Why the anti-BJP votes will not automatically go to the Congress party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019
In Indian politics, very rarely we see any party or alliance voted to form the government with a clear mandate. Most often, what we see is that the ruling establishment is voted out and the opposition parties cobble a simple majority and form the government. This is the standard script that is played out in our Country for a long time now, be it the state assembly elections or the Lok Sabha elections. Thus, new governments are formed more in the default mode than from a very clear verdict from the people. Therefore, the opposition parties are always complacent, take things for granted, and eagerly wait on the sidelines hoping that they will get their turn soon. It should be kept in mind that the anti-incumbency factor need not always work and can buck the trend this time.
The matured voters:
I vividly recall a chapter in my second standard Hindi textbook called “Topiwala”. I am sure many of you would have come across this story in a different version at some time or the other. The gist of the story is that the cap seller was smart enough to trick the monkeys into imitating him and retrieve all his caps that the monkeys had taken away. In the tapestry of the political scenario in our country today, it would only be naïve on the part of the politicians across any political party to assume that they can continue to deceive the voters time and again. There is a twist in the cap seller’s tale today. Many years later the cap seller’s son took over his father’s business. One fine day he found himself in the very same situation that his father had narrated to him. The cap seller’s son recalled the workaround shared by his father, was very overconfident and tried out the same trick as described by his father to retrieve the caps taken away by the monkeys. The monkeys laughed out loud and ran away with the caps saying that even they had fathers who educated them.
The anti-incumbency factor in 2019 General Elections:
Let’s assume some sections of society decide to vote against the ruling establishment in the coming general elections for various reasons. What are the options before the people of this country? One idea that will occupy the minds of the Congress Party members is that an anti-BJP stand will automatically mean a pro-Congress stand. Let us see why this is not only a wrong idea but a bad one. Certain poll pundits have already pegged the BJP tally to only around 220 in 2019. Congress seems to believe that it is the logical alternative in case people do not want to vote BJP. They entertain a grandiose illusion that seats will fall on its lap This is not true as seen by the recent Jind by-poll where the Congress finished a distant third.
Failure deserves no incentives:
In the last 5 years, the Congress party had numerous opportunities where it could have cornered the BJP on the floor where it should have hit the streets and made a mark in the minds of both rural and urban folks. Take the recent announcement of the government regarding the pittance of INR 500 per month for each farmer with land holdings of less than 2 hectares announced in the interim budget recently. As ridiculous it may seem, the Congress has got its priorities totally wrong. In the final analysis, the Congress’ performance in the opposition is nothing to write home about. The Congress has no clear stand on the Triple Talaq Bill or the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019. The imposition of NSA for cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh by the newly elected Congress government makes one believe that it is no better than any other so-called communal party. The party today is bereft of great orators on the floor of the house to debate the issue that matter to the country.
Burning bridges in arrogance:
The Congress party by itself has no realistic chance of even winning 100 seats on its own in the coming Lok Sabha elections. This means that it has to outperform itself by 250% and this is highly unlikely. It has still not identified the winnable seats and has not completed the selection process by now. The Congress may be a grand old party but has lost its appeal, and it has to vie with regional parties who have a better appeal and connect among the masses for vote share. The party must have the humility to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the regional parties. It has already burnt the bridges in Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. The SP-BSP alliance in UP has shown the Congress party its rightful place. Akhilesh Yadav has already sounded the bugle saying “Jiska UP, uska desh”. It translates to mean “the party that captures UP will rule the country”. The likely pre-poll alliance of the Congress party in Karnataka and Kerala is a Hobson’s choice. So, the simple question is where is Congress going to win the seats from and how realistic is the Congress party in projecting itself as the alternative to the ruling dispensation in the Center?
Erosion of the Minority vote base
The Congress party’s idea of a minority community is only one particular community and is conditioned to not see beyond them. The other political parties have successfully wooed away this Community from the Congress party. The real support base for the Congress party from this particular community is diminishing. Thus, Congress is on an overdrive to appease this community with dollops. As a result, it has neglected the other minorities such as the Christian Community. This omission is going to have a backlash in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka. The last time the Congress sent a Christian to the state legislative council was way back in 2014. That too, not because the person championed the Community issues but only because he was the blue-eyed boy of the then Chief Minister Siddaramiah. It will be the height of arrogance and indifference if the Congress party continues to overlook the Christian community who constitute around 12-15% of the population in the state and does not represent a Christian in even one of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka. Christians are in large numbers in Bidar, Karwar, Mangalore, and Bangalore Central Lok Sabha Constituencies. Grapevine informs us that the Congress party is least inclined to give any representation to the Christians from Karnataka to contest the forthcoming elections. If this turns out to be true it will be the biggest insult to the Christians when around 95% of them have always voted for the Congress party in all the elections thus far.
Options before the Christians in Karnataka
In the event of no Christian given a representation to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Karnataka, the Christians should act in unison and vote against the party.
Christians are wise enough to see through the election eve gimmicks of the Congress party, such as Rahul Gandhi’s ostentatious visit to the Rosario Church in Mangalore and the Archbishop of Bangalore just before the assembly elections in April 2018. The voters are spoilt for choice. There are plenty of options before this community. They will not hesitate to vote for the BJP when it fields candidates with a clean image. It is wrong to assume that Christians generally do not vote for the BJP. Do not forget the then Bangalore North Constituency 2004. Union Minister K. Alphons, a statesman par excellence, is an invaluable gift from the Christian community to the BJP. If the Christians keep away from the polls a low voter turnout will self-destruct the Congress. Even consider voting for other regional parties or independents who are showing great promise of being the “Voice of the Citizens” in the parliament. One thing is for certain, this will ultimately be the game changer as regards the Lok Sabha elections from Karnataka. The voters cannot be fooled time and again, and this time the Christians are prepared to strike the Congress where it hurts if no representation is given to Christians. Perhaps, a new chapter is going to be written in Karnataka politics titled “The arrogant cap seller and the wise monkeys”.
Disclaimer: The author is the co-founder of Christian Community Coalition (CCC), Karnataka. CCC does not endorse any political party but maintains equal distance from all political parties. CCC does not propagate party politics. This is only an attempt to portray the social and political plight of the Christians in society and the treatment meted out to them by all parties. Our aim is to only educate the people. Ultimately, the final decision will be taken by each individual.
The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The opinions expressed in no way reflect the views of mangalorean.com, and mangalorean.com does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.