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My First Election Rally

April 7th, 2009 · 38 Comments

I attended the BJP-Shiv Sena election rally at Shivaji Park on Sunday evening. I was very curious to see how these events turn out. I had grown up nearby, so it was after about 35 years that I was going back to Shivaji Park.

The card said 6 pm. We were there at 6:15 pm, seated in the Special Invitees enclosure. Soon thereafter, the Shiv Sena and BJP songs started playing — and I have to admit they were quite catchy! The actual speeches started shortly after 7 pm. LK Advani and Uddhav Thackeray started their speeches after 8:30 pm, and the event ended with a Bal Thackeray video a little before 10 pm.

Most of the speeches were full of rabble-rousing bluster. It was all about hammering the Opposition — from the Congress and its leaders to the NCP and Sharad Pawar. Advani was the only person who spent some time focusing on a positive agenda of what the BJP government would do if it came to power.

Shivaji Park was full of people. There is a certain atmosphere seeing the crowds. But I left with the feeling that Indian politics needs a sea change if we are to mirror that change in Indian society. The politics of negativism needs to give way, as a friend put it, to the politics of aspiration. And I heard very little of that on Sunday night.

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38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Deepak // Apr 7, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Shouldn’t these leaders spend more time talking about their positive agenda of development, social justice etc.

    Is it so tough to understand this, I thought it was common sense.

  • 2 gujjuman // Apr 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    election 101: how election rallies work??

    It has to be entertaining, muscle flexing and hard hitting. Most of people coming to rallies are converts, they need to be motivated to pull in fence sitters. There are many opportunities to talk about development and social parameters after election. And true leader will do that. Namo is the case.

  • 3 Kenny Chauhan // Apr 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Dear Rajesh Jain,
    How true! You have a beautiful observation from your first experience at a political rally. It is high time that the leadership in India focused on what they can do for their country. This is need of the hour.
    But consider this:
    (1) Why do the people of vote for ‘negative’ candidates?
    (2) Why have the people made them big and powerful leaders?
    (3) Why don’t vote for a positive agenda? For their development? For their wellbeing?
    (4) I am wondering, whether the politicians are to blame or the people of India?
    (5) The saving grace for you was that Advani ji spoke of his Dreams for the people of India. We at least have one right choice in Advani ji.
    (6) Please go through the ‘IT Vision’ document released by Advani ji, a blueprint for taking India forward. I am impressed with the idea of ‘Transforming India 360 degrees.’
    (7) See also the major points in BJP Manifesto.
    BJP certainly has a winner on the positive agenda for governance. But will the people of India deliver?
    You and I, will have to wait till 16 May 2009 to know the answer and the collective wisdom (or the lack of it) of the people of India.
    Best Wishes.

  • 4 sadhana // Apr 8, 2009 at 1:29 am

    For a BJP sympathiser, you are quite honest, rajesh!

    Unfortunately there is no party today that can accomodate aspirational people like you, but notice that the splintering of the national vote bank among regional parties actually creates a vacuum that a new pan Indian leader can take advantage of.

    The average middle Indian (your term) is itching for change, we have to wait and see who can take advantage of it. As of now no one has the moral authority +all India fame to do that, the next two years will tell us better.

    A Long PS:
    Hmm, Advani playing visionary, what have days come to? Next time you are around, please go around his back to see if someone is tugging at his pajama strings. This vision-kision thing looks so ungainly on him. and so unlike him!

    Is it a case of WISC? Or is it that he changed his spots, sorry spectacles recently, that he can see farther than Pakistan. W.A.AH!

    And Kenny, who else can be more negative than LKAdvani, off icial hoodlum of the religious right? Come on yaar, get real!

    Kenny, all the good things you pointed out were negativated by that one reference. And once the BJP comes to power, supposing it does, will you take the initiative in keeping the dogs out?

    As far as I know, the Himalayas are in turmoil, the sadhus and sadhvis who stood onelegged for the last five years are raring to come down and regain lost ground. Who forgets the tamashas of the last BJP regime with its virginal sadhvis and brahmacharies with their hitherto unused hormones running on high?

    The BJP’s tag line will be (India’s) development with (India’s) disgrace, I guess. Oh god forbid that India take that path again and become the laughing stock of the world…again.

  • 5 Tom Paine // Apr 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    sadhana wrote: “For a BJP sympathiser, you are quite honest, rajesh!”

    For a Congress sympathizer, even by the abysmally low standards of your party, you are quite retarded, sadhana!

  • 6 Kenny Chauhan // Apr 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Sadhana, I fully agree with you!

    Like you, I abhor the ‘Sadhu’ gangs and the like minded. I have very strong views on this. That’s my upbringing, my beliefs, my values.

    What I think of these ‘dogs’ (your term)? Please read my views on Saviours Who? on my blog Kenny Online.

    Still I am rooting for Advani and his Vision, yes Sadhana. I know what development means. When BJP was in power under Atal ji, they initiated the building up of infrastructure – the roads. And even my remote place is coming up with an International standard highway. Moreover I am a farmer, living in a remote village which you cannot imagine! The BJP has been taking ‘life saving’ initiatives for our farming industry. That’s the vision I need from my governments.

    As regards our PM, he is one of best person India has produced. We have very close relations with him! Yet I am rooting for Advani.
    His Vision. India needs such projects, at least I do. The present government did not deliver on these points, they had their time.

    Today we are communicating on this medium because way back in 1985, Rajiv Gandhi had a vision of ’21st century India’. This is what I want from my leadership. And I honestly believe, Advani ji has this Vision and ‘the team’ to deliver.

    I am from the ‘generation just gone by’, and not to the ‘present’ and the ‘generation next’. I had based my decisions in the past, just as you do today. But the time has taught me to call spade a spade. The ‘moral brigade’ is a blot on modern Indian existence, yet I need initiatives like that of Advani ji’s. I am voting for him, for myself and my wellbeing.

  • 7 sadhana // Apr 11, 2009 at 5:04 am


    That was a thoughtful reply. Yes, the congress government has stagnated, and i guess Rajesh and many others feel the same way, that they lost or whiled away the opportunity to make hay while the sun shone last on the Indian economy.

    Much of the problem can be attributed to a misreading of the last poll results by the so called intelligentsia and the media and its acceptance by the powers that be. It was a silly analysis and sillier of the Congress to accept that.

    The present Congress govt has failed the nation and irrevocably. That does not automatically imply that the incoming BJP government ? can set it right. And that too under Advani’s leadership….

    What would have been ideal was that the last NDA government under Vajpayee should have succeeded into its next term, they did the nation a real lot of good.

    Like many, I was also disappointed by the 2004 results, the last NDA govt had done enough to merit its continuity, they had made good of the chance that the Indian people had given them. I lost faith in people and their decision making then, the hurt continues.

    The only positive result of the 2004 results is that they sent the lumpen back to the Himalayas or wherever they go to …

    Oh! I see them reappear in this election disguised as Tom Paine. Thomas Paine was a great man, do not mock his memory…

    My problems with an Advani led NDA government are as follows.

    1. He cannot control the khakhi chaddi lumpen.
    2. He is the wrong man for the job.

    As to the lumpen I have already commented and you have agreed.

    As to Advani, i have serious apprehensions as to that he will turn out to be a uncontainable disaster for India. The reasons are as follows.

    1. No actual experience with governance.

    Case in Point, India’s worst Home Minister to date. In fact what Chidambaram is doing now was expected of Advani then, purposeful action was expected of him, long term plans to contain terrorism intelligently were expected of him, at least a brave stance was expected of him and when the crux came, he failed on all three counts.

    Except yakking off about Pakistan and POTA he did nothing effective to contain terrorism. If he had acted well then, we could have nipped this problem in the bud.

    Instead he let the lumpen out hoping that it would cure a systemic problem. Nothing happened and people got tired of hearing about Pakistan and voted him out. Advani should take some classes from Jayalalitha as to how to resolve terrorist issues.

    Ok, I am no great fan of her, but she demonstrated decisiveness and playing within constitutional lines whereever possible in cleaning out the LTTE from Tamil Nadu.

    And she did not turn to the lumpen nor used them. She has many faults but blustery inactivity like Advani’s is not one of them.

    If he could not solve the one problem given to him, I have no confidence that he will be able to resolve the myriad problems that are natural to governance. It is more likely that he will screw it up.

    2. No imagination, he hasnt demonstrated anything by the way of imaginative leadership either to his party or the nation. Any government is only as good as its leader and Advani falls short on many counts, in addition to making us Indians feel like eighteenth century lumpen. With only ambition and nothing else to boot, he is merely the wrong man in the right place.

    Case in point, look at his all crap blog, he had such a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the heart of Middle India, an India upset with the lack of progress, he could have struck an emotional chord with them, all great leaders through history have done that, and look what is happening there, a few unfelt lines written by hacks who think they are writing for OBama or JFK, but do not measure upto it.

    The lines are not stamped with the essence of the man. Imagine Churchill writing such vapid lines while going into world war and you will see.
    Tells me that there is a shell where a personality should be. And that he is a weak minded guy who is taken in by flash rather than substance.

    I am sure this weakenss of character will reflect on governance too. I happen to look at him as a filibuster too full of himself and nothing besides. Which is why electing him would be a disaster for the nation, whatever the plans of the BJP may be.

    In showing cowardice, he does not have a “the buck stops here” attitute that is critical for leaders managing through turbulent times and does not have the imagination that allows him to grasp the opportunities that the times provide.

    Dump him. In essence my handle would be, no Advani, yes BJP and please keep the dogs out.
    4 Tom Paine: Get educated!

    Thomas Paine

    So someone let the Dogs OUT? And Again!

  • 8 Reema // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:02 pm


    Have you considered participating in politics? You should. You’re an inspiration, and people like me would not hesitate a second to give their vote to you.


  • 9 Elections 2009: A Unique Experience — Part 3: Writings : Friends of BJP — Because India Deserves Better // Apr 22, 2009 at 5:33 am

    […] My First Election Rally (Apr 7) […]

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