May 19, 2009 4:35:12 pm
A week ago,my column in the print edition of The Indian Express said that while the septuagenarian-plus leaders are flexing their non-existent muscles at each other,there are many indications of the younger electorate and the younger leaders talking of first principles – and that the national parties would do much better than what we have been anticipating.
I also wrote that young leaders and young voters were changing the nature of the political discourse – and even said so to my young leader who was talking seriously of a more open,caring society. Thank you Rahul for following the path Rajiv did in going out there and sticking to the truth.
I argued that past elections showed an invisible thread,building a network from Uttaranchal to Nagercoil and Rajkot to Vizag that made substantial swings of the type the pundits couldnt see,take place. As communicators,when we go wrong on serious issues,we need to own up. If a seventy-year-old young man like me could with a pencil,a Maruti van and that great thirst to go out see it in villages of Gujarat,western Maharashtra and parts of UP see it,how come we missed it?
I argued that it is an interesting feature of Indian elections that when the big swings took place they were not anticipated,and that in 2004 when I was in Canada,one could see it in the women coming out of Sonias meetings.
The answer may be in our inability to cross that divide between Page 3 dilettantism and understanding Bharat. Shekhar Gupta got it in his column on the posters in village India. So in Gujarat,everybody said that the BJP would swamp. Indias first election forecaster derisively dismissed early Congress gains since his surveys had consistently shown only six seats for them. Ditto for UP.
Some humility,going back to college to find out the mistakes in surveying with limitations and prejudices,and bringing out in the open our limited understanding,will a good starting step when all the heat is over. You can fool all the people only for some of the time,I argued a week ago. It would be good to start with that. For,as I argued then,”as we come closer to wielding our great power,it is important to recognize that there is more strength in our system than we think there is. I honestly believe most of us will vote for the India we want”.
The Charawaks are honest. Only you didnt know.
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