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Semi Final to Final

 

Soon after the lifting of the infamous Emergency in 1977, our late Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi declared elections to the Parliament. Nineteen months of authoritarian rule ended, paving a new path to the rebirth of democracy in our country. The people across India, especially those millions in North India, felt elated and they eagerly waited for a chance to approach the election day to give a fitting reply to late Mrs Gandhi by voting against her and defeating her at the hustings. Never in their wildest of dream, they had expected such an authoritarian streak in the beloved daughter of freedom fighter and the most ardent advocate of democracy late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Now it was the turn of the masses and they utilized the best available opportunity to vent their ire against Mrs. Gandhi.

Because the bad effects of Emergency didn’t do much harm to some of the South Indian states like Kerala, they overwhelmingly voted in her favour but to no avail. Here the law and order situation remained calm, so it seemed to the political observers, actually the story was somewhat different and the outward calm and satisfaction somewhat the effects of enforced discipline by the iron hands of law and order machinery under the Government of Kerala (It is painful to disclose here that we malayalees are more concerned with selfish motives compared with the North Indians though majority of them are illiterate). Many of our freedom loving leaders were put behind bars, and some always under the surveillance of Police and Intelligent agencies.

The majority of North Indians suffered a lot, cruel assault, many young men and even the priests of churches across North India were forcefully sterilized under the supervision of late Sanjay Gandhi, a vast number of slums were demolished, Turkman Gate episode is still a nightmare to Delhiites, thus depriving the poor of their settlements, they had to stay content with railway platforms, street pavements and refugee camps. Those who noticed their impotent rage and sorrows protested and found themselves behind bars for almost nineteen months. That period was the worst kind of nightmare to the teeming millions of India. The villagers in the North India spent their sleepless nights in the barren fields always fearing the approach of agents of mass sterilization programmes, surprisingly the cronies of the Sanjay Gandhi, the Prime Minister in embryo. Freedom of expression curtailed and hence, the people had to express their anger in whispering tones, fearing reprisals of the worst kind.

The breather came atlast and Emergency lifted, people became jubilant and heaved sighs of relief.

 

People massed under the freed leaders, who were given warm welcome amid celebrations, and jointly campaigned for the defeat of late Mrs Gandhi with all their might and vigour, they earnestly hoped of ushering in a democratic government atleast to inhale breath of freedom, that they desperately prayed for nineteen months.

The ire and anger, turned into votes against Mrs Gandhi and she had to taste a bitter defeat at the hands of the majority, who once called her fondly ‘Indira Priyadarshini’ and ‘Red Rose’ , the beloved daughter of their Chacha Nehru, whom they held close to their chest with worship and love.

The whole India celebrated the new found freedom and the massive defeat of Indian National Congress Party with the bursting of fire-crackers and also tasting laddoos and like sweets. The valiant generous lady, who once loved the poor adivasis and common men and struggled for them tirelessly day in and day out, had to meet with such a defeat was in a way heart-breaking. The most heartening factor was her expression of regret for the wrong-doings and her apology to the masses for her acts of omission commission soon after the elections. And that repentance and atonement for the sins committed and her regained faith in democracy, after all she was from the Nehru family, mellowed the sentiments of the masses in the later years and they ensured her victory in the elections conducted in 1980 with a vast majority.

In fact, those so-called loyalists and sycophants were behind her deviation from the path of democracy at least for a short while and their only intentions were in reaping the harvests during the dreaded emergency and utilize the opportunity to settle scores with those who were their detractors and unfortunately she was falling a prey to their wily tactics. Sycophancy always plays spoil-sport and hence a ruler or a leader should always be cautious about it. Beg your pardon. Actually I didn’t have the intention of conducting a post-mortem and its aftermaths of the emergency period in this particular article. But I think it is quite apt to look backwards in the contemporary times. I was planning to write about the recently held by-elections to the five States and the results analyzed later. Contrary to the expectations of political pundits and psephologists, the results were not on the expected lines. Some prophecies came true, I do admit, but taken as a whole, some major calculations went awry due to creeping in of certain analytical problems. Sometimes such things happen. Some called it a semi-final before the final scheduled to be held in April-May months. Differences of opinions will of course be there, because in a federal polity, we have to be a bit more cautious.

It is a good thing that Congress this time didn’t go euphoric, thanks to Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s advice because of the unexpected win in Rajasthan, snatched from BJP, Delhi victory was somewhat doubtful because of the anti-incumbency factor, (it is Mrs Sheila Dikshit’s hatrick victory) and the massive victory in Mizoram, a two third victory forcing the ruling MNF (Mizo National Front) biting the dust. It is not an apt time for complacency, Mrs Gandhi was aware of it, hence, sans much celebrations, the entire event passed of peacefully at the AICC Bhavan. According to my perception , Mrs Gandhi is conscious of those waiting for an “auspicious occasion” to upset the apple-cert in the last moment by ditching the party seeking greener pastures. “Power-Play” or “Pawar-Play” can be expected at any time, Mulayam and his deputy can turn the tables at an opportune moment and so many others in the party itself waiting in the wings, weighing the pros and cons, which way the wind blows and move accordingly. Late Mrs Indira Gandhi had such an experience in the past at the hands of the late Jagjivan Ram (incidentally his daughter is in the ManMohan Singh cabinet),H.N. Bahuguna, and one more VIP whose name I can’t recall now and formed CFD (Congress For Democracy).

BJP was weaving many dreams for the last one year, expecting to make a clean sweep of almost the four States of Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh but not that much expectation about Mizoram. They were infact euphoric even before the elections! That much they were confident of a massive victory. Their intention was to cash in on the terror problems in various States such as Jammu&Kashmir, Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi in UP, Karnataka, AndhraPradesh, Assam,Rajasthan and even Kerala and the terror related deaths of hundreds, thus highlighting the failure of Government at the centre, the failure of intelligence agencies to sense the impending attacks, the Stock Market crash due to Global melt down, and the reluctance of centre to enact Pota-like draconian laws to contain terror and law and machinery.

But the two intelligent men in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Ramon Singh respectively , didn’t harp much on the terror menace and they concentrated more on the immediate problems of the masses, took part in much of their activities, thus endearing them. People didn’t care much to ponder over the Mumbai carnage, and such kinds of law and order problems, because in the course of time, they have learnt to live with it. People always want to be concerned with their basic needs and Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Ramon Singh provided them with those needs thus ensuring their Party’s victory. Whether this line of thinking will prevail in the long run is another matter and for that we will have to wait for the final. Like Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Ramon Singh, Mrs Sheila Dikshit in Delhi did a lot to develop the infrastructure (the transport facilities improved a lot with more than 20 flyovers), the preparations for 2010 Common Wealth Games are in full swing, and hence inspite of the intermittent terrorist attacks, finally captured her third victory. Though Ms Mayawati, BSP Leader couldn’t make much impact on the power equations in the States, (she is said to be a king-maker) she saw to it that her voters margin had widened in four States making her Party base spreading gradually in other States, previously confined to U.P only, she is certainly to emerge a power to reckon with in the future. Her party could capture about 20 seats and seven seats in Madhya Pradesh itself.

Now come to the leftists. After the declaration of elections, I was stunned and surprised to see a small news item (some of us call it news in a nut-shell) on the top left side of “Hindu”—“Left Upbeat” with the photo of Comrade A.B.Bardhan, General Secretary of CPI. What for? I couldn’t make out. CPI couldn’t even bag a single seat in any of the four States, the CPI(M) could elect three MLAs in Rajasthan out of 34 seats they contested if I felt like laughing, forgive me Comrade. The next moment I turned the pages looking for a detailed statement by Comrade Bardhan and at last I found out. His statement was not that much an ‘upbeat item’ and it was nothing more than the prospects of the leftists in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. Unfortunately I can’t agree with his claim and there are reasons for it.

CPI(M) [ Communist Party Of India(Marxist) ] and other leftists due to the leftist wave prevailing in the State due to anti-incumbency factor related to the misgovernance of the then government under Oommen Chandy, and wide-spread mass-discontent, could capture almost 18 seats out of a total of 20 seats in 2004. This time the anti-incumbency factor is in favour of Indian National Congress and therefore expecting atelast 10 seats is most improbable. Similarly in West Bengal due to the Nandigram and Singur issues and the related developments still simmering here and there, whether leftists can expect the status-quo or increase the tally is a big question mark. Any how let us hope for the best in West Bengal, unlike Kerala.

The infighting in the CPI(M) still raging on in Kerala, previously it was said to be ideological but the rivalry between the two factions have come out in to the open often crossing the barriers of ideology, I don’t think even Comrade Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, and S.Ramachandran Pillai, can do much to placate the two factions at a crucial moment when the elections are round the corner. While being criticized, casting sarcastic smiles at the remarks of critics, won’t do much benefit to the party. Considering others to be ignorant of Marxist-Leninist thinking will be foolish since many of the critics are yester year activists and supporters of the Party, or leftists without any affiliations to any particular left party. Come what may, a complete overhaul is the need of the hour. A patch-up of sorts will create further problems in future particularly in a Communist Party such solutions are least expected. Only Tripura is a sure bet, but it has only two seats to contribute. A hung parliament is likely and therefore horse-traders will have a harvesting time. Such is our fate…Such is our lot…

Contributed By   K.R. Surendran, hailing from a village called Pulluvazhy near Perumbavoor. Four books in Malayalam are there to my credit now, Pooviriyumkunninte - Santhathikal”(Stories), Gloriyayude Dinarathrangal”(Stories) and “Mumbai- Sketchukal”(Novelettes). A novel  “Indiayude Bhoopadam” was published recently. krskartha@yahoo.com  


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