence against kalmadi and Shiela Dixit got new briefcase about Modi and Adani. The great Shobha De fumed in national daily about the misfortune which has befallen on the forsaken wife of Narendra Modi whom he married as a minor. I was surprised at the article with the tenor of a feminist fanatic and wondered if she wouldn't have termed it a story of emancipation had it been a woman opting out of her wedlock, illegal in the first place, to pursue an ambition, assuming for a minute, Modi was driven not by a intent of serving the nation, but by political ambition. From earlier readings, I would believe, Ms De to believe that pursuing ambition is an act of emancipation. That both concerned parties are not complaining didn't matter to anyone, even to those who are luxuriating in the happy world of polygamy.
Citizens who lost a guardian, corrupt or not, find hope in Modi, and the fact that he comes from outside the closed coterie of so called national politics gives further confidence to people. It pins hope of people on him, which once in power he cannot overlook, lest it will become a case of Janata government post-emergency. He will have to take bold decision, which is what the country sorely need. He, also hopefully will bring in real secularism, wherein the state is not equally interested in all religion, rather the state is equally uninterested in any religion. As a friend commented, India is only country where secularism want separate laws based on religion and so-called non-secularism want uniform civil code. Irony will not be lost on any thinking man. By contrast, AAP with its shifting stance, celebrity common men and women, and candidate with changing names basis the religious demography of constituency doesn't get my vote.
So my inherent tendency to think too much makes me refrain from going ballistic, but I can no longer bask in my neutrality. I have to jump in. In my own small way, my vote is for Narendra Modi, the man, and not the hype- the man with his greatness and failings. I want a new guy to run the country, who isn't yet sure of divine right to rule and between Arvind Kejriwal and Modi, Modi gets it. Modi brings a hope against status quo and going by indications, that is what we need. We are in a mess which we can not continue preserving. This is the time for a new thought, this is the time to stand up and be counted.