Nikhil Koul
Understanding the Non-elites
This article originally appeared in CRI content has now been subsumed in The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of

Only three days back, the Father Gigone of Congress sycophants Sanjay Jha tweeted ,” It is funny how affluent Twitterati who benefit from government subsidies on oil, power, gas etc, crib about Food Security/MNREGA. Hypocrisy! “. Something of a similar argument was peddled on twitter quite some time ago when the other harebrained spokesman Tehseen Poonawalla happened to argue with Sucheta Dalal as usual in a spurt of buffoonery and asinine behavior (the uncouth Poonawalla passed some really nasty remarks on her surname which is of course nothing offensive to the party of Amaresh Misra and ‘Tunch-Maal’ Singh).

While at first such statements may seem repulsive and ignorant, they put on display the arrogance and the ignorance of the Congress and its supporters. Recall that last year; Arvind Kejriwal too tried the same trick in response to a query by Javed Akhtar. The argument sounds like a progressive writer’s version of discrediting the voices that challenge the status-quo, something like a homegrown version of ‘divide-and-rule’. The irony lies not in the statement but the people who spout such pedestrian nonsense; one wishes the Congress symbol is struck upon them at the right place and with the right force.

Sample this – Sanjay Jha’s wife is related to Ajit Gulabchand of ‘Lavasa’ fame, Tehseen Poonawalla owns nightclubs and restaurants in Pune. The sly neo-liberal Arvind Kejriwal’s relationship with Ford Foundation and other anti-India forces is all around on twitter and blogosphere. Intentional hypocrisy, deliberate prevarication and distorting facts to suit one’s own agenda have been the modus operandi for long. When the Jha’s and Poonawalla’s of the world realize the intelligence of the electorate who ask them pertinent questions, they try to browbeat them by labeling them ‘elite’ and ‘privileged’. But that is of course the pot calling the kettle black. The other group of Congress supporters tells a different story.

The usual stock of Congress spokesmen that one sees on debates in national TV is a different metal. The long run of the Congress in the 60+ years of history has seen many changes on the grass root levels too. A peon of the office where I worked in the past told me how it used to work earlier, after independence in 1947 his grandfather and many others in their native village in UP extracted a promise from their children that they would always vote for ‘Panditji (Nehru)’ and Congress and the same should go on for their children.

The man who told me this however had decided that enough was enough and he has told his children and family, vote for any ‘choruchakka‘ you like, but not Congress! I happened to see the same spirit when Tavleen Singh Aroor of Times Now was chatting up people of Amethi and Rae-Bareli. While a few of them were visibly gaga over Rahul Gandhi’s ascent and Priyanka Gandhi’s arrival, an old man came up and rather bluntly said,” Rahul, Priyanka or whoever comes is not our relative. Whoever does something for us shall get our vote and respect“. This from the strongholds of the Congress signals a slow but significant change.

For all their blabbermouth rhetoric of Modi being Hitler and fascist, I have personally seen in suburban Delhi in the areas where Congress has been winning handsomely for long whenever a leader of the High Command (more if a member of the dynasty) drops over in the nearby Congress office, it turns into such cringe worthy display of sycophancy that it has to be seen to be believed. As they say, servility has limits, stupidity has none. But guess the eNREGA crowd will take some more time to come to senses.

The aforementioned examples do not just describe just an attitude of the Indian voter, it hits at the basic weakness of a demographic that a political party like the Congress exploits to the hilt. Nearly some 14-15 years back in MP, a Congressman had decided to woo his electorate with a novel technique. Just a month to go before local body elections, he bought all his young voters motorcycles for them to keep.

When a few educated people asked him what if they don’t vote for him? He said, In that case, he has just made the minimum down payment of the motorcycles and the EMI for them would fall upon the people if he didn’t win! What would’ve happened next is anybody’s guess. The tendency of latching on to such helplessness is what is demeaning and harmful to the voter.

Deep down even the staunchest Congressman would agree that the avalanche of Anti-Congress sentiment which started with Ambedkar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee to Jayaprakash Narayan to Vajpayee is now a force to reckon with under Narendra Modi. In an interesting meeting with a few Army personnel during a train journey, we got started on politics. There was this senior officer who happened to be a Muslim from Maharashtra. He began by telling that as far the forces were concerned, it was unanimous they had yet to see a defense minister better than George Fernandes and worse than Mulayam Singh Yadav.

He continued by saying that the Vajpayee rule had endeared people to the NDA, if that was the trailer for good governance then people have a lot of expectation riding on NDA-2 under Narendra Modi, more so in the wake of the current Gen. VK Singh fiasco, and other failures of Indian bureaucracy vis-à-vis the border issues with China and Pak, the defense forces feel immensely let down. Gradually, the talk veered off to religion and Muslim vote bank, the gentleman officer turned out to be a more fervent Modi supporter than me!

He proposed that such Muslims who can’t make an honest distinction between secular/communal should come attend a seminar under Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain (Hasnain, an eloquent speaker is also one of the most strongest defenders of AFSPA against Omar Abdullah govt.’s attempts to salvage it) or Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah (Shah incidentally was deployed in Gujarat during 2002 riots), to dispel their doubts. The façade of fake secularism has been seen through now by most Muslims, it showed.

The Indian voter is a complex entity in democracy. His pattern of voting is difficult to predict with the C-Voter and other dubious statistical generalizations although one factor that could explain it sufficiently albeit illogically is emotionalism. The emotions of the Indian electorate are his strength. One who can gauge this pulse of the Indian voter does understand what he needs and what can be done about it. So far, Narendra Modi has been the one to accurately check that out and perform to the best of expectations.

The Indian voter gave unprecedented victory to a rank novice Amitabh Bachchan against the winning horse H.N. Bahuguna, who had never lost an election before!. The Indian voter gave Rajiv Gandhi 400+ seats in 84 on a sympathy wave. It is the same Indian voter who cannot entertain the idea of anybody other than Narendra Modi on the PM’s seat from the BJP. The intelligence, the sagacity and the individualist voice of the Indian voter is usually undermined by the liberal media and the cocktail circuit gliterrati. Even a comparison between the eNREGA brigade and the Modi supporters on twitter will reveal to an unbiased person that the Modi supporters are not blind fanatical followers who can be taken for a ride.

In the case of the ‘Rambo’ story, they did not buy the facts even for a moment. The Modi supporters did condemn on first stance Dr. Chandan Mitra’s comment on stripping Amartya Sen of his Bharat Ratna. Even the gracious Dr. Mitra apologized for it. I have yet to see someone from the Congress chide Amaresh Misra for all that he has said; In fact I see many from the eNREGA brigade encouraging him! And then when it comes to logic the Congressis say nonsense like this makes you wonder in the light of recent developments that in addition to mounting charges of corruption, loot and communalism, shouldn’t a treason charge also be leveled upon them! or wait! Is treason a small word here!. The Indian voter is the best judge.

It should be reminded to the elites time and again, that you cannot take the Indian voter for a ride anymore. However some obstinate frogs refuse to come out of the well even after much debate and coaxing. In Kashmir, the Kashmiri Muslims once used to believe that the Jana Sangh was a demon who ate people up in the fields! That was the ‘Rambo’ story of that era ( I know this personally as I hail from Kashmir and also Rahul Pandita’s book mentions the fact).

Today the Kashmiri Muslim goes to JNU and SOAS, reads Said and Adorno, meets people across the globe but will still borrow a modified version of the same PR story that BJP is communal, Sangh is imperialist, they shall kill Muslims and other kinds of nonsense without realizing what RSS, VHP are doing for the Muslims of the country without a photo-op or formal acknowledgement. The frogs fraternity includes those op-ed hacks too who cannot think without 3 beers inside them and after that want to sit in judgement over everything like Bekaar Aakar Patel. One day after a long drinking session, Aakar Patel wrote since Modi had got a degree from correspondence, his lack of knowledge is a problem! Well, Aakar Patel should know that a leader of the eminence of Kamaraj had left schooling and since Patel had relocated to the south somebody should have educated him on Kamaraj.

Even in North, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was less than a matriculate! But such logic will be lost on perpetually sozzled Patel. Among all the vomit the Patel types spurt in the daily op-eds, each fact can be torn apart with a million facts, but then one doesn’t condescend to fight a puny intellect like Aakar Patel and Co. and seriously why should someone waste time and energy even thinking about the national waste of paper that an Aakar Patel op-ed is!. ( Incidentally, Aakar Patel signed the mercy petition of Kasab and Guru and people wonder where this guy gets his creds to comment on Narendra Modi from… Infact, No oped of Aakar Patel on Modi has ever been published in the gold standard of libtardism- The Hindu, thereby proving that even though the Hindu may want to hammer out Modi and other people on the right incessantly, it is not willing to publish trash from the likes of Aakar Patel. Comrade Vardarajan may catch a nap on the editing table every once a while, but by and large, the ©Hindu would not stoop to such ‘bekaar‘ism- that digression BTW was just my harmless Aakar Patel trolling).

It remains to be seen how much awake and attentive the Indian voter is, and as always in a democracy the verdict has to be respected but for the players who are fighting from the right side, they should hope for the best and expect the worst.