On January 25th India observes National Voters’ Day and this year it is more special with four states bound to see the battle of winning the confidence of the voters. Parties have gone out and out to win over this trust, with the unwavering confidence that they can be successful even after presenting leaders already holding other important positions as the de facto power holders. Bhartiya Janata Party’s persued the voters in Goa presenting to them Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, who also happens to be the former chief minister of the state, as their de facto chief minister and cashing in on his presence and importance in New Delhi.
Earlier, seen as a blunder, Aam Aadmi Party’s Manish Sisodia hinted that people should vote with Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Ministerial candidate from the party. The comment can be seen as a spotlight to the leadership vacuum in the party and that of changing priorities. It brings out the crisis that to strengthen the presence in one state, it can bet over Delhi.
These comments indicate to the lack of top brass leadership in the parties to present as the future baton holders. Instead of presenting the old wine in a new bottle with the promise of same refreshing taste, it is time political parties realise the need to build a second-in-line cadre of leaders to maintain the voters’ trust.
Meanwhile, in Uttarakhand, more is expected than just changing loyalties from one political party to other to remain in power.
In Uttar Pradesh, the discussion on ‘voter banks’ still remains relevant, as Samajwadi Party joins hands with Congress giving them a generous number of 105 seats to fight on. The two strong-holds of each party, Akhilesh Yadav and Priyanka Gandhi locked horns over seat distribution in Congress favourite Bareili, each realised what could be their downfall. Though Akhilesh won the ‘cycle’, but proving a better hand in a family feud is different than doing so in the ballot battle. His dwindling image as a young leader coming out of the mockery he has faced from his uncles’ and father’s shadow did make him lose some the party’s trusted voters, specifically the Muslim supporters who had faith in Mulayam leadership. This is the main reason behind SP’s alliance with Congress, a party which miserably failed at the state-level performance at the 14th Lok Sabha elections.
Congress agreeing on three out of five seats in Bareili shows how the party might actually survive only on the generosity of SP. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s Deoria-to-Delhi trek too failed to create the atmosphere favourable to the party. And all this while, the elections don’t happen in isolation; BJP, BSP and other left parties play a key opposition in SP retaining the supremacy.
Amidst the high drama of UP and Punjab, Manipur seems to get the least political attention, only yo be brought in news with the resignation of two MLAs and vice-president of the Manipur Congress. However, with no illegal liquor or drug seizure in the state, Manipur remains a clean battleground.
Coming back to the voters’ importance, people must look beyond the dynasty of power or how influential the candidate is in the party, but more on how has the background been and what is the candidate capable of. It is time the manifestos get their due attention.