Seven positives of general elections 2014

Last Updated: Wed, May 14, 2014 03:00 hrs

1. Highest turnout ever: This election has been one of the most hyped ever but in the end it was worth it. The previous highest national turnout was in 1984 which also happened to be the Indira Gandhi sympathy wave. That stood at 64%.

The 2014 one stands at 66.4%: This despite the fact that it was conducted over a marathon 36 days and mainly in the sweltering heat.

Now think of all those missing voters in the electoral lists and all those who didn’t vote thanks to errors on the voting card and you know how the Election Commission has bungled up big time and could have taken that figure even higher.

2. Politicians on their toes: During election time, politicians usually get away with irresponsible statements and acts. The model code of conduct has been deterring them steadily, but this time all the politicians were on their toes as a record number of FIRs were filed and political leaders were pulled up across party lines. The only downer was allegations of bias favouring the Congress and against the BJP.

3. The anti-corruption theme: In one way this vote has been the end of the anti-corruption movement that began in 2010 and saw the August Kranti agitation of 2011 and the launch of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Plus this time it has been different. 1989 was just a reaction to Bofors. This time corruption is a much larger theme and the Lokpal was introduced. Post-2014 people will not be satisfied with mere probes and will demand for more concrete action.

4. Social media:
Usually people just get to get their voice heard once every five years. Not this time where they were heard each and every day. No new big scams have resurfaced for quite some time now, and public memory is usually very short.

Not so with social media where every old Tweet, article and photo is pulled out to embarrass the politicians. And every year in India there is some election or the other (like the Assembly and municipal ones), so social media voters will keep applying the pressure in the run up to these elections.

5. Yet another alternative: People tired of Congress moved to the BJP. People tired of both the Congress and BJP moved to the AAP. The AAP had a brilliant launch pad but squandered it through first joining hands with the Congress and then letting it go when people were OK with the arrangement.

They made it worse by vigilantism, dharnas, attacks and dramas. No matter how good they fare, they could have been much better had they play their cards right. However, they still have a base to make it big in 2019.

It is still possible for all the AAP to win back a lot of the middle class it lost by 2019.

Alternatives have emerged elsewhere too. Tamil Nadu has a Third Front in the form of NDA as the BJP has tied up with the non-DMK non-ADMK players. West Bengal finally has a non-Congress non-CPM option in the BJP.

Funnily the BJP is gaining ground in the Northeast and Kerala too. All in all the BJP might finally become a permanent national party and India will officially enter a 2-alliance system much better than the Congress monopoly or Third Front nonsense.

6. Political indifference uncool:
Till now everyone found it cool to either not vote or not be involved with a political party. That has changed this time. Celebrities and professionals in large numbers are getting associated with some party or the other.

Bollywood is writing letters in support of “secular” parties. The youth has been politicized and exposed to the grandest electoral campaign ever. Political indifference, which has led politicians to behave with impunity, is out of the window.

7. End of the Delhi clique: It is always unhealthy for a small group of individuals to have a stranglehold over all opinions and debates, but that is exactly what had been happening till now. But now the doors have been opened and all manner of people all over India have made their voice heard in this election and not just the Delhi clique.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.