by- Anand Mazgaonkar
Most places in the world have seasons such as spring, summer, winter. Supposed
democracies have an additional one, the season of elections. And pretty strange things
can happen. That elections also mean season of promises in not unusual. But, lo and
behold, sometimes season of elections can also mean APOLOGY.
That’s the spectacle citizens of India (that is also a democracy, remember?) were treated
to at 9 am one winter morning. It is a no-brainer to expect an astute politician to be shaken
up enough to see a small bye-election defeat as a film trailer and issue a televised
apology. (Do people who live by the television also die by it?).
Analysts who quibble over the ‘grudging’, ‘half hearted’ apology know that a nice electoral
spanking might teach even blockheads who have only been taught binaries such as white-
black, good-bad, country-enemies, India-Pakistan the nuances of apology; that there are
various shades to it, that it might have something to do with genuine feeling, honesty,
truthfulness etc. That it might even have shapes like ‘graceful’, ‘unreserved’,
Gosh, what the fear of electoral defeat does in democracies! It is not only about apologies.
It can bring down petrol-diesel prices. It brings an ‘infallible’, repeat election winner to do
volte face, eat crow, consume humble pie….. Licking back what you spat (literal translation
of vernacular descriptions) is too brutal and embarassing to dwell on here. The agony
does not end there. Farm laws have to be rolled back. One has to pretend to desert your
corporate masters. (There’s a small problem here. Farmers who have braved hot
summers, heavy monsoon and punishing winter are likely to discover that the distancing
from corporate controllers is only charade)
Rolling back, back-tracking is fine bacause the consequences of electoral defeat are too
disastrous and mind-numbing (unless you’re the Congress). But, a thought should have
been spared for all the dumb loyalists. Imagine the plight of all the bhakts, sycophants,
spokespersons, TV anchors, loudmouths, sponsored experts who were falling over each
other enumerating the virtues of the farm laws. They all have to take deep breaths,
reorient their brains, recalibrate their arguments, modulate their voice and tone, keep a
straight face to pretend that withdrawal of farm laws was something they always genuinely
stood for and would have died for. Even monkeys jump less from tree to tree either for
food or play (an absolutely humble and genuine apology to our ancestors for referring to
them in the same breath as an abject media. They’re really not known to do anything as
dishonourable as humans)
The PM seems to be in the process of appointing some committee. The only thing a
committee / commission need be appointed for is to assess and quantify the lost
opportunities for M/s. Adani and Ambani. Can BSNL and a few public sector banks be
adequate compensation for Mukeshbhai. And, may be, some 20 airports for Gautambhai.
Narendrabhai must ensure that the two A’s don’t step on each other’s toes, otherwise he’ll
have a problem bigger than farmers at Singhu, Tikri, Gazipur and other places. Police and
army can deal with farmers at the gates of Delhi. Having to deal with the As would be quite
another ball game.
Losing an election in itself is not unheard of. Many of his friends -people he endorsed-
have. M/s. Trump, Netanyahu et al.
The problem is:
any new dispensation might start the process of reversing and unravelling – a
complete breach of faith with the masters pulling his strings
a monolithic party such as his with one face, one mask, one icon in the stranglehold
of two individuals might suddenly start jostling for intra-party democracy and might
discover the virtues of collective leadership, transparency, accountability etc.
suddenly having to increase the air, train and bus frequency to Nagpur for
consultations may be too complicated then, all the ambitious, aspiring CMs, HM and other Ms might do a Brutus to him and might start loving the P more than the C, H or whatever.
There would, of course, be other collateral damage such as corporates secretly or
otherwise buying electoral bonds for other parties. The field levelling out between three-
four players would be the ultimate tragedy.
In any case, as a self-defence measure, all the courtiers, back-scratchers, grovellers such
as Sudhir Choudhary, Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar et al might be well advised to join a
group like Power Anonymous (a la Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous).