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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?