The Straight Dope FAQ on Indian Elections 2009

Or what news­pa­pers and media will not tell you about the 2009 Indi­an Par­lia­men­tary Elec­tion.

Will the new gov­ern­ment go in for reform?

  • Absolute­ly! Though there may be a slight dif­fer­ence between what every­one under­stands by reform and what the gov­ern­ment means by reform. From the government’s per­spec­tive reform means re-form­ing the gov­ern­ment. The par­ty in pow­er has to make sure that at the end of its term, it is in a posi­tion to re-form the gov­ern­ment.

Why did the Con­gress win a sweep­ing major­i­ty?

  • Because none of the oth­er par­ties did. Seri­ous­ly. The­o­ries and polit­i­cal pun­dits aside, no one real­ly knows. Any­one who pre­tends to, is just mak­ing mon­ey out of pre­tend­ing.

What does the Con­gress stand for?

  • The Con­gress stands for sec­u­lar­ism.

What is meant by sec­u­lar­ism?

  • Sec­u­lar­ism means secur­ing your polit­i­cal future among as many reli­gions and castes as pos­si­ble. In order to achieve this, you need to appear impar­tial, which you accom­plish by not doing any­thing for any­one. It also means let­ting right wing zealots from dif­fer­ent reli­gions tor­ture, rape, and blast each oth­er and each other’s reli­gious struc­tures (mosques, church­es, tem­ples), while you remain impar­tial and do noth­ing.

Why did the BJP lose?

  • Appar­ent­ly, there were dif­fer­ent rea­sons in dif­fer­ent states. Since the BJP is as con­fused after the elec­tions as it was before, there is no clear insight into why it lost. The only defin­i­tive, plau­si­ble rea­son is that the BJP is a con­fused par­ty, and does not own any size­able vote bank in the elec­torate.

What about the urban mid­dle class that was said to be the strongest BJP sup­port­er?

  • The urban mid­dle class is an insignif­i­cant, almost non-exis­tent vote bank. Con­trary to pop­u­lar per­cep­tion, the Con­gress’ vote share actu­al­ly increas­es as you move from vil­lages to towns to cities.

Real­ly? How did the Con­gress win a major­i­ty of the urban vote share?

  • Urban in the west­ern con­text has an entire­ly dif­fer­ent mean­ing than it does in India. In India, urban dwellings are slums. Major­i­ty of those who live in apart­ments and high-ris­es do not go out to vote in the scorch­ing trop­i­cal heat. Almost all the urban votes in India are from slums, which are con­trolled by gang­sters, who are cozy with the Con­gress.

What does the BJP stand for?

  • The BJP is a right-wing polit­i­cal par­ty that stands for Hin­dut­va.

What is meant by Hin­dut­va?

  • Hin­dut­va is a flex­i­ble con­cept that can mean dif­fer­ent things depend­ing on the time and place. For exam­ple, before elec­tions, it meant women should not go to pubs. After elec­tions, it means over­all eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment.

What will the BJP do now?

  • The BJP is like a horse with a blind left eye. When it reach­es a dead-end like it did in this elec­tion, it can only seek fur­ther ways to go right. When it can no longer do so, it does a U-Turn, mean­ing it sits in the oppo­si­tion and oppos­es every­thing the gov­ern­ment does.

Why did the Left par­ties lose?

  • The Left par­ties con­trolled every civ­il insti­tu­tion in their geo­graph­i­cal strong­hold, like schools, hos­pi­tals, police, etc. After over 30 years of being abused in every imag­in­able way by the Left par­ties, the peo­ple real­ized that the Left’s strong­hold was a stran­gle­hold.

What will the Left do now?

  • Intro­spect.

What con­clu­sions will the Left reach after intro­spec­tion?

  • They will con­clude that the Left par­ties were right, and the peo­ple of India made a grave mis­take. The peo­ple of India were not able to ful­ly under­stand the nation­al­ist vision of tru­ly inde­pen­dent India that the Left stands for.

Was there a youth wave in this elec­tion?

  • Absolute­ly! There are mil­lions of unem­ployed youths in India who have noth­ing bet­ter to do than attend polit­i­cal ral­lies and vote. The employed youth, who were an insignif­i­cant minor­i­ty, were des­per­ate­ly busy work­ing to avoid los­ing their jobs.
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  • hehe­he, not to for­get many employed youth were usu­al­ly in a dif­fer­ent town (or even coun­try) and there is no postal vot­ing sys­tem yet.
    Your obser­va­tions on all par­ties is bru­tal and real, I like Left’s deba­cle the most — very ‘Ani­mal Farm’ish. 🙂

  • cyn­i­cal, but very very inter­est­ing. though i am hope­ful Con­gress will do a lot in spite of the ‘impar­tial’ and so the often the inert streak it is blamed for, i agree with what u have said for BJP and applaud the bit­ing pre­dict­ing about the left. 😀 yes, they are intro­spect­ing alright and will come back with a dik­tat to go back to the start, to appease the mass­es and fool them back in the fold.

  • Dot­tie

    come now, not all can be this bad 🙂 well writ­ten post though. We have such such long ways to go..we seri­oul­sy have peo­ple who think women should not go to pubs (or whereev­er else they think is ‘cor­rupt­ing’)

  • 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • rot­fl — loved that bit aobut a horse blind in the left eye 🙂
    on the beat­ing up women or north indi­ans on who­ev­er- i put it down to a polit­i­cal rite of pas­sage 🙂 beat up some­one — prefer­ably in front of the cam­eras — to get into nation­al news.

  • This should be on the wp front­page
    won­der­ful­ly writ­ten!

    it sits in the oppo­si­tion and oppos­es every­thing the gov­ern­ment does.
    // does­nt every par­ty in india do that?

  • ps the com­mu­nists and oppor­tunists one upped the bjp last time
    one could not fig­ure out if they sup­port­ed or opposed the govt while being a part of it

  • Good one! 😀

  • 🙂

  • Nice! I liked the metaphor about the horse which is blind in the left eye 🙂

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