Which would be the most important issues that people would vote for in the upcoming parliament poll in India? Well the election date would soon be known after the vote in parliament scheduled for July 22. The political parties in India generally depend upon and go by the ‘wisdom & judgment ’ of their in-house political pundits and those so-called senior journalists, who spin doctor as a fulltime profession for the parties they are working for without ever bothering for the professional ethics. Simultaneously the political parties also commission some market research to find out about the mood of the electorate. And the findings of these research agencies are generally ignored because the political leaders generally like to believe that they know the masses well enough at all times.
The masses, beyond the party workers, do not claim to know their leaders at all the times. That’s why they keep changing their opinion about electing them to power periodically. Political parties would benefit a lot if they could get some professional organization to research into the mood of the electorate so that they could make ‘promises’ on the correct lines at least. Let us try to list the most talked about election issues in the media.
Nuclear deal between US-INDIA has become a prominent issue. The Congress would go to people projecting it as a deal in the national interest and of the ‘AAM ADMI’, (Children in India believe that they only could be the ‘aam admi’ as mango is their favorite fruit). Though rural India suffers more from power cuts than the urban but its influence on voting may be more in the urban areas. BJP lead NDA would find it difficult to convince the people about their opposition to the deal.
I do not find anything wrong with getting close to the most powerful nation on earth. US have close relations with Europe, Japan, and Malaysia etc too. Would the opponents of the pact like India get close to poorer and least developed countries? India needs to feed its scary population. India needs to grow faster to be able to find jobs for its people. India needs energy. One could grow by being in the company of the developed. How could you keep company of the underdeveloped and expect to grow fast? Nations, like Men, are known by their company.
Let us shed that hollow & false pride to concentrate on working with international community to develop India into a place where everyone can find food, clothing and shelter. How can India be great when half the population goes empty stomach? Get real if you love India. India is its people. Have pity on the Indians, cut that jingoistic rhetoric away for sometime and let India develops economically. If you want India to strong and proud let us all work hard and find food, shelter and normal living conditions for most of us. Healthy body has healthy mind. Let us make India healthy first.
Inflation would be NDA’s most potent weapon. Recent price escalation that’s threatening to touch 12 percent on July 18, 2008 could work wonders in the urban areas for BJP. Other NDA constituents may not benefit much from this phenomenon because they do not much following in the urban India. Well the Congress would like to project that the rise in crude price is beyond their control and blame the inflation on the foreign hand. But masses in India have shown repeatedly that price increase is not forgiven. Congress would have to work hard to convince the masses to control the damage.
Governance has remained a pretty prominent election issue for a long time. Congress used to project itself as the only party that could rule India and offer stable government. It has been proven wrong. Several non-congress governments have ruled India. NDA government lasted full 6 years at the helm. This issues now figures prominently in speeches of LK Advani. BJP has very smartly marketed this issue in its modified version as good-governance. Well done. India needs good governance more than the stability. We need corruption free governance. Effectiveness of government could improve only when corruption is taken out of the system.
No political party promises a corruption free government. If any one of the Congress and BJP could promise a corruption free government it can sweep the elections on this one issue alone. Indians are fed up with corruption. There can be no really good or stable governance when nothing moves without greasing some palms.
Hindutva would remain a major election issue for BJP led alliance. BJP would be using it in some form like Amarnath, Death sentence to Muslim accused in parliament attack, Sonia gandhi’s origins etc. Hindutva has become necessity of the BJP to keep its flock of party workers together. The issue has lost appeal for the average educated Indian.
Unprecedented economic growth in India in last 4-5 years would become the major plank to convince voters to side with the party. It would also project the clean image of Manmohan Singh. Lallu’s great innings with railways is another powerful issue. Overall UPA & Congress would do well to project their achievements. NDA/BJP would counter it by projecting the inflation.
UPA and Congress have to be careful about their media plan to convey the message of great governance. I would recommend that they should take best media planners on board in its war-room to strategise to formulate a media plan and fine tune its targeting of the various sections of electorate. NDA last-time had a great campaign in Shining India, but they completely failed in crafting a media plan.
There have been constant complain campaign by BJP about many power centers in UPA, dilution of the prestige of the office of PM, and the charge that Manmohan is a weak PM. Well Congress may counter them with record of its government. I have reservations about demand for a strong PM. Does India need a PM like Modi? A parliamentary democracy would do well to have a PM who is more of a Coordinator than a typical one-man show. Half of the India is poor, uneducated, religious, ethnic and caste conscious, and densely populated, its possible to arouse their sentiments and push them into unfortunate battles over trivial issues. A dictator like PM is not required in India. We have rejected the emergency last time too. India needs a consensus seeking, soft spoken, educated person like Manmohan, Nrayanmurthy, Rattan Tata, APJ, Sachin Pilot, Arun Jaitley etc to lead us into better times.
There may be several other important issues that could be found out through research. I hope political parties go beyond using marketing tools & concepts and give a market orientation to the party itself. A real democracy should ask people what they want and give them what they really need. All political parties have to develop a new market orientation to get the trust of the people they claim to represent.
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