Saturday, May 16, 2009

Elections 2009 - the wait is over

So the wait is over and we finally know who is going to occupy the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha. As we hear the politicians say their all-too-familiar statements, there are some points that are clear already.

The Indian electorate has proven beyond doubt that they can't be hoodwinked by silly political rhetoric. You can fool some people some times, but you cant fool all of them all the time. They have voted for a govt. that held office for 5 years, in spite of its various mistakes. What's more, they have given the Congress an even better mandate than last time around, so that the Cong need not worry about keeping a clutch of petty-minded allies happy, just for the sake of ensuring the magic number of 273 intact.

For much the same reason, all the clowns have suffered a bad defeat. Vaiko, Ramadoss and their shouting buddies are nowhere to be seen. Laloo and Paswan's seats put together don't even come to double digits. Mayawati's dreams of riding the elephant to the Prime Minister's office will have to wait. Yesterday, I wrote about Amar Singh's statement about being political virgins. After it was clear that Congress was winning and might not need SP's support to form the government - he was brazen enough to state that SP has always stood by the Congress in difficult times. Pathetic politics. Political virgins or political beggars?

As for the other factor that occupies a large part of our lives these days – the media. I followed the prominent news channels for the day and here are some of my observations.

Times Now – Arnab Goswami kept shouting hoarse as he always does, as if this was the last day that he was ever going to appear on the TV. Maybe his channel is going to sack him tonight - then he could have an alternate profession to endorse cough syrups (he will need few bottles of those tonight.)

CNN-IBN – Only Rajdeep Sardesai can compete with Arnab when it comes to shouting. (In the shouting male anchors' category, that is. The undisputed queen of shouting is of course Barkha Dutt). When he had finished shouting his lines on CNN-IBN, he went over to the sister Hindi channel IBN 7, to shout in Hindi. All throughout, rather than report the results, he was more keen to remind the viewers that the CNN-IBN exit poll was the closest to the actual results. This was a blatant lie - because no exit poll had predicted so many seats to the UPA.

NDTV 24 x 7 – By far the most tolerable, barring Barkha Dutt. She did provide the viewers with moments of entertainment in between. Once for a few seconds, she was wildly gesticulating and contorting every muscle of her face to the camera team, without knowing that she was ON camera! Throughout the day we could hear her whispering something while others spoke. No matter what any Congress leader said (and this was much after Sonia Gandhi had declared that Manmohan Singh would be the PM) she was intent on raking up the same question - will Rahul Gandhi become the PM?

One thing common to all channels. Their computer graphic designers went completely overboard. The graphics were too much for the eyes. What the viewer wants to see is clear numbers, not maps and images flying in and out of the screen. Vikram's fascination with the large touch screen map (he said so much on the camera) was silly and a waste of time.

The few intelligent comments that I heard

Mahesh Rangarajan – The BJP is a far more organized party than the Congress. And the dismal performance of BJP indicates a far bigger internal crisis for BJP than might seem. (Mahesh appeared quite pained when he said this. I wonder if he is a BJP supporter at heart. I used to know him in school days, didn't appear then that he would go the BJP way....)

Shekhar Gupta (NDTV) – Indian voter has moved from the politics of grievance to the politics of hope and aspiration. Well said, Shekhar.

We can all get back to work now.

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