The Haryana and Maharashtra election results speak that Congress can do without the Gandhis, regional parties have their sheen and dominant castes have strong minds and clear strategies. More importantly the results have shown that the economy certainly is in the minds of voters. Even a villager is now weary of the sinking banks, NBFCs, the financial sector and agrarian woes.
The results also surprised pollsters – the survey companies. They are completely off the mark. The reason is obvious. They are in business of TRP and not disseminating news. Any observer can predict poll results with 98 to 99% accuracy if he travels through constituencies, meets people, just not leaders, talk to them, have data and is devoid of bias or a tilt. The pollsters instead are for quick money.
The voter is discerning. They want parties and their governments to deliver to their needs. They want them to provide jobs, proper wages, right prices to farmers and just not doles of a yearly Rs 6,000 pension with strings attached.
Rising charges and eroding security for bank deposits — ridiculous Rs 1 lakh ‘insurance” in case there is a crisis-like situation as we saw in the case of PMC Bank have hit the voters.
The voters also do not want to part with their 10 or 15-year-old vehicles, a draconian rule that is not followed anywhere in the world, including the advanced economies such as US and UK. If governments are apathetic, retribution of the people is natural. The message is clear – government cannot work against the interest of the people on pseudo-environment issues.
The present polls also indicate that public memory is not so short that voters forget their daily woes, increasing cost of living, problems of complicated taxes, tolls, fess and arrogance of their representatives. No wonder eight of 10 cabinet ministers lose in Haryana. Maharashtra also saw eight ministers losing.
Many who lost now rue distancing themselves from the people – voters.
The World Bank Ease of Doing Business (EDB) index shows an improvement in ranking to 63 from 77 among 190 countries. But people seem to read beyond. India has done poorly in EDB on four heads – enforcing contracts, registering properly, starting business and paying taxes. The latest scores do not show any change. On enforcing contracts, India retains its 163rd rank, on registering property 154th; lowly on starting business at 136; as for paying (capability) taxes 115.
This reflects high stamp duties and goods and services tax (GST) for many items. Besides, it shows that resources required for starting businesses are still not easily accessible.
The BJP came to power on pro-people promises. It has to recall all those and act accordingly. Frequent polls are a measure to keep the faltering rulers on track. It has to rethink on shrill slogans and nationalistic projections.
The embarrassment over the hunger index does not help. Poverty technically might have come down but disparity has increased. In many cases, the so-called middle class is just on the edge of poverty. Getting elected and empowered is fine but making mockery of the abysmal conditions of the people may cost dear.
Voters show that they can vote differently in the assembly and parliamentary elections. The euphoria over national issues like abrogation of Article 370, 35-A, Balakot and nationalism, will not last forever. People finally want leaders to address local issues like jobs, connectivity of villages, farm distress and healthcare.
The issue in poll everywhere has been the basics of economy and overall well-being. That is the winning formula for any political party.