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Are Happy Days Here Again?

Are Happy Days Here Again?

After having given indications of reviving the ‘Ayodhya Kand’ to spur its failing mass-popularity, the Modi-sarkar also intends exploiting the aam aadmi aspect of Indian politics to grab valuable votes.

Just as the governments in the past, the BJP-ensemble at the centre too has realized the convenience of announcing welfare schemes as popular measures to gain credibility amongst the masses.  

The Interim Budget 2019-20 presented by the Union Finance Minister on Feb 1 is very strongly suggestive of this fact.

Announcing a host of welfare schemes for the poor farmers, those in the unorganized sectors, and income tax sops for the middle class, the budget benefactions for the  aam aadmi has been loud and clear.

But, with a distinct thrust on his immediate needs and comforts, one wonders why the common man suddenly comes into reckoning in the year of elections! Not the least tired by their magniloquence on the subject, politicians continue to unfalteringly raise concerns about the aam aadmi.

One can readily recollect the ‘cheaper petrol’ gimmick that won admiration for the last BJP-government in the state, not a bit for alleviating the problems of the common man, but for fulfilling pre-poll promises made to the Goans.

While food-grains and other house-hold commodities at subsidized rates would have been more appropriate considering the rising price index then, the aam aadmi was happier residing in a state which offered petrol at the cheapest price in the whole country!

Propping up the aam aadmi as that deprived class of people deserving their optimum attention, politicians cutting across party lines are exuberant about the grand plans envisaged for them. However, it has never been that easy for the common man to avail the benefits of the grandiose schemes announced by the government in all magnanimity – even as election time bonanzas!

The idea of a common man is purely the creation of political minds to be used exclusively to further the interests of the political class. But in effect, every aam aadmi, helpless against the machinations of the political establishment, continues to fight for his basic needs and rights.  

As a vital cog in the development of the nation, the aam aadmi is however the one overlooked when it comes to ‘sharing the spoils’, so to speak. Almost always, it is the common man who finds himself pushed into the depths of anonymity while those who seemingly play a significant role in engaging themselves on the matter of their upliftment are seen receiving kudos for their noble thoughts!

The political fraternity has never been short of ideas when it comes to electoral survival and the aam aadmi initiative has come as that masterstroke which has ably assisted it in its endeavours as well.  

Moreover, with the aam aadmi inadvertently falling victim to the trickle-down effects of large-scale scams and incidents of corruption that characterizes the higher echelons of power manifesting themselves in inflation and a host of other socio-economic malaises, how secure has the common man been in the order of things in as far as the priorities of the political class is considered!   

However, the subservient attitude that has exemplified the Indian-psyche has resulted in the typical situation where the common man has taken everything lying down. Or, for that matter, the political establishment has taken the aam aadmi for granted!

The aam aadmi does not purport to be a symbol of pity! It is time Indian politics moved away from such self-serving considerations and thought of governance as a more inclusive affair.

But all said and done, the authoritarian rule that has characterized the Modi-government at the centre has however dismayed the common man who had along cherished the dream of  achche din ahead, only to be disillusioned with the whole idea in the end.

Moreover Narendra Modi’s obsession with a ‘Congress-mukht Bharat’ has received a serious jolt with the BJP losing the plot in the recent elections to the state assemblies as the saffron party suffered defeat in three of its bastions – and that too just ahead of the general elections!

Of course there will be a lot of introspection to be done by not only the Congress and the BJP, but also by the host of political parties that vie to make a mark in the forthcoming elections.

Which once again brings us to the question of having worthy candidates being fielded by various parties for the hustings! 

The last general elections had a number of candidates, immaterial of their political worth, winning the race by comfortable margins – by hitching themselves on to the Modi-bandwagon that is!

It may not be that easy this time and every candidate will have to come through solely on the strength of one’s leadership credentials. Apart from the 2 from the Anglo-Indian community to secure nomination, one’s position as one among the 543 MPs in the country will definitely take something more than the charismatic image of a trend-setter to guarantee.

Are there sufficient and quality leaders who can guide the destiny of the nation, ascertaining that the democratic frame of the country remains unblemished? Will there be any threat to the secular fabric of the country with communal tensions tearing the nation asunder!

The country has suffered enough in the hands of ‘elected representatives’ who will always be indebted for their existence and survival in Indian politics to the machinations of a few ‘established’ stars who have nurtured a good many followers along the way – something akin to the fostering of vote-banks.

Intending to be just the voices of their leaders, it leaves one in no doubt as to the individual competence of such cronies!

Some on the other hand owe their elevation to power for the sort of parochialism that they preach! The regional furore they create through their xenophobic acts and voice endears them to their supporters who are all along made to believe that they here have a man steadfast on his mission to accomplish something for the region.  

It is said that for a budding leader politics begins as a ‘social-service’ only to end up as ‘self-service’ as he gets a firmer foothold on the hierarchical ladder of success. Such has been the manner in which politics has been enacted in India.

But the country will always rue the absence of genuinely sincere and dedicated members who can take over the mantle of leadership when there is a void created on the top due to the ‘abdication’ of the present corps of leaders.

That explains why politicians have to target the common man as a beneficiary of their ‘seasonal’ largesse. When everything else fails, the ‘Mango man’ is always there to be juiced! Is it not time our leaders stopped milking the aam aadmi notion for political gains!

Even then, would the aam aadmi take courage to exhibit his resentment by raising the banner of revolt against such dispensations that solicit the common man’s support only during elections!

(Published on 11th February 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 07)