India goes into election fever


The Economist magazine has used the term “dog whistle politics” in describing the electioneering behavior of the mainstream Indian political parties, and has emphasized the role and style of Narendra Modi in this respect. On the other hand, a Sindhi has come to the support of a Guajarati. Lal Krishna Advani is not an ordinary Sindhi. He had opposed Modi’s elevation to the chair of the party’s PM nominee last year. The Indian general election, tense and complex, are kicking in from today.

Congress, the party in power, is facing criticism for not delivering. Political pundits have ruled it out. Still, the Indian Congress is an adept practitioner of ‘give and take’ in the constituency based election system of India. If the Congress is a spent force then Modi should be elated. BJP is also not a novice in the constituency based elections politics.

Here comes the David versus Goliath nature of the Indian elections. AAP, a new entrant in the political scene, is aspiring to challenge the narrative of BJP. The mythical Indian city of Banaras is the epicenter of this novel contest where Narendra Modi is being challenged by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP may have been successful in galvanizing the educated and liberal urban stratum. Yet it is not clear if it can seamlessly negotiate the exigencies of complex constituency politics. In Banaras, the Mukhtar Ansari sequel may not be beneficial for Arvind Kejriwal. It can, on the other side, indirectly bolster the chances of Narendra Modi in the key UP constituency.

BJP is strongly expecting to pick up steam from the states of Gujrat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pardesh and Maharashtra to get to the magical number of 272. As Hindustan goes into election fever, it makes sense to be a fly on the wall.

The Economist piece is here.

Asimov Arifov is a political scientist/researcher with The École des hautes études en sciences sociales, (EHESS) Paris, France. He is about to publish a book on the geopolitics of the Hindukush Region. He can be followed on twitter @asimovarifov for his latest updates.