Sunday, April 26, 2009

Election time..

Poster: BJP

Nice posters from The Comic Project.
They have their takes on Congress and Third front also.
(Thanks to Anivar for sharing the link).

Going with the poetry mood, here's another Haiku:

* * *

election time, me thinks
to vote
but who to vote?

* * *

And I find Mayavati a better bet compared to others. At least so that we can have a Dalit and a woman as prime minister. Her commitment to Dalit bahujan politics might appear questionable at times, but it is still a hundred times better than having Abdul Kalam as a "Muslim president".


Arun said...

Sudeep, I am really shocked to see that you are giving more importance to tokens than any real change or merit! You are being irresponsible here!

Is Ms. Mayawati sincere, good at heart? Does she have any policy in her mind for the country? Is she not corrupt? She is not very hesitant to align with BJP? So whats her secular credential? Why does she go on building her own statues with state money?

Is she becoming Prime Minister going to bring any good change for the backward castes of the country? What is that?

I have to say, your attitude seems like, let the country suffer for the centuries of sufferings upper castes inflicted on lower castes?

Arun said...

And guess what, I think that Abdul Kalam, simplistic as he is, was a better President than the current President. Even I was happy at the tokenism of electing Prathibha Patel, but she simply doesnt have it in her to inspire thousands! So, what did we gain from the tokenism of electing a woman?

Sudeep said...

Dear Arun,

I am not surprised to see such a reaction. I will try to answer the questions that you have raised. Before that, let me tell you this is not 'tokenism'.

As for any 'real change or merit':

Merit is a much abused word, and we are so used to measuring merit by our own standards. 'Merit' is the main slogan of the anti-reservation, "Youth For Equality" gang as well. I don't think Mayavati is any less talented than any other leaders of our time. In fact I would say she is a better leader than Manmohan, Vajpayee, Advani, Modi, or even Sonia (do you want me to put Prakash Karat in this list? I don't consider him a leader at all).

"Real change", I think a dalit ruling the country is very different from a Brahmin or a Sikh or a Baniya or a Parsi ruling the country. There is difference in the way a Dalit looks at the scheme of things. I think that is a 'real' change, and I think that is one change we need. Same can be said about a woman ruling us. (We have had one woman rule us before, but not a Dalit).

Is she 'sincere, good at heart'? I want her to be good at governing a nation. We are not talking of falling in love with her.

She may be corrupt. And I don't think corruption is the worst thing to happen to Indian politics. (That is one of the reasons I despise films like Rang De Basanti). She goes on building statues probably because she knows nobody else would build one for her.

She may not mind aligning with BJP. And I would not mind if BJP supports her as prime minister. I am sure she would not let BJP rule the nation in that case. (Let me add that I have respect for BJP for bringing up leaders from women and from backward castes, some even becoming chief ministers. Something that the Brahmin CPM could not do till 3 years back).

I don't think Mayavati is "perfect" for a prime minster, but I sure feel that having Mayavati as prime minister will bring good changes, not only to the backward castes. I believe so because as I said, Dalits look at life differently. So do women. I am fed up of the elite upper caste ways of looking at progress, of defining development, of looking at reservation..

About Kalam, I mentioned his name because he was more Hindu than most Hindus (including you and me) but had the "Muslim" label on him. (I think he was the most destructive president we have had but that is a different matter).


Sudeep said...

Anand commented on orkut:
"nice article - Election time.... :)Thanks!

Sudeep said...

Tail piece:In 2004 I vouched for Congress and Sonia because there was an imminent danger of another five year term for BJP. Only Sonia could stop that (and she did it).

Right now things are not so bad, it is more or less accepted that the verdict will be divided, so one has a breathing space. More choice over who will become prime minister. In the possible options before me, I do not see anyone better than Maya.

(May be five years down the line things will get even better.. We may have someone better than her also.. who knows?)

Arun said...

Before I reply to your comment in detail(which I hope to do), I would like to ask you one more question: How Mayawati's Chief Minister-ship has helped the people of UP? May be we have to start from there, hoping that at least the progress in UP because of her will be scaled to the national level if she becomes the PM.

Sudeep said...

I would not know first hand because I do not live in UP, but the fact that people of UP have voted her again to that post suggests that there is something in her. This is what I wrote when I saw those results.

Arun said...

I would not know first hand because I do not live in UP, but the fact that people of UP have voted her again to that post suggests that there is something in her.If you say something is there in her because people voted for her, then Modi etc might also have "something" in them, so much so that you dont look for any ground change they made before supporting them, if he was a Dalit?
As you know, and perhaps support, they voted for her because of her identity based politics. She collected and consolidated the dalit vote bank first, then went for other vote banks, fielding brahmins in elections, etc.

Mayawati has ruled UP for four years in total. If you cannot pin point any particular good thing she has done there being the Chief Minister (apart from paying a tax of 26 crore, means she earned more than 75 crores p. a, or charging 140 cases against Mulayam when he accused her of corruption), then I dont see what good she can do to the country as a PM!

About "merit" lets not allow this good word to be hijacked by the YfE folks. By merit, I simply meant, what good has she done when she got opportunity, as a CM?

I agree that a dalit ruling this country will make a lot of difference in its democratic stature, but it surely cannot be the only criteria! For eg: if she is not sincere about what she want to do for the country or dalits, what good if she becomes the PM? If she could do nothing in UP, then what can she do for the nation? Hence I talked about sincerity. If bringing dalits to polling booths is what you expect her to do (as you wrote in other post about Mulayam/Yadavs), then, dalits already vote more than upper-castes currently (CSDS statistics, should be true), so that is a major achievement enough to support her for PM?

And how easily you set aside the concern about corruption saying its not the worst thing! Is Manmohan Singh corrupt? Or AK Antony, or Chidambaram? We are not yet a country where corruption has become a non-issue, or where corruption is considered as a good thing! If there is corruption at the top, what do you expect at the bottom? And come on, building your own statues when you are alive is what Stalin did, and its not a good thing :-)

About she not allowing BJP to rule the country, she has done that several times in the past, supporting BJP at the Centre as well as in UP, withdrawing her support at her whim, with no real reason, and leading to short-term elections. I dont know why I should be expecting something different this time.

I prefer her over BJP ruling this country, any time. But this time, I feel that Manmohan is the safest bet we have.

Arun said...

". I am fed up of the elite upper caste ways of looking at progress, of defining development, of looking at reservation.."

Despite the YfE protests, despite losing the battles in TV studios by a landslide, the government did go for the reservations. They did bring in the NREGA which made the elites feel bad (its only redistribution, why dont you increase infrastructure! they told), and right to information act. All of their budgets made the elites and the TV-economists feel bad (though, most of the development journalists didnt like it either). So, even though every party have english speaking, coat wearing, glamorous spokespersons to talk to the elites and the TV channels, in reality, the government was not dictated by them.

Sudeep said...

Yes -- Congress did have some sensible policies last five years, and people have responded well.

As for Modi, I do think he has something in him. And I know it is then hate politics that he uses to ensure his votes. That is not so in Mayavati's case. And I don't think dalits and other "lower" caste people even being allowed to vote is a minor thing in Indian "democracy".

Sudeep said...

Why so many statues? Why golden ear rings? Why diamond nose rings? Why she cuts cake on her birthday? Why she at all celebrates her birthday?

Why she has a flat in South Delhi's posh area? Why she keeps bob-cut hair? Why she takes first name of the people?? Why she does not add ji to the people's name?..

Anoop Kheri shared an interesting post Why I am Proud of the Statues by Prabin on insight blog.

A rejoinder, also quite interesting: I disagree, by Anu.