The Dilemma of the Indian Voter

It’s a Friday morning, and Indians across the globe are glued to their television screens, waiting for a man to change India’s destiny forever. Its 9:37 am, on 16th May 2014, India declares Narendra Modi as next its Prime Minister. It is the joyful occasion where will of the people wins. People celebrate as they watch results from each constituency pour in. At 8 in the night in Vadodara, Gujarat the man of the moment, India’s future Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives waving his hand in the sky thanking the people for giving him the leadership of the country for the next 5 years with a full majority in the lower house of Parliament.

On 31st January 2019, the Modi-led government stops NSSO data on unemployment from becoming public. Nobody knows the exact numbers, except the fact that it’s the highest unemployment rate in 45 years. The rupee has declined. Demonetization has killed around 50 lakh jobs and small enterprises suffered because of Goods and Services Tax. India’s GDP calculation method is being questioned by international organisations and so is the independence of the central bank.

Last year in January 2018, for the first time in India’s political history, 4 senior most judges of the Supreme Court held a press conference to inform the media and the people of this country about the compromising state of the Indian judiciary under the present government. Justice Chelamswar stating that death of Justice Loya was the tipping point. Indian media houses who stand against the government began to see boycotts and prominent journalists lost their jobs and many journalists also have been killed.

In other words, the Indian economy has collapsed, democratic institutions like the judiciary and the central bank have taken a hit, independence of the media has been comprised and most importantly, Indians have been religiously polarized – all in 5 years of Modi government.

On one hand, we have Rahul Gandhi who represents lack of political knowledge, and is representation of dynasty, while on the other hand, we have Narendra Modi representing a regressive India that is divided on religious lines, decreasing India’s democratic freedom and collapsing economy.

Rahul Gandhi, Indian political royalty, is a failed politician. While his father, Rajiv Gandhi was not a politically astute either, he was mediocre at best and was still an acceptable face to the Indian public. When Prime Minister Modi talks about dynasty and how the people of India do not approve it. He is wrong and we have proof – We still have Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Abdullahs and Muftis in Kashmir, Thackerays in Maharashtra, and people continue to vote them back in power, but not the Gandhi family specifically. In other words, India is not against dynasty. But, then why is Rahul Gandhi not acceptable to the Indian public? This is because in the name of dynasty, people do not want someone less than mediocre to be India’s leader and that’s where Rahul Gandhi fails. People can see he is not meant for politics and cannot run the country. He has no political acumen, understanding of governance and interest to even build himself in the system. He only seems to be here because of his political lineage. The truth is if his family leaves, the structure of the Congress Party collapses.

Narendra Modi is politically astute. He is canny, knows the political system and has worked his way to the top to become India’s head of state. Despite his preparedness for the job and his political acumen, he has failed as India’s Prime Minister. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, his performance was well-received with unemployment rate at 1 percent in 2013. But, at national level, he has not been able to find the right-direction regarding India’s foreign policy and economic progress. Adding to that, India’s democratic institutions have taken a hit ever since the Bhartiya Janata Party has taken over Uttar Pradesh and he has made hard-line Hindu right-wing politicians like Yogi mainstream.

Congress party though has a great ideology, but it’s true implementation and it’s party structure is weak. If Gandhi family leaves the Congress party, everyone with Prime Ministerial ambitions will jump the gun which will lead to collapse of the party. Another ideological issue, Congress party faces is that of Muslim vote-bank and minority appeasement that started with Shah Bano case, which led to increase in BJP’s vote share and presence of Hindu right-wing in India. On the other hand, if Rahul Gandhi becomes Prime Minister, India’s economic situation does not improve. Therefore, the question arises. What should India do? Where will India go?

With these two difficult and equally bad options in-front of the Indian public, people do not know where to go and whom to voter for. With 2019 elections likely to be in favor of Prime Minister Modi’s second term, only time will tell whether it will be as bad as the first term or some economic and political progress finally take place.

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