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Run-up to 2014 General Elections

Uzair Hasan Rizvi for BeyondHeadlines

There could not be any worst way for the run-up to the 2014 general elections in India, as soon as the dates of the polling in largest democracy was being announced in the capital last month, country was witnessing stone pelting, street clashes between the member of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in various cities.

The violence broke out after police detained AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during his campaign in Modi’s territory- Gujarat. The clashes of wooden sticks with jhaadu (brooms) were evident. In Delhi, police had to use water cannons on the protestors.

As we approach the general elections, the ruling Congress party that won a comfortable majority with United Progressive Alliance (UPA), is being seen the weakest as the country has been gripped altogether in a different NaMo – Narendra Modi’s fever, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Congress has been withered away in Andhra Pradesh on account of a political split. Charges of corruption, indecisiveness, weak leadership and state of economy have created a huge anti-incumbency atmosphere. They also lost their alliances in the state of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

While BJP, who have gained 3 states in the recent state assembly elections seems confident when it comes to public meeting, but they themselves are not being able to hold its own senior party men against the rise of one leader. Internal bickering is still rounding the corners in BJP office.

BJP, who came to power in the state of Bihar in last elections, suffered a setback when its major alliance parted ways with the party. In Karnataka too, the party is still reeling under internal imbalances.

The instability of these major players has once again given regional and smaller parties an opportunity of third front. This idea has been tried in India a few times. However, with no single party in third front that is capable of winning a reasonable number of seats in parliament.

The emergence of AAP in Delhi has already given jitters to both BJP and Congress in Delhi state elections, though the party lasted just for 49 days, with outside support from Congress. But still AAP could be one of that party which tends to spoil the figures of the key players.

This is going to be one of the most uncertain elections that can give a possibility to a party even with low figures to have their say, because the mark of 272 is what they would want to achieve at any cost.

For 21 year old young and enthusiast like me and many others of the same will, it is going to be interesting how these parties will going to satisfy the minds of the tech-savvy generation which is ready to bash you for your mistakes immediately on social media.

We are now tired of both Congress and BJP, where one party is dubbed with corruption charges and don’t have credible and strong leadership while the other party is too busy promoting the ideology of ONE MAN ‘Modi’ over the party that it is tough for us to decide also keeping in mind their communal ideology.

Amidst all this, Arvind Kejriwal led AAP seems to be providing a perfect solution of being a revolutionary party with its hard hitting stance on anti-corruption and the party also bears an image of a secular party with young and educated people into the fray. However, even AAP mellowed down themselves when Kejriwal had to resign as the chief minister of Delhi within 49 days after coming to pwer and this clearly did not well among the many supporters but he has once again ricocheted when they fielded some famous and visionary leaders for the general election and also their leader Kejriwal standing against Modi.

So, this time I feel India needs a change though it is tough to predict which party will gain maximum seats to form the government at centre, but the trend should change. We have tried and tested these old guards, time for us is to give a chance to some fresh faces as well.

[Uzair Hasan Rizvi is a student pursuing Masters in Journalism from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. Views expressed are personal]

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