Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dear Master Strategist...

Many years ago, on 11th September, a bunch of terrorists rammed into a plane into various locations in the USA  - causing a massacre. The links were all found, directly or indirectly to our neighbouring country which is otherwise is a very peaceful country - they celebrate peacefully with bombs going off on practically every corner and where a suicide bomber is a career option nowadays, I hear. But leave that aside, when this happened, I was very happy to see the Pakistan links proved. I thought, great, now the US will force Pakistan to act. But no such thing happened. Pakistan has been acting well, very well indeed - Pakistan is on course to win the best actor award in Oscar for acting as the USAs greatest ally in the war on terror.

The Master strategist must have watched this. Seen this. Imbibed this.

And based on this created a strategy.

India goes in for its 2014 elections in a few months to vote out a government that has done little good in the past 10 years of its ruling. Best articulated by Arun Shourie in this interview of a few days back.

The government is a corrupt one - that is proven beyond doubt. But has also substituted governance for big leaky schemes that at best find their way into the hands of the corrupt. And of course, ably replaced capitalism with crony capitalism while talking socialism. Understandably the public were angry. The master strategist saw this - quite early.

The young were angry too - especially the first time voters. They want to see a new India rise. They are impatient. And their impatience found their hope. That hope was Narendra Modi. He is Indias youth icon - and now the designated Prime Minister candidate in the coming 2014 poll. The master strategist saw this as well.

Aside, the Congress rarely wins elections on its own - atleast not in the last few years. And they have made it a point to tell us (through their media agents) that in India the only viable government is a coalition one. Be that as it may (and fairly true), over the last few years, they very nearly convinced us (through friendly media superjournos) that the only way to rule India was through a corrupt coalition that does nothing other than arranging big leaky schemes for their vote banks and taking India backward in the name of 'inclusive growth'. Gujarat however had a different approach and this approach was a development based approach - where everybody (not just vote banks) gets a fair share of development. If electricity is produced - everybody gets it for 24 hours - not like the harebrained 'one electric bulb in a dalits household' as promised by Rahul Gandhis speechwriter (cardinal rule of India - never blame the dynasty for anything). Gujarat has also been developing at a galloping pace - very nearly throwing out the theory that India cannot progress - that we, the people, were nearly convinced about. And not just Gujarat, neighbouring MP, Chattisgarh all saw the good governance of BJP. The BJP has also added Goa, Rajasthan into its states. The master strategist saw this and saw red.

Our democracy is a first past the post system. Thus, in our first past the post system, the winner is a winner even if he gets just 1% of the votes - as long the runners up gets one vote less than that. The Congress strategy thus far was to ensure that their vote banks are intact - by a strange mix of promises and fear - and by the way most of it still is (see the % Delhi numbers). And the remaining votes come from the goodwill of those who confuse the Congress with the party that was one of the groups at the forefront of the Indian freedom movement. (That party has long since split and become something else - and if that is news to you, please read up.). So, in most states Congress has created a flanking brand - that divides opposition votes. The GPP in Gujarat (almost dead), Praja Rajyam in AP, KJP in Karnataka (now remerged) and then some. This strategy has worked wonders for them. The master strategist saw this. 

The youth that I mentioned before, unfortunately were not falling in the divide and rule bucket. They needed something else. Also, all the muck they threw on Modi failed to stick, so something had to be done. The master strategist created a plan to bring the youth under a platform, a spanking new one.

An entire anti-corruption was launched with the names of some stalwarts known for probity in public life. People like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi among others lent their voice to the agitation. And people known for their simplicity like Baba Ramdev were a part of this agitation. The agitation was of course, anti-corruption and since much of the corruption was from the Congress, it was also, willy-nilly an anti-Congress movement. Interestingly, the BJP was not a big part of this at all - for some reason - considering that their spearhead Chief Ministers are all known for probity in public life. This agition gained momentum and somehow Ramdev was discarded, Anna and Kiran moved away leaving someone by the name of Arvind Kejriwal. The master strategist sat back in his chair and watched the events unfold.

The youth were part of this movement exactly as planned. Their anger had to be channelised. But channelised in a way that they did not vote for BJP. The anti-corruption movement soon became a political party and contested Delhi elections. The party was supposed to eat into the youth votes. Of the above mentioned youth icon. And a two pronged contest, now became a three pronged contest. With the youth votes divided and the blocs intact, the Congress was about to coast away to victory. But this fledgling party surprised itself when it became Delhi's second largest party - the first was the BJP - and completely decimated the Congress. The master strategist was rattled, but never one to lose his cool decided to play along. He spotted an opportunity.

Congress, now did not support the single largest party (for all talks of them being hand in glove with each other). And surprisingly, the second largest party did not support the first largest party - even with a 'clean' candidate like Dr. Harshvardhan. But, incredibly, the Congress offered support to the party that came up on the anti-corruption platform. And, the master strategists plan has come to fruition.

A brand new party that is 'working with the Congress' (and till date has not taken action on any corruption of the previous Congress government). The same party which as a movement had listed proof of corruption on its website, now is asking the BJP to provide proof, while it sits on its own website. This party has decimated Congress and some smaller caste based parties in Delhi but has also eaten into the BJP share (those youth I mentioned above). The master strategist smiled.

If this strategy goes national, guess what that could mean, while the Congress may not form the government at the centre in 2014, the BJP also might not, by virtue of the new party eating into its votes. And it is assiduously working in this direction. AAP is now seeing dreams of cutting into the urban BJP vote. And curiously, the anti-corruption movement has (almost) given way to an anti-Modi movement. The master strategists plan is still in action, so you might see twists and turns in this whole story.

So, like the great war on terrorism which Pakistan is a part of - despite being the epicentre of peaceful terrorism, Congress is also on war against corruption - despite a minimum of 10 years of corruption which its Prime Minister thinks is a figment of our imagination.

The master strategist is indeed a master. But I wish the master strategist, devoted these strategies in the service of the nation. We might have had a better country instead of the last 10 years we frittered away.

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