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Portents of 2009 - Politics

The term politics seems to have myriad definitions. The definitions that we would probably want it mean exclusively is "the activities and affairs involved in managing a state or a government" or "the profession devoted to governing a civic entity like a nation, state, etc.".

Unfortunately, however, the definition that Indian politicians prefer to impart to the term is "social relations involving intrigue to gain authority or power"at best and "devious and downright corrupt individuals accused and/or convicted of heinous crimes hellbent on stooping to the depth of hell in a shameless powergrab".

The terms honor, respect, integrity, sincerity, honesty, devotion and professionalism also seem to be uniformly missing from their lexicon. Their vacancy is filled by terms like horse-trading while the terms corruption, bribing, embezzlement and cabinet berth are highlighted, underlined and bookmarked.

Now that we have laid the base for my exalted opinion of the profession and its practitioners, I guess its time to move on to the topic of this post.

This year is an election year and henceparties desperate for power will promise the moon to the clueless electorate. Needless to say, these promises will be forgotten once the government has been formed.

Incumbent governments will make claims of achievements over their tenure. Needless to say, these claims will all be on paper, particularly newspapers, and there would be nobody in the electorate who would have benefitted from any of these claimed achievements.

And in quite a few instances, individuals, political parties, social entities affiliated, loosely in some cases, to political parties will make vague and unsubstantiated claims against their opponents. In most cases, these allegations would actually be much milder than the true acts of omission and commission committed by the person in question. But nobody will ever know, in most cases.

On the off chance that some of the truth does emerge in the media, it will be denied unabashedly vehemently and brushed off as a malicious attempt to discredit a honest and upright servant of the masses by unnamed vested interests.

This election will also be the year of the sting. This is probably the first general election in the country with so many news channels in fierce competition for viewer eyeballs. They will be on the hunt, big time, for scoops and stings. Undercover reporters will prowl all over the country, looking under all stones and in all nooks and crannies, for the big breaking news item.
In terms of the results, while its early to say, and the political landscape in India can change with one terror strike, one lost cricket match, one burnt mosque, one farmer committing suicide, one Rakhi Sawant marrying on TV, okay maybe not that but you get my point, one thing is almost certain and that is that neither the BJP nor the Congress will get a majority on their own.

I admit thats not really a Nostradamus-eque prediction and is generally accepted across the country as a fait accompli. However I will go on a limb to predict that neither the NDA nor the UPA, in their current form, will get to the magic number of 272. I would also stick my neck out and say that the NDA will be ahead, maybe only marginally but ahead nevertheless, in the race and will emerge as the single largest pre-poll alliance.

Whether the NDA goes on to form a government is a totally different matter altogether. Unfortunately what I also suspect is that the decisive factor in that decision will not be a policy issue of national importance, or a meeting of the minds with the broader national good as the objective. Instead, it would be an extremely opportunistic alliance of vested interests and hidden agendas with very small and selfish objectives.

In short, it will be business as usual in India. Come of think of it, I have not said anything great or new, have I?

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