Friday, July 26, 2013

[Sarcasm]

Raj Babbar and Rasheed Masood have collectively achieved what other governments have been unable to achieve since independence. A solution to India's food problem! [Link]

*Drum roll

In view of the recent statements made by Raj Babbar and Rasheed Masood, the government doesn't really need the Food Security Bill / Ordinance. The Indian government can now in fact put a stop to all food subsidies.

These two gentlemen can contact their respective joints/eateries from where (as per their claims) they can get a full meal ranging from INR 5-12 and have them expand their operations all over the nation. These outlets can then provide a full meal at these super affordable prices, thereby eliminating the need for any food subsidy whatsoever!

In 2013, here are two individuals who claim that a proper meal (as per Babbar - including Rice, Sambhar and vegetables on the side) would not exceed INR 12 per person! This is dynamite. Even if Mr. Masood and Mr. Babbar were to take commission on this deal, I don't think anyone would object. In fact, I am confident that the parliament would even ratify said commission!

[/Sarcasm]


Now on a more serious note. These two individuals HAVE in fact achieved something with their recent comments. Collectively, they have dealt a massive blow to Congress' chances in the upcoming general elections. Unless the BJP really screws up in the run up, I think they have pretty much bagged this one. Now if they could just keep their party members (and their respective tweets) in check… they have a very good chance.

In my view – In elections (in India at least), the issues that SHOULD matter… rarely matter. You see, the general Indian population doesn't vote for the Prime-Minister of India. The National issues are restricted to television debates and manifestos. The common man voting in his constituency for his candidate is least bit concerned about verifying the GDP figures. He doesn't care who rubbished whom in which national debate on what channel.

He reads about it. He watches it, but in the end  is only concerned about his constituency and votes only for the candidate he likes in his constituency. The candidate who is popular in his constituency. The achievements or failures of the candidate's party on the national level are of little or no significance when it comes to casting his vote. He couldn't care less about the foreign policy or the success / failure of the FDI scheme.

The issues highlighted in the previous two paragraphs make good television. They provide good material for articles and blog posts. They serve as yet another option to waste away our time with colleagues and friends. These issues are for people like you and me. Self-anointed intellectuals. Another fact – Most of the self-anointed intellectuals don't vote. We couldn't care less even if we tried.


So how do Babbar and Masood's statements change the dynamics? Well, it pisses off the people who DO vote. A LOT! Now they simply don't want to vote for the Congress candidate in their constituency (even if he is a good administrator. Even if he is popular) because HE represents the Congress.

A party that mocks a community can be forgiven (targeted vote-banks). A party that screws up figures or cooks up statistics can be forgiven (politics hai. Everyone exaggerates and screws up). Almost all 'sins' are quickly forgotten or forgiven. The one that isn't is when a party mocks the poor or the lower middle class.

The elite don't vote. Even if they did, it won't add up to much. The elite don't make up much of the voting population. The elite simply contribute to the campaign funds and party funds.

Is there anything that can change this for the Congress? Well yes:

  • Congress will have to take radical steps. Suspend anyone who makes an irresponsible comment and claim that their party does not subscribe to anti-national, anti-reform, anti-poor, communal views and has no place for individuals that do. This may include senior members as well - Not impossible, but improbable (You may be surprised, but most spokespersons don't have much of support when it comes to vote gathering. They too just appeal to the self-anointed intellectuals).
  • Congress could come up with a miracle reform in the run up to the elections. That doesn't mean fancy cooked up statistics. No complicated mouthful financial reform. It has to be a populist reform. Perhaps something like an immediate and unconditional commitment of full disclosure of its funding and activities - Not impossible, but improbable.
  • The single largest opposition party really screws up in the run up to the voting day. Could be anything. They could say something idiotic about cricket (*rolls eyes). Say something about SRK or make a statement on Salman's ongoing case. Could make an insensitive remark on a rape victim. Just about anything – Highly probable.

If none of this happens, then no amount of horse-trading is going to enable the Congress to form the government in the centre in 2014.


Just to highlight how the government in the centre is elected, here is a simple and efficient YouTube presentation:

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