The electoral preparations of the Congress have begun. The Congress is believing with full confidence that it will be winning more than three hundred seats. When it is said that the Congress is winning and the Congress believes it, then it means that that leadership, i.e. the Congress President, Acting President, senior Ministers or all the office bearers at 24 Akbar Road, believe in this thinking. On the other hand, the Congress worker is somewhat troubled. He or she believes that perhaps the Congress may not even reach close to the numbers required for a majority ! Actually, behind this there are the Congress worker’s own reasons. The main reason is the organisational disarray in the Congress. The Congress is not working organisationally in any State. The Congress MPs have not been given any responsibility, to the extent that even the Congress MPs and MLAs who maintain relations with the social classes have not been given any responsibility. As a result, all the sections which do not like the Bharatiya Janata Party are standing at a distance from the Congress. Even the common people are today standing far away from the Congress. The Congress workers believe that the organisational inactivity and stagnation will have a great impact on the Lok Sabha elections, but the irony is that the Congress leadership and those Congress office bearers who sit at 24 Akbar Road think the exact opposite. And that is why they believe that Muslims all over the country have no other option but to vote for the Congress. They also believe that no matter how much the Muslims may boil and with how much anger they may raise their voice, apart from the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress they will not vote at the national level for any other party, because they have no solid basis or reason to vote for them.
In the thinking of the Congress, nowhere is there a strategy of getting votes for the work it has done; the Congress belief is that no matter how many scams may have taken place, they are not going to affect the people, because now people have become accustomed to news of scams… The Congress also believes that troubling questions like inflation, corruption and unemployment have now become similar to commonplace problems like fever and cough that are connected with and a part of life.
Office bearers of the Congress who sit at 24 Akbar Road are of the opinion that the Muslim segment just cannot give their votes to any other party except the Congress. And that is why they believe the anger of the Muslims is absurd anger. They say that the Muslims know that if they will not vote, their vote will not come anywhere in the counting ! They also believe that no matter how much noise the Muslims may create that they didn’t get this, they didn’t get that, or the Congress did not fulfill this promise or fulfill that promise, in spite of this, apart from the Congress, they will not go anywhere, because they cannot go anywhere else ! They enumerate many reasons to support this. They have a long list of Muslim leaders and they believe that by spending just a total of Rs. 2 crore, the voices of all these Muslim leaders can be silenced and the ordinary Muslim leaders have no voice anyway. The Congress leaders sitting at 24 Akbar Road believe that out of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s alliance partners, if even a little bit of air is given to doubts that have arisen about Narendra Modi, then the allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party will run far away the party, amongst which the first name they take is of the Janata Dal United. In support of this they have staked their confidence in the first crafty move made by the Government. These leaders believe that when we talked of changing the rules to give special status to Bihar, a very positive response was seen in the Nitish camp and the result was that the Bharatiya Janata Party became nervous. These people also believe that finally Mamata Banerjee will again come to them. Keeping the whole picture of the entire country before them, their assessment is very clear that there is no single party that can compete with the Congress and therefore all the votes of the Opposition will get divided and they will be able to get 32 or 33 per cent votes and form the Government, and they can even form the Government with fewer votes than that.
In this thinking of the Congress, nowhere is there the strategy of getting votes for the work it has done; the Congress belief is that no matter how many scams may have taken place, they are not going to affect the people, because now people have become accustomed to news of scams. The Congress also believes that troubling questions like inflation, corruption and unemployment have now become similar to commonplace problems like fever and cough connected to life. In fact, now the public does not vote on these, therefore, the Congress has made two strategies. Now the Congress will say through Rahul Gandhi that it does not believe in caste, but in development, but actually, when choosing candidates, it will definitely play the caste game. When the Congress worker weighs these arguments against the anger of the people, then the anger of the people seems heavier and from this perspective the Congress thinking seems light. We spoke to those Congress workers who do not have Boleros, they are not contractors, but who are genuine traditional Congress voters, and have been supporters since generations. According to them, the confidence, the zeal of the Congress worker seems to have almost come to an end. That is why he or she is somewhat afraid and subdued. A Congress worker being afraid-subdued is given no importance by 24 Akbar Road. However, the Congress leaders sitting at 24 Akbar Road forget that in Uttar Pradesh they took the risk of fighting elections without an alliance and they had to pay a heavy price for it, but in the Lok Sabha elections too they want to repeat the same process. They believe that in the Lok Sabha elections, people will vote not on a local basis but keeping the country in front of them and in this matter they cannot see any other party being able to compete with them in the entire country. They also dismiss talk that in Uttar Pradesh Mayawati and Mulayam Singh, in Bihar Nitish and Lalu or in Bengal Mamata Banerjee can have any impact on their prospects of a win in the Lok Sabha elections.
How correct this thinking of the Congress is, this the readers will decide because in the Congress, both the workers and the leaders are thinking in a different way. In exactly the same manner, the Bhartiya Janata Party is thinking of planning to win the elections with Narendra Modi’s support. It believes that if Narendra Modi becomes the candidate for the Lok Sabha from Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh it will win at least 40 seats. When the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders were asked how without any alliance they will become proactive and how they will win 40 seats, it was evident they believed that the kind of enthusiasm which would be created in Uttar Pradesh when Narendra Modi files the nomination form in Lucknow will reduce the organisational stagnation and alliance factor to zero. The moment Narendra Modi will file his nomination so much enthusiasm will be generated in Uttar Pradesh that apart from the Muslims, the entire population will stand with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and with this only the left-over seats will go to Mayawati or to Mulayam Singh. The big leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party are not just saying this, but it is also their belief. This is why they have not so far made any tie-ups or done organisational strengthening in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar they have forged such an organisation that kicks and fisticuffs are already underway. In Himachal too they lost the elections and in Rajasthan they were compelled to hand over the command again to Vasundhara Raje. There are no two opinions that the Bharatiya Janata Party has gained the upper hand in Rajasthan. If Vasundhara Raje puts some checks and controls on her ego and behaviour, then there can be some benefits for them in Rajasthan, but the way Ashok Gehlot has worked in the last one year in the health sector, it can be seen that they will gain a slight advantage.
But the question is about the people of India. Can the people of India forget the major questions, the main issues in this ‘mixed’ wrestling of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress? It seems that they will forget and will vote on a caste and religious basis. Then in the entire tussle Mulayam Singh, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan and people like Laloo Prasad Yadav are also standing. It is something to be relished that all four have one principle. At least it is said that all four have one principle, but the behaviour of all four is different. No one speaks to each other, no one shakes hands with each other for the welfare of the public. Not only that, they all speak of the Third Front, but not one of them can be seen making a Third Front. Perhaps this is a supreme mockery of our idea of democracy. That system of democracy which is considered a model for the welfare of the masses, that same democracy is being used today, against the people, to increase corruption, increase prices, increase unemployment, increase crime. Will our political parties be able to spare the time to ponder over all these questions? It doesn’t seem so, but one should hope that perhaps sometime, someone will stand up from amongst them and begin pondering over these questions.