March 12, 2017
Why Irom Sharmila losing is not a surprise
Irom Sharmila losing is no surprise. That’s how politics works!
There’s a general outcry on the Internet for Irom Sharmila. People expressing their outrage because Irom Sharmila got just 90 Votes in Manipur.
Just stop, right there.
Have a look at the candidates in your own constituency who were contesting in the last elections. How many of those candidates have criminal records against them? How many of those have been powerful industrialists-turned-politicians or reformed-criminal-turned-politicians?
Going by an article published in the guardian, before 2014 General Elections, 1/5th of the candidates had criminal charges. Even the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh elections saw 322 out of 403 ‘Crorepati’ MLAs winning. Out of these 143 have criminal charges against them.
The idea of a politician, in the general population’s head, is a powerful figure. Someone who isn’t easily scared by others. A figure which people respect and fear. Fear and respect go hand-in-hand, in our democracy. Sadly.
To be fair, in every election, we do have a few candidates who are honest, have spent years in social work, and now hope to serve a constituency. Right ? But if their image doesn’t echo a sense of power with their target vote-bank, irrespective of how good they are, it’s difficult for them to gather votes.
Elections in India aren’t about policies. People hardly scan through the manifesto of the party they are voting for. Did you read BJP’s 2014 election manifesto? Or INC’s?
[BJP Election manifesto: Click Here]
[Congress Election Manifesto: Clik Here]
People want leaders who can ‘speak to them’ and ‘speak for them’. If their answers address insecurities, hits the nail on the actual needs of the masses and simplifies the problems to deliver a quick-solution, then that’s the kind of leader they believe in.
When Donald Trump says, he’ll build a wall to keep immigrants out, people who actually know how big the border is, might find it ridiculous. But not all of them. When someone like Modi says, demonetization affected the ‘corrupt’ more than the poor, people will believe him. Be it Trump or Modi, or any other politician, it is about finding those simple solutions that can make people believe them.
Coming back to Irom Sharmila and being blunt, her sacrifice doesn’t mean anything to the people in that constituency. She was on a hunger-strike for years to get her demands accepted. People might assume that she won’t be able to get the work done.
Look at what happened with Kejriwal. His image, even when it is clean, is associated with Dharna and cribbing. Occasionally, he raises some valid points in his criticism but his image has already been made.
Same goes with Rahul Gandhi. His image is that of a fool and is popular as Pappu. How will people take him seriously? Even supporters of Congress cannot defend him with the same zeal like a Bhakt or Aaaptard does, because of this. No one wants an association with anyone who makes them appear to be another fool.
Of course, it doesn’t take more than a good investment in PR to change your image. Maybe an Adani/Ambani on their side might help ?