Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Navi Mumbai Civic Polls: Why I feel BJP could have fared well had it gone solo

Every election, small or large says something. It is certainly a celebration time for NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) in general and its strongman in Navi Mumbai Ganesh Naik in particular as it retained its 20 year reign in the Rs. 2,000-crore Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in the recently concluded NMMC civic polls.
Out of 111 seats, the jubilant NCP bagged 52 seats followed by Shiv Sena with 38 seats, Congress got 10 seats while BJP could manage only 6 seats and rest 5 seats went to Independents.

Undoubtedly it's not only a period of melancholy but also the time for deep introspection for BJP for its abysmal poor show in the above election.

No doubt Navi Mumbaihas always been a NCP strong hold more clearly considered as NCP leader of Navi Mumbai, Ganesh Naik's land of monarchy. But it is equally a truth that it had faced a severe drubbing duringLok Sabha pollsand Assembly polls last year. So NMMC civic polls were considered as litmus test for him and his party since it is in power since last three terms.

However for BJP it is certainly a huge set back. The reasons I could conclude for this appalling tallies are:
1.BJP should have fought this election alone: I think BJP could have fared much better had it gone solo for this election instead of a Sena-BJP alliance. It only helped NCP to explore positive prospect of it. Even Manda Mhatre, the BJP MLA fromBelapurconstituency was against this alliance. I think the top leadership should have given heed to her.
2.Spoilt sport played by Sena rebellions: Because of the Mahayukti, many aspiring Sena candidates were denied ticket. At least 41 rebellion Sena candidates contested the election on a front floated as the
Navi MumbaiVikas Agahdi which cost BJP dearly as many of its candidate lost with narrow margins as it decreased its vote counts.

3.NCP and Congressfought this election individually. So it benefited NCP.

4.The Bickering in BJP: It is no secret by now that BJP has always this internal rift problem that always impacts its poll prospects. In the civic polls also the internal sabotage in BJP played its part to lower its tallies.

5. Also NCP fought this election on "development" sloganwhich is actually a BJP's plank. But NCP made it successfully "Performance for Development Vs Promise for Development" line which Sena-BJP could hardly crack.
6. Some of my friends also opine that the hate speech by Sena leaders also affected BJP's prospects. It seems BJP's lose has actually resulted in Sena's gain. 

Even in vote share BJP suffered badly in comparison to last year's LS polls and Assembly polls. Also only 48.35% of the registered voters polled in this election which always gives an edge to ruling party (less than 50% means an edge to the ruling party). In last assembly polls, BJP had scored 1, 00,721 votes while in this election only 39,143 voted for it. So losing out 62,578 votes in just couple of months is surely and should be a matter of major concern.
Though Shiv Sena also lost some of its vote base but still it was successful to double its tally in comparison to last Civic elections. Definitely the lost votes of BJP benefited NCP in retaining its power and Sena to improve its tally. Also the Congress was able to increase slightly its vote share though its tally went down by 3.

At last what I feel is, now it has become an established fact that BJP can fare well only against Congress but it still has a long way to go when it is about fighting with regional parties. I mean in a direct fight with Congress, BJP has definitely an edge but to wrestle with regional parties it has to chalk out its strategy seriously.

Navi Mumbai was never a BJP's forte. So from just one in last civic elections to 6 seats in these recently concluded elections is also not bad. I wish they work for the betterment of the satellite city and win their confidence. But had it gone alone, I think there would have been better numbers with BJP.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Maryam Asif Siddiqui's Gita achievement: Let's not see it through the lens of religion!

It is said that sometimes children show the real path to elders. Maryam Asif Siddiqui might have been a regular 6th Grade student but she's not. Because she is the girl who came as a breath of fresh air amidst the intolerant religious flutters the country is going through and a lesson to many who resolutely believe in religious fanaticism.

Earlier this month on one fine Morning I got surprised to see a Whatsapp message in one of my groups about a 12 year Girl from Mumbai winning a Gita contest organized by ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) last month. Later I found that the news has gone viral appearing on all social media. As I had been occupied with some other obligations, I could not follow the news in electronic or print media

However, at the first glance I appreciated the news basically for three reasons…

Firstly…She is just a 12 year girl, quite young. Being a mother of a child of around the same age I am well aware of the mindset of today's kids. Their world revolves around super smart gadgets and The Interstellar kind of movies. I personally know how difficult it is to make them read books on Indian philosophy of moral values. For e.g. let it be even Panchatantra.

As per my knowledge girls of the same age (at least in Mumbai) have a greater interest in trending fashions and other activities like dance, smart phones and partying. They (especially girls) don't even love mythological cartoon characters that much. So when I found a 12-year old girl winning a Gita contest, I was astounded as I had never expected something like this even in my wildest imagination.

Gita…undoubtedly a difficult scripture even for bold and mature grown-ups. Some may believe it as a religious scripture but I believe it as philosophical one as it teaches purely philosophy of life more clearly…spirituality. Definitely it is quite complicated and above the mind of a 12 year old to understand its teachings. I think the young girl definitely deserves highest accolade for this adventure.

Second…she is a girl. You may paint me as a feminist, but my upbringing says, in most of the Indian families, girls are less encouraged to read scriptures irrespective of the religion they born with. So as she was a…Girl…. won the contest on a scripture among around 5000 students…honestly I was filled with deepest appreciations for her.
Third…I appreciated the efforts of her parents who supported, encouraged and helped her to follow her endeavour as well. Moreover I'm also grateful to them for inculcating such values in her through her upbringing. They become an example for the parents like me.

However, I am quite disappointed with our approach (that also includes all media) to this incident. Some has quoted it as "Truly Secular" while some has presented it as "an example of Communal Harmony". I'm really sorry to say but no child knows the meaning of being secular or communal. In fact they don't even understand the meaning of Religion…that they hear occasionally when grownups talk about.

Why should we look at this achievement through the spectacles of religion at all? Just because she is a Muslim girl who won Gita contest, which is perceived as aHindu scripture? Let me ask…had the girl belong to any other religion (even to Hinduism)…does the achievement would have become less adventurous and noteworthy? Also…if the scripture had been Quran or Bible or anything else and not Gita….then would it had been less astounding?

If so…then I think we really need serious introspection because we are losing out our human values somewhere.
I feel…The significance of this event is that we should encourage our children and young minds to read different scriptures and appreciate the teachings in them. If needed then lets organize contests to motivate them. This will instill human values in much better way. Here I must appreciate the efforts of ISKON as well for organising this contest.

And please for god's sake…don't divide children by building walls of religion as they are pure humans. Ask the girl above…I'm sure she will tell you that the only religion in this world is "Religion of Humanity".