Thursday, April 18, 2013

Monopolitics in Gujarat

Monopolitics is bad for democracy just as monoculture harms agriculture and ecology

Many a time people are so passionate about the cause they are attached to that they lose sight of everything else. Worse, they let passion cloud their reasoning.InGujarat,almostallthosewho wantedNarendraModiandhisBharatiya Janata Party ejected from Gandhinagar are a case in point.
    Their obsession to see Modi defeated, not necessarily his brand of politics, boomeranged once again and Modi has walked into the Vidhan Sabha and Sachivalaya riding on an unprecedented hat trick of victory. The vanquished, who fought well despite the turbulence thatticketdistributioncausedin
the home stretch, are sulking, unable to digest defeat.
    Soon after the counting showed that Modi had overran the courageous Shweta Bhatt by a massive 80,000-odd margin, the well-educated challenger said something to theeffectthat“
peopleofGujaratdeserve Modi”. Under the democratic form of governance that we follow, it was truism though it was not spoken in that sense. The utterance only showed her contempt for the democratic process and voters.
    Afew days later, Shabnam Hashmi, a well-meaning member of civil society, quit several government panels where she was making useful contribution for the uplift of the poor and the marginalised. The charge was that Congress had collaborated with BJP to ensure Modi’s victory!
    Classic cases of frustration clouding reasoning.
    Modi charged for a fourth consecutive term and he got it in a fabulous manner. His detractors betrayed their frustration by expressing happiness at the achievement of containing him within 117, the number of legislators his BJP had in the last House. They claimed Modi getting 115 seatswastheirvictory.
Nocongratulations, but congratulations, Modi!
    Modi’s juggernaut and the opposition’s obsession with Modi the person has established a ‘monopolitics’ in Gujarat. And just as monoculture is not good for agriculture, monopolitics is not good for democracy. Politics in Gujarat revolves around Modi, not policies. But can you make those who enjoy themselves concentrating on trees instead of woods see reason?
    Granted, given his divisive policies, it was difficult for the oppositiontolookatanythingbeyo
ndModi. But concentrating on disease of issues rather than the symptom called Modi was overlooked. In 2001, BJP was losing taluka and district panchayats in a heap and was on the verge of losing Gandhinagar, too, when the central party leadership sent in Modi to replace Keshubhai Patel in October. Four months later Godhra train carnage happened.