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Right Appeal


And the argument over the economy continues! Wanting to make this an election issue – and wondering why it hasn’t been – the Congress has gone to the extent of even fielding former PM Manmohan Singh – to the extent he can go out into the field. And his appeal, naturally enough, is that the present government not blame his tenure for the economic difficulties because, after all, that was six years ago!
While the figures being bandied about depend on who is quoting them, it is a fact that most are open to interpretation. When it comes to elections and politics, it has much to do with people’s emotions and perceptions. There is an extent to which they can be made to feel something, but that requires oratory and persuasive power. Mere numbers tweeted from Tihar Jail, or stumblingly stated at a press conference, do not make the cut. For one of India’s most unemployable persons to talk about unemployment seems ironic and funny to the listeners. And depending on ‘for hire’ personnel to identify ‘hot button’ issues that would persuade the public isn’t exactly what the political pundits ordered.
It needs a functional and motivated party organisation to identify what would make good political fodder at election time. In the case of Haryana and Maharashtra at the present, the BJP has done just that – emphasising withdrawal of Article 370 in Haryana and recalling Vir Savarkar in Maharashtra. It is not a coincidence that both are issues whose controversial nature can be laid at the Congress door. It is not surprising that those making some impact on the social media with propaganda against the ‘Hindutva Right’ are the equally motivated if not as numerous Leftists.
India’s youth, though troubled by unemployment and the slowdown in GDP growth, has much greater awareness than any time in the past, thanks to the ubiquitous TV and social media. They know there is considerable substance in the BJP’s allegations that Manmohan’s rule almost entirely hollowed out the economic infrastructure, particularly the banks. They can see that the present government does not lack the courage to reform the system, and will continue to do so. They realise that, in many ways, their own lack of skills is responsible for their failure to climb up the social and economic ladder. This is because they know many from among them, facing the same difficulties, have risen up and achieved success. It is them they would like to emulate, not survive just on the basis of handouts. As for those struggling in acute poverty, they have seen excellent interventions being taken. Their willingness to vote for Modi’s party, then, does not seem so surprising.