Start to a year of non-stop elections

Elections never stop in India, leaving so little time for actual governance. Every time a national party wins one election, it has to get ready for another set of polls in some other part of the country. The process seems interminable and people, maybe, are bit tired

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Elections never stop in India, leaving so little time for actual governance. Every time a national party wins one election, it has to get ready for another set of polls in some other part of the country. The process seems interminable and people, maybe, are bit tired. Life, they say, is what happens between the high decibel incidents. The quiet of the night and the siestas of the post-lunch afternoons are, often, necessary. There has to be a period in which people don’t have to queue up to vote for one shady character or the other. The saddest part is that these are the people who will run our country and our fates are in their hands. So we go, grudgingly, and tolerate the sun and rain and press the button on the EVMs.

This year, in particular, is special, with no less than nine state assembly elections scheduled. Of those three – in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya have already been gone through and the day after this periodical hits the stands we will all know the fate of the parties who have fought in the battle. We will know whether there will be a change in fortunes, whether the government has been taken down or if anti-incumbency was never really an issue in some states.

More importantly, these nine elections will set the tone for a bigger event next year, the general elections. That is no low hanging fruit and promises to be a Battle Royal. Interestingly, the almost mirage-like concept of ‘opposition unity’ is still to be achieved and these state elections will throw up a major challenge for the BJP only if this nebulous idea can somewhat coalesce into a steady emulsion.

Whatever magic potion local parties have used in keeping their own states in play, their effect elsewhere seem to fade quickly. Whatever the position of India’s Grand Old Party, the Indian National Congress, today, that party is possibly the only strong thread that can string up that opposition unity.  

We will have to wait and see how it pans out in a country which never stops voting in another set of polls and violence, in another set of blame games and instability.