Finally, it is that time of the year again “jiska sabko intezaar tha”, it’s time for every political party to buckle up and get ready with their manifestos and agendas, for leaders to practice their oratory skills and for voters to indulge in ratiocination. As the election season looms large, there is an aroma of preparation in the air. This could include Mamata Didi’s dharna to protest against the CBI’s ‘transgression’ of its right to question a suspect / witness / accused or the appointment of Indira Gandhi’s look-alike- Priyanka Vadra as the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress in-charge of U.P (East). Nevertheless, it seems as if every party is doing their bit to steal the spotlight for some time.
Apart from anxiety and stress, elections invite interrogations. Will there be a change in status quo or will 2014 repeat itself? Is it possible for the voters to approach a middle ground? Is it possible for us to elect ideologies held by national parties and not the faces that supposedly propagate it? Questions such as these will be deliberated and talked until the nation announces its verdict.
Ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala on February 6 said that PM Narendra Modi will be triumphant in the upcoming general elections but also reiterated that India’s growth is above any single personality at the annual TiECON summit in Mumbai (as reported by moneycontrol.com, 2019). Mr. Jhunjhunwala said he would bet his money on a Narendra Modi led BJP Government. Perhaps, Mr. Jhunjhunwala is not incorrect. The Narendra Modi government has carried out several economic reforms and launched a slew of development programmes during its tenure—Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, Digital India, Make-in-India, Skill India, Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Ayushman Bharat and so on. In order to ensure macroeconomic stability and to boost sustainable economic growth the Government has launched programmes for increasing agricultural production and productivity—these include Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Soil Health Cards, Fasal Bima Yojana, etc—for encouraging small entrepreneurs and innovators through easy bank finance-MUDRA Yojana, Start-Up India etc (as reported by Financial Expess, 2019). However one cannot ignore the pitfalls of demonetisation which apparently put 1.5 million jobs at risk and left 150 million people without pay for weeks. According to the editorial of The Guardian, there was no direct fiscal gain from demonetisation.
Our old pal Congress, on the other hand, is trying hard to redeem itself. Apparently, the party will focus on jobs and farmers for the 2019 elections. Rahul Gandhi for the first time has formed a core committee for the polls and has conveyed its concern towards people’s issues. The party has already launched a dedicated website for its 2019 campaign to seek ideas from the people. “The large theme of this entire manifesto consultation process is – Your aspirations shape the future of India, your voice inspires the change and the Congress is listening to you,” stated Rajeev Gowda, Chairman – Research Department of the Congress Party in a news conference.
Manifesto certainly plays an important role but there isn’t a shadow of doubt in the fact that campaign, organisational structure and the direct outreach to people is what matters in every election. Looks like the top two national parties are ready for their acts. Till then, let us all grab the recliner seats and have some popcorn.
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