National elections in India are like a circus. The same is due in April-May 2014. Groups of party men from different parties camp across cities in India. They campaign for a month or so and then go back to their respective houses not to be seen for another 5 years.
There are national level, branded circuses (Congress, BJP), regional circuses (Lalu, Mulayam, Maya, Jayalalitha, Mamata etc.). A new circus has joined the bandwagon – Aam Aadmi Party. Lions (nation level leaders), jokers (spokespersons) and ringmaster (local heavyweight karyakartas) are the mainstay of any circus. Lions are a rare species nowadays while jokers are a plenty. Even the national level circuses have only one lion who hops from one city to another showing his prowess. Jokers fill in the gap and entertain the crowd. But while lion comes and gets the maximum applaud, it is the ringmaster (local heavyweight karyakartas) who plays a key role in converting audience into votes.
The BJP circus is led by Modi. Tickets are highly priced (comparatively), but still the circus is generating good demand. Modi hops from one city / circus to another roaring. He attacks the other main contender Rahul in each appearance. His circus is very high tech attached with a lot of media blitz. Modi anointment has galvanized the local karyakarta and he sees it as now or never for his party to come back to the center.
The Congress circus is headless currently. Though, mother wants Rahul to lead the show. He doesn’t seem to be interested, perhaps is intimidated by the other lion Modi. This circus is free, no charges, still seats are empty. Lack of a lion which roars, is perhaps the reason. Party is full of jokers though (Diggi, Tewari, Sibal) who entertain voters but lacks ringmasters. They have been disillusioned. They have become jobless. Who will they convert? Seeing the dwindling prospects they are increasingly hopping onto other party’s circus.
The regional circuses also boast of lions but in effect have jokers only. These jokers spice up the atmosphere (Lalu in particular). They could get employed as comedians in Bollywood. They belittle issues and show contempt for the system. People do come to see them but have got bored over the years. They are fed up of these self proclaimed lions licking feet of national level circuses.
The Aam Aadmi Party doesn’t boast of lions or jokers. It’s a unique circus, where audiences as well as performers are the same. What tricks you want to see is determined through sms campaign. Aam Aadmi by rotation gets a chance to become a performer. The success in Delhi has made the Aam Aadmi leader Kejriwal roar and put up himself for national contention. They are attracting loads of ringmasters especially from Congress. The space which is void because of Rahul officially not taking up lion’s role is being targeted by Kejriwal. This circus is soon likely to go the regional circuses way.
Elections have been like this in India for long. Only this time around the protagonists of the circuses have changed. We have a lion (Modi) who has been roaring continuously for the past 3-4 months, people including his party fear whether he will run out of steam before D-day. No competition, because Congress has always propped up “holy cows” in the past. Men from family have hesitated to take on lion’s mantle. Their search for a “holy cow” who will be made a scapegoat has not yielded any results so far. New entrant trying to prop up a new concept “aam lion” but lions are not “aam aadmi”. They are special. If they appear “aam” people won’t worship them. So, Kejriwal is trying to transform from “aam aadmi” to “roaring powerful lion”. Only that he has very short time.
This leaves the audience (voter) totally confused. He goes in all the circuses, watches all tricks but doesn’t necessarily vote for the circus which amuses him the most. He would vote for a lion who understands the country & issues faced by it, leadership whose roar keeps enemies at bay. Interesting circus this time around….