Monday, May 12, 2014

Verdict 2014

In the next few hours voting for General Elections for 2014 will come to an end, and the TV channels will take over bombarding exit poll verdicts for the next few days. TimesNow has already announced its ‘HOLOgram’ version, and CNN-IBN has given a peek to its exit polls stage design!

The Trending topic on twitter since morning has been #Verdict2014 and #AlwaysWithCongress, do not know if its irony or a rude shock for the pollster like that of 2004 & 2009. Every survey and every media house has been talking about how INC will be decimated or how BJP or rather Modi will come to power with a thumping majority.

The run up to the elections and the entire campaign has been the MOST undignified and brutal, leaders cutting across parties made personal remarks and several senior leaders of other parties. In the barrage of speeches in the campaign trails and hashtag wars on Twitter, Indian elections went on a High to it’s new Low. Abuse for Abuse, Tweet for Tweet, Sound-bite for Sound-bite and 24 hours News channels mostly picking up story trends from Twitter left voter exhausted.

Modi’s bunch of Lies, Fake Gujarat development stories, Slip-of-tongue comments, Hate Gandhi family speeches, Arrogance, PR, Event management was hardly matched by INC Leadership! Rahul Gandhi’s more measured speech and focus of putting out the achievements of UPA did not reach TV News channels as they were always on a look out for ONLY Sound bites.

BJP’s cleverly crafted campaign and event management left INC spinning, Maya, Lalu, Jaya, Mulayam, Nitesh, Mamata were not even given air time on the National News channels. Many voters from most parts of the country wondered if any of the parties other than BJP, INC, AAP contested at all. While media savvy Kejriwal & AAP scored several brownie points, even they were left with nothing more than few minutes of air time.

As a News addict, and have been watching News channels for several years, one could see tremendous shift in the way media houses functioned all through the election campaign. Media was indeed influencing voters indirectly or more importantly demoralizing the cadre of many parties, and made me wonder if elections were actually fought in the TV studios or by News channels or by Political parties on ground.

But voters of India have decided what they want, who influenced them does not really matter, but who reached out to them and how they saw the entire election campaign play out, did they vote based on track record and manifesto or was it just vote for change all that can ONLY be deliberated once the REAL elections #Verdict2014 is out.

Many like me are not entirely happy, but there are no excuses once the votes are recorded. In the battle of ideologies, in the ballet of Truth v/s Hype in the battle of We v/s I, in the battle of Decency v/s Arrogance, in the battle of Democracy v/s Corporate, in the battle of People v/s Media one will be the loser and Indian voters have decided that.

I am no Psephologists but General Elections 2014 is going to throw a lot of surprises as the EVM get unlocked, and will leave the Media in a spin yet again! 

- Kavitha Reddy

Friday, May 9, 2014

NO Accidental Prime Minister

General Elections 2014, one the most bitterly fought elections in the history of independent India is finally coming to an end. In the next few days, faith of every candidate and party will be decided as voting ends and counting begins.

As the political drama unfolds one man is quietly getting ready to walk into the sunset. Renowned economist, father of economic reforms & liberalization in India and the man who lead UPA Government, Dr Manmohan Singh  bids good bye to public life.

Dr Singh lead one of the most successful and progressive governments in the history of independent India, but equally marred with controversial scams, he was blamed for being non-communicative and was targeted unfairly as a puppet in the hands of Sonia Gandhi.

Dr Singh’s last 2-3 years in office has been his toughest, an over critical media, obstructive opposition and anti-corruption movements across the country took a toll on communication. Dr Singh is not known for being aggressive; his dignified approach was mostly interpreted as his incapability to act tough. A soft spoken Dr Singh was attacked constantly by a barrage of media and opposition sometimes with a pre-set agenda.

Today as Dr Singh gets ready to leave office, there is a sadness that surrounds, call it the era of sound-bites or a well planned propaganda by the opposition, UPA Government and the Indian National Congress failed to aggressively put across the achievements of Dr Singh lead Government.

The biggest failure of Dr Singh lead government was simply lack of aggressive and relentless communication. As main stream media looks for stories from the social media, lack of proactive communication from UPA Governments only added to its list of trouble. One may argue that its fatigue, rarely any government has successfully completed its 2 terms in office.

As India stands at cross roads, and is fighting an ideological battle, facts got replaced with rhetoric and parliamentary elections is fought as presidential one from one end of the spectrum. A bitterly fought election has over shadowed the achievements of Dr Singh lead UPA Government, and only time will tell how Dr Singh’s Government will be viewed as the election dust settles.  

No one knows what Dr Singh would do next, but I firmly believe that history will judge Dr Singh kindly and will attribute the India Growth story to Policies he laid out during his tenure. Why shouldn’t it, there cannot be a better person to lead India than Dr Singh, and even during the most tough economic times he put India ahead.
Dr Singh will always be #SinghIsKing for many INC supporters like me; I admired him for being dignified even during brutal, abusive and uncouth campaign against him, he held the dignity of the Office of the Prime Minister of India.

Whatever maybe the outcome of General Elections 2014 Dr Singh will indeed have the last laugh, and time will reconcile to the fact that he was ‘NO Accidental Prime Minister’. 

Thank You Dr Manmohan Singh for building a Liberalized and Inclusive India, I am glad that India had a Prime Minister like you.   

- Kavitha Reddy