The Candidate’s ‘Game’

by Amit Bhushan on Friday 29 March 2019, 6:32 PM | Category: Politics| View: 418 views


The Candidate's ‘Game'

                              By: Amit Bhushan                            Date: 29th Mar. 2019


Even with rising stakes, the candidates ‘Game' is not changing and this is even as Chief Netas and Ministers are mostly singing differently. Earlier, the focus of these Chief Netas and Ministers was ‘what other's are doing (wrongly), or not doing…. Or what will go wrong, if you (voter) do or don't do…, now it is changing to ‘what ‘I' did (or did differently)…. However there is similarity as well, like no one took any credit for RTI and similarly no one taking credit for RERA or IBC and this silence seems to be speaking volumes. Even a venerable Hazare seems to have dumped RTI and gotten satisfied with developments on the Lokpal front. The economists in India seem to be sure that ‘consumer confidence' is actually ‘not good for consumption' as neither ‘builder segments' nor ‘borrower segments' seems buzzing with economic activity. We do have discussions on GST, which again was passed with ‘political consensus'. And also, the Netas and parties seem to be jumping on initiatives for start-ups etc. Basically the commercial news media as well as the parties and Netas don't want the ‘real issues' discussed in public and that's not changing. In such cases, public response to it is by complicating the political process for ‘any kind of decision' and thus you can figure out the likely outcome. The complications for decision is going to be for anyone close to ‘ruler/ruling class' post elections, especially in a tough/fluid polity. It may be noted that most policy/legal initiatives like IBC or RERA or even one's like Demonetization etc. that took place in last five years weren't really on manifestoes (well-articulated) and were discussed very little in public discourse in the previous elections. Even if action against black-money, benami property, FDI (in Retail) was discussed, it witnessed little actual traction on ground. While some of the larger companies seem to be having issues with their debt, there seems to be little concern in small equity investors, about how are they being mis-led by these managements/accounts and little activism on this count even as we have a rising number of activists.

But coming back to topic of the ‘candidates', there seems to be little information with candidates on what all things were actually ‘delivered' and its status viz. working, working with issues or not-working; constituency-wise. The reason may be simple, as they don't feel to connect with either the ground workers to get feedback or with civil servants to understand their active engagements. The Netadom believes that this task is that of Ministers (while they pursue their ‘interests'), many of whom are almost equally disconnected. The candidates would want the Ministers or ministry probable to canvass for votes. The task of the candidates here is ability to maintain a set of ‘loyal workers' who can organize ‘rallies' or ‘collect a decent gathering' where the ‘lectures' can go on. The ‘candidates (especially new ones)' firmly believe that this can go on perennially even as they see ‘old wickets' falling like nine pins of late and a churn amongst ‘candidates' themselves. The Netas and parties which do have some ‘loyalists' on ground including some good or even rudimentary feedback mechanism, including some processing and conversion to workable idea will do somewhat better. Presently, there don't seem to be many ideas on table which can be said to ‘outcome of any ground connect/feedback, but just about a façade to cover ‘real issues'. Since any sort of decision making is going to become complex, the businesses would know why and how they would have to navigate the course, though businesses seldom stay away from taking political punts as they feel little risk in a corrupt enmeshed polity, where changing sides in any scenario is practiced freely by Netas and therefore little restrictions for anyone especially for a business.

Along with Jobs, we have issues around Education/Skilling as well as Healthcare for which Netas and parties haven't really come up with any remote ‘redress'. Besides, this there is a rising issue around water, environment/pollution, fuel and food prices, low farm prices/productivity etc. Basically, the budgets here are mis-appropriated hugely and Netas/parties don't really want to commit to any sort of monitoring (of government servants/machinery) to improve the situation with a view to ‘control' the bureaucrat-goonda-Neta nexus. They may promise some news school/colleges to oblige their contractor friends, though. The political myth about infra investments leading to growth refuses to die down, even as we continue to have rather limited growth (on the back of a spare ‘capacity') with a rather fast rising city-specific infra creation/development. If any Neta or party is questioned on the remedy for jobs, the response still would be to invest on infra although it fetches them very little votes especially in the crucial rural belt. So, it is the rural areas leading the ‘change' and since these have the larger chunk of voters, so the trepidation in the Netadom is higher. So you have issues that can digress attention being floating around and because the ‘opposition' candidates and Netas too have little by the way of solution, so there is an equally strong ‘counter narrative' on non-issues, so as to not miss on the media footage. Let the ‘Game' evolve……

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