Skip to main content

BJP's "rural defeat" in Gujarat local polls: Reason lay in people's direct experience of local administration

By Jatin Sheth*
Bihar still represents rural India as urbanization is much less. There, the BJP lost elections. Similarly, in rural Gujarat, BJP lost heavily in district and taluka (block) panchayat. The following could be the reason: The government allocates large budget spending for rural area. Most of the population falls under beneficiary category. So, almost all people have direct interactions with local government and their officers. 
Clearly, people in the rural areas have a better perspective of government and its functioning than their counterpart living in urban areas. They have to suffer insult and injustice everyday. They have to pay hefty bribes for claiming their money government has allocated for them. Take the case of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). 
Most often, those who work under NREGS don't get full wages. Part of it has to be paid towards bribe to get maximum days work. They don't get adequate ration, and quality is also poor. There are several schemes meant for their benefits and therefore they have to regularly interact with the government. They are smart enough to know the corrupt but helpless.
During my work in tribal areas, I have noticed that, everyday, some or the other village leader has to go to taluka office, which is often 50 km or more from the village, almost everyday to make one or the other claim for the people. The real beneficiaries would hardly received 50% of the amount of what they are supposed to get. Political workers manage to get the maximum amount -- often 2 to 3 times what they are genuinely supposed to get.
During my personal visit as a member of a fact-finding team of civil society in a village near Deesa, Banaskantha district, the team observed that the people who had really lost their houses in heavy rains and floods had received petty  amounts of Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000, though papers showed that the sanctioned amount was Rs 25,000. 
These were ordinary people not associated with the ruling party, BJP. However, some of the influential persons associated with the ruling party got cheques of Rs 90,000, and not only that. Three or four members of the same family living together got the same amount. That means that the influential family received lakhs of rupees.
As for urban areas, citizens do not experience any direct interface with the government. Urban people are easily influenced by media and swayed away by lies of politicians. Most urban citizens do not know any of the candidates, when they go for voting. However, in the rural area, citizens know their candidates personally, because they have to take their help to claim their benefits.
The election results suggest that it is a myth to believe that the urban voter is smarter than the rural voter, whom we call illiterate.
---
Convener, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch, Ahmedabad 

Comments

Mahesh said…
This is extremely thought provoking article to me..I just heard NaMo Live in Silicon Valley during his recent visit to USA and was really impressed at his vocabulary and statistics he was showering all over the Audience.Most of us were literally mesmerised..However after reading these facts,from the article (Which only appears to be a tip of the Iceberg), my impressions have started taking a U turn.Slowly but Steadily,I have started digesting that "All that glitters is NOT gold ".

Author deserves appreciation for smartly differentiating between smarter and so called illiterate voters.
Mahesh Shah
San Francisco (USA)

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.