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Indian elections throw up a new type of politician

New Delhi, May 21 (ANI): Now that the dust and heat of a hard fought election has ended, a new Government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is going to be in place. It is time to take stock of the just concluded elections.  Is it the end of rabble-rousing politics? Are we witnessing the emergence of a new breed of politicians who are focused on good governance and development instead of hate, divisiveness and rabble rousing?
Even as the BJP still emerges as the main opposition party of India, its traditional brand of politics stands rejected by the electorate. The number of MPs that the party managed to bring into Parliament has primarily come from states where its leaders have achieved development and growth.  That the Congress beat it decisively was because that party presented a new breed of politicians like Rahul Gandhi, who concentrated on  good governance and development.
The BJP now faces a dilemma. Apart from being a party led by leaders who should have retired long ago, its appeal based  on Hindutva and divisiveness stands rejected by the electorate. Where does the party go from here? Where is its second line of leadership? The party seems to be waiting for the RSS to provide answers for all this.
Hindutva as a policy needs to be redefined. The BJP has been in the habit of lampooning the Congress and others as ‘pseudo seculars’. The time has come for it to clearly define what kind of secularism it accepts or preaches? What was Varun Gandhi doing in Pilibhit? Was he an image of the BJP’s secular politician?
The time has also come for the BJP to decide whether  the party is a political extension of the RSS or does it have its own mind and ideology? The difficulties it faced in electing  a new leader for its Parliamentary party shows the divisions within.
So long as the BJP continues its link with the RSS, it will find it difficult to have image that is inclusive; an appeal that brings all Indians together; an appeal that promises them a share in the national pie. The politics of “mandir masjid” has to give way to the politics of peace, development and growth. Can the BJP do it?
The BJP has never clearly defined its  relationship with obscurantist and fundamentalist outfits like the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), the Bajrang Dal and Ram Sene.  These outfits really have no right to represent or speak on behalf of Hindus, for they just do not know what Hinduism is all about. Has any of them seriously understood the meaning of  the Gita or the essence of the Vedas?   If they act like the storm troopers of the BJP, the party has itself to blame for its debacle.  
The Nehru-Gandhi family that has succeeded in retaining its leadership role in the Congress has a special place in the hearts of India’s poor. Coming from a wealthy background, Moti Lal Nehru gave his all at the call of Mahatma Gandhi.  Jawaharlal Nehru started his work in the party as a Sewa Dal worker.  Rahul Gandhi has been spending a lot of his time in the villages and even staying with the poor to find out what has gone wrong that in the sixty- odd years of freedom  its fruits have not reached the poor. 
India’s poor have seen how the Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government tried to implement its promises. Schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the waiver of farmer loans have lifted the spirit and pride of the rural countryside. These schemes are not a dole like England’s unemployment benefit, but wages for employment. They have enabled the poor to retain their pride. The closely   monitored schemes have paid rich dividends to the Congress Party and protected rural India from the vagaries of the market economy.
The Left,  led by the CPI-M ,  has miscalculated. At a time and moment when their support to the Manmohan Singh had come to be recognised, they withdrew it and committed a double whammy by opposing the nuclear deal. They were dealt a sound drubbing by the electorate.
The youth of India, proud of the country’s history, are looking forward . They want to see the nation marching abreast with the rest of the developed world. They are a part of a fast emerging global culture. Thus, when obscurantist organisations like the Bajrang Dal , the VHP and the Ram Sene show off their brand what they claim ‘Indian culture’, the BJP had to suffer the backlash .  If the BJP has to woo the youth of India, the party would need to define very clearly its relationship with such outfits.
The simple fact is that the youth of India are easily able to identify themselves with young leaders like Rahul , Priyanka, Sachin Pilot and  Scindia.    There is no one that the BJP can produce to rival their image. The BJP youth wing is defunct and now it seems the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) is not even an adjunct of the BJP.
The BJP needs to reactivate its youth wing to feel the pulse of India’s youth.
The people of India have voted decisively for a better tomorrow. They want growth and development. The whole world is going through a very serious economic down turn and the impact is being felt in India as well.  The simple fact is that during this election, the BJP or the NDA failed to convince the people of India that it can handle the economy of this country better than Manmohan Singh.
The personal attacks on Manmohan Singh only made the voter more sympathetic towards the Congress. Some BJP campaigners did the same with Sonia Gandhi and her children , only to suffer a voter backlash. The lesson is , please do not take Indian voters to be dumb. They can see the difference between the politics of hate and constructive criticism.
Whether the  month-long Parliamentary elections have changed the political scene in  India, only time will tell. For the moment it is clear that the electorate is beginning to demand development, growth and good governance. The politics of dealers and fixers that was thrown up by the licence permit raj may finally come to an end as the country demands a more transparent economic regime. The transparency and the right to information empower people to demand accountability from those elected to run the government.
The manner in which Congress had led the way in injecting youth and fresh blood into the country’s Parliament is to be admired. Most of these young people are well educated and professionals in their own right. That they have  taken  to politics could decidedly improve the governance of the country. Politics may no longer be a field shunned by the educated youth.
This election will remain historic for the manner in which it has introduced the idea of development, good governance and accountability from those elected to the Parliament. It certainly has introduced a new breed of politician on the Indian political scene. The emergence of this new breed of politicians may give greater fillip to the economic growth of India. One can only hope that this trend really becomes the rule for those getting into politics. (ANI)

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