November 15, 2020 2:00:35 am
Every election may have a winner and a loser, however each election might depart a nation extra divided than it was earlier than. That appears to be the lesson thrown up by the presidential election within the United States in addition to the state Assembly elections in Bihar.
By-elections are a unique matter. There was a time when a number of by-elections in a state have been a take a look at of the incumbent authorities’s efficiency and acceptability. No longer. In by-elections right this moment, the ruling social gathering begins with an enormous benefit as a result of it instructions each energy and cash. The voters in a by-election appear to suppose ‘What the heck, let’s vote for the ruling social gathering, no less than we might get our work performed’. Work right here might stand for a hand pump or a street or a sarkari job for one’s kin. The asking and giving of a vote are purely transactional.
General elections are a greater take a look at. Kerala has settled on a sample. The individuals of Kerala assist two fronts — the LDF and UDF — and elect them in alternate elections. It has been so since 1980. In Tamil Nadu, it was so since 1989, till the AIADMK below Jayalalithaa broke the sample in 2016 towards the DMK, below an ailing M Karunanidhi. Punjab had a sample just like Kerala till it was damaged in 2012.
In the states of North India, from Gujarat to Bihar, the BJP has displaced the Congress because the dominant social gathering. In the Southern states (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and the UT of Puducherry), the regional events maintain sway aside from Karnataka. The Congress, CPI(M) and CPI in Kerala behave, and are regarded extra, as Kerala-specific regional events than the state items of nationwide events.
Let me come again to the ‘divided nation’ phenomenon. The driving pressure behind the deepening division is ethno-nationalism. In the US, ethno-nationalism hides base instincts like white supremacy, racial and gender prejudice, and an entrenched suspicion of globalisation. President Donald Trump may get away with outrageous choices like repudiation of NAFTA, strolling out of the Paris Accord, denying US financial contributions to the United Nations, WHO and WTO, denigrating NATO and so forth. Sober reflection will reveal that every a kind of choices was dangerous to the US’s pursuits; however ethno-nationalism prevailed.
In India, ethno-nationalism hides intolerant instincts like Hindu supremacy, higher caste dominance, animosity in direction of minorities, Dalits and Pakistan, and protectionism. No nation can turn into a developed nation — and definitely not a wealthy nation — by preserving one-half or extra of its inhabitants poor, discriminated towards and disadvantaged. No nation can dedicate sufficient sources for improvement whether it is in a state of hostility with its neighbours. No nation can turn into a developed nation if it erects protectionist partitions. No nation will be talent-driven if it pulls the shutters down on any type of immigration in addition to inside migration. Rabindranath Tagore put it succinctly within the following traces of his celebrated poem Gitanjali 35:
“Where the world has not been damaged up into fragments/ By slender home partitions…….
Where the clear stream of motive has not misplaced its method/ Into the dreary desert sand of lifeless behavior…….. ”
Mr Trump polled 72.three million votes (47.four per cent) and misplaced the election. Despite world leaders acknowledging Mr Joe Biden because the President-elect, neither Mr Trump nor his most ardent supporters are in a temper, on the time of this writing, to concede defeat to Mr Biden. In India, regardless of his repeated success in elections, Mr Narendra Modi has not reached out to minorities (particularly Muslims) or Dalits. His relationship with the poor is transactional: vote for me and I will provide you with electrical energy, bathrooms, free vaccine towards coronavirus, and so forth. There isn’t any try to re-imagine India the place each youngster may have a world-class schooling, each household may have work/job that can elevate them nicely above the poverty line, and not one of the elements like faith or caste or language will likely be related for governance or participation in governance. There isn’t any try to re-imagine India as a contemporary, science & technology-driven, secular, various and open society.
Counter Narrative Absent
In the US, an understated Mr Biden was in a position to put throughout, pretty efficiently, his message of ‘healing the divisions, cooperation vs confrontation, a caring State vs laissez faire, and gender and racial equality vs discrimination’. In India, there seems to be no social gathering on the scene, significantly in North Indian states, which might put throughout an alternate message that may dent the narrative pushed by Mr Modi and the BJP/RSS.
My conclusion is that the divisions will proceed and will even deepen within the US in addition to in India. The US will likely be harm, positively socially, however the financial system should flourish, entice funding, create jobs and supply a cushion for the poor. India will likely be badly harm, the society will likely be divided, the financial system will register detached and tepid development, the poor will stay poor, and financial inequality will enhance.
In the US, the changers prevailed. In Bihar, the no-changers prevailed by a whisker (37.26 per cent vs 37.23 per cent). Mr Modi has been in energy since 2014 and Mr Nitish Kumar since 2005. Bihar is the poorest state of the nation. If the individuals of Bihar have voted for ‘no change’, we should settle for that call, and transfer on.
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