As the recent elections became an important catalyst in the agenda that pushed the various political parties in the run, the need to better understand the treatment of the electors in the hands of the so called representatives became important.
During the recent elections, Delhi had morphed into a hot-spot of social and political reforms that were much needed in today’s democracy. The state had transformed into an open field of protests, propaganda and politics that were often aimed towards the ballots in the form of votes. These times were very significant in any election that involved India’s renowned political parties. Throughout the history of the rise of Bharitiya Janata Party we’ve encountered such volatile issues, find massive space on the ground. Be it the Pulwama Attack in 2019, The Ahyodhya case or The Kashmiri Pandit Exodus issue, all have been taken up as pawns to pave the way for the saffron agenda. This is how the electoral politics of India goes about now. We are far from “simpler times” that were defined with just low economy, high farmer suicides and a knowledge hungry youth. Today the elections are lobbied by far right populists’ that jump at any opportunity of power.
Electoral Politics aims to identify the “trend” that runs in the electors demographic. It is a way of finding out the puncture point of the population. Elections in this context become a puppet in the hands of the leaders who identify themselves as part of the show. During the 2009 Elections the issues that were playing a major role in the voting process involved majority of the economic parts. Though caste and religion had a huge role they weren’t as prevalent as the former. The political atmosphere that had been emerging in the country had created an opposite environment for the recent elections. The economic issues had been sidelined while the country was fed with communal and biased narratives. While India fell into a severe economic slowdown, the youth and the working population were distracted with safforinised propagandas.
When these crucial years of the demographic dividend could be used to create a developmental growth in the global arena, few pluralists used the strategic feature to fuel their own power hungry bellies. As we saw in Delhi, the Shaheen Bagh protests had become a hot topic in the party rallies. The terms like Anti-national, Gad-daar, and Musalmaan had been thrown at the crowded arenas to fire up the communal enthusiasms of the vulnerable men and women. The surprise visits by gunmen on protest scenes and the police junta with their unfazed attitude have become a common occurrence. These nothing short of horrendous ideas and party tricks that were put in the heads of the potential voters, ended up influencing their decisions. The thing that makes today’s parties (be it AAP or BJP) smart is that they understand the psychological factors that go into the voting system of India and how the game of influence works on an otherwise politically inactive society. The Citizenship Amendment Act is in fact a product of the same but bigger political game.
For Delhi, Shaheen Bagh had proven to be the pressure point for the recent elections. It incited both the far right activists and the left leaning politicians to involve themselves in the scene. The different ways that Shaheen Bagh was portrayed by either of the sides to the rest of the population, became a vote bank strategy. The attempt to put the “liberal” Delhi in the saffron atmosphere of the country, hands off showed the strategies used by the political parties of India. Issues like dropping economy, high unemployment and illiteracy got no chance to be a priority in a country where communalism and pseudo-patriotism takes shelter.
The game of electoral politics in Delhi or any other state of India is nothing short of a dystopian movie, where men are treated as a flock of sheep. They are fed hatred and taught the malady of “othering”. For the elections of Delhi, Identity had played a major role in not only mobilizing a certain section of the sleeping society but also creating a surrounding of insecurity for a pawned majority. The Underpaid failed to understand the politics that make-up the elections of such a vast country because of a saffron tie around their eyes. In truth, it isn’t the question of who wins in the elections but a question of how long can the so called leaders play with the structurally deprived people in the name of vote bank politics. The present cannot be ignored while trying to make history. It is therefore imperative to take note of the puppeteers and cut the strings off as soon as it’s found.
Babra Shafiqi is pursuing English Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.