Crisis of real issues for opposition and alternative parties – The Sunday Guardian

 
NEW DELHI: For big leaders and old parties, understanding the mind of the public in a democracy becomes difficult not only in Indian politics, but in politics all over the world. In India, not only Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, there are various different estimates made by the leaders, parties, surveys and media institutions regarding the real issues and what is running in the voters’ mind about the upcoming elections in the other states and the Lok Sabha elections to be held in the next two years. Especially, leaders of the Congress and other opposition parties, desperate to be an alternative to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, claim and hope that the people of the country are deeply troubled by inflation and unemployment and that the economic situation has worsened. But they probably are not taking any example from the politics, elections and the public attitude of other big democratic countries. Mid-term elections were held in the US this week, where, it has been believed from decades that the current economic conditions influence elections. That’s why, this time, it was being said that American voters are tired of the rising prices and inflation is at the highest in the last 40 years. The prices of food items and fuel are increasing at a double digit rate. Therefore, the Republican Party of the opposition will get the majority. But the reverse happened. The ruling Democratic Party got immense public support. Joe Biden is the first president, after John Kennedy, to stop the opposition from getting a majority. Happy with the results, Biden has declared that his current policies will continue.
The economic crisis in Britain, the second largest country, is historic and extraordinary. The situation is so bad that this winter, millions of people may have to spend their nights in public shelters/homes, where they can take shelter to protect themselves from the chilling cold and sleep in warm conditions, due to rising fuel energy crisis and inflation. Basics like bus tickets, food supplies etc. have become twice as expensive. The hospitals of the only health service present (National Health Service) have collapsed. It is difficult to get a doctor’s appointment in the hospital and patients have to wait for almost two weeks. Despite the separation from the European Union, there is a huge job crunch due to the instable conditions of companies. Yet Rishi Sunak, who presented the budget as the Finance Minister two years ago, not only enjoys public popularity, but has also become the Prime Minister after a huge re-shuffle.
Therefore, Rahul Gandhi and his advisory board, who are looking for political ground in the name of the “Bharat Jodo Yatra”, are carrying the misconception that they can come to power by raising the issues of inflation and unemployment. No one can deny that both these are serious problems and the majority of people in the cities are affected and troubled by it. But why do leaders of the Congress and other opposition parties keep forgetting that the people of India have been constantly struggling with these issues for decades? Nehru and Indira Gandhi used to address these problems with regret in their speeches while being prime ministers. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi also accepts and understands these problems, but while trying to eradicate these issues, efforts have been made to meet the basic needs of the poor, sufficient food supplies, adequate housing, domestic gas, monetary aid to farmers for seeds, fertilizers , electricity etc., and development of roads, are being done. In the production of grains and cereals, leaving behind the states of Punjab and Haryana, now are states like Madhya Pradesh for the production of wheat, which was once called a backward state, and even rice is being produced in a state like Chhattisgarh. Free ration supplies to millions of people are being provided and this is not happening in any other country in the world probably. There is a shortage in health services. But apart from the hospitals, millions of people in the country also believe in ayurveda, homoeopathy and naturopathy. And hence, they make use of many such other facilities and get their treatments. If the Modi government has its seal on the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, then Mamtaji, Gehlot or Kejriwal, on the other hand, are claiming to provide free medical facilities like operations worth lakhs of rupees to the poor under their seals. Even in places like London, ambulances arrive only in very critical conditions.
It’s a reality that the demand for employment is very high. The corona pandemic has further increased unemployment. Yet the real crisis is of government jobs. Rahul Gandhi and Tejashwi Yadav are promising government jobs. It’s true that thousands of posts are also vacant in the central and state governments, but in the digital age, the nature of work has changed and there are limits to the budgets as well. Agreed that after seeing such a huge crowd of lakhs of applicants for the government recruitment examinations, the opposition leaders or other institutions predict deep dissatisfaction in the public. But if one investigates deeply, then it will be discovered that lakhs of people who declare themselves unemployed in order to apply for government recruitment examination or government surveys, are earning their livelihood from other sources of income too. For example, in cities, there are a large number of people who have low paid jobs in some companies, or working in their own or others’ shop, or working as mechanics, plumbers or drivers, without any records of employment, earning at least Rupees twenty or thirty thousand a month. Not only this, but there are billions of people who believe in their God and destiny, no matter which religion they belong to. So if they consider Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP better on an emotional level than the others, then they will not accept the arguments provided by the opposition. It is not possible to openly raise religious issues in elections. But BJP has been raising the issues pertaining to temples and Hindutva for years now, and now right before the election campaign, Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra or Kejriwal or Nitish Kumar or Gehlot, are trying to make their photos and videos of their temple visits and taking blessings from the Hindu Gods viral.
On the other hand, not only the Government of India, but also international economic organizations, experts, banks, industrialised business organizations, multinational companies are accepting that the current economic condition of India and its progress is far better than other developed countries. We are getting ahead of Britain, Germany and Japan. The three billion dollar economy will grow into a seven billion dollar economy in the coming five years. Domestic and foreign companies are continuously investing capital in India. Not just in Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, but even in Madhya Pradesh, new industries have developed and there is no dearth of work due to availability of electricity, water and land. With the opening of thousands of new educational institutions too, employment opportunities are being created in Madhya Pradesh. Agreed that Bihar and Uttar Pradesh still have a long way to go. Whichever government be in power, leaders and parties should now let go of this age-old formula of luring people with government jobs and misleading them. In order for the opposition to be a strong alternative to the ruling party, they will have to show new hopeful paths to the people in states wherever they have their government. It is now difficult to captivate the public with negative politics.
The author is the Editorial Director of ITV Network-India News and Dainik Aaj Samaj.
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