Monday, May 11, 2009

Letter to L K Advani: Voice of your vote bank

Dear Advaniji,

I am a young and independent woman working for a large Media House, in the corporate function. I am 36years old and have been exercising my right to vote since 1996.

To start with let me tell you I have so far always voted for BJP and so you could take this letter as the voice of your own vote bank.

I must give you the background. My family had largely BJP supporters and I grew up being influenced by them. However as I grew up in the 90s I made my own opinions and I believed that I must vote for BJP whenever I get the chance to exercise my right. To be honest, my reasons were more out of seeking an alternate to congress. My dislike for congress was more than my like for any other party. I was an ardent fan of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and influenced by his leadership I was convinced that I voted for the right people.

In 2004 when your party lost, I was heart broken. I remember being so much at unease the day the results were announced. I was depressed that I will never have Bajpayeeji as my PM. Moreover the thought that Sonia Gandhi could be my new PM was very disturbing. I was ashamed to see the congress party and all its veterans begging her to be the PM. I was relieved to see that finally it was Dr. Manmohan Singh who was to be the PM. I had huge respect for the man and I feel that he was unnecessarily made the pawn in this game of which he hardly knew the rules.

However my greater disappointment was with the way BJP handled its defeat. I watched closely whatever happened in these 5 years with you as leader of opposition. Every time BJP was in the news for all the wrong reasons my heart sank. 5 years went past and the elections were announced. I looked forward to casting my vote again but more than that I wanted to see what is it that you as my leader and BJP as my party were going to offer in the coming 5 years for my valuable vote. I was in for a surprise and a huge one.

Advanji, I voted on 7th May and let me tell you for you, but for the 1st time I was ashamed to tell people I voted for BJP. In 1999 and in 2004 I knew so many of my friends, family and the circle in which I move, who voted for you and your party. This year majority of them have voted for Congress.

Respected sir, can you guess why people have moved away from you and why I felt ashamed? There are two primary reasons.

One, people have changed and their thinking has changed from 1996/1999 to now. It is not so much as Hinduism and the mandir about which people are bothered. Those were issues which charged us then, right or wrong they did but not any more. In these 10 years we have seen so much of communalism, riots, terrorist attacks that now we realize it is all politics of parties, of nations etc and nothing to do with religion or common people like us. The sad part is that it’s the common man who suffers in all these issues.

Two, to my mind people largely voted for BJP not so much because of the Hinduism but for being an alternative to Congress. However we do not want a party to do moral policing, to tell us right or wrong or to tell us what our culture is and what it is not. We imbibe these from our family values and that’s a personal domain. We do not want to represent a party whose chief minister has a major role in one of the worst communal riots. We do not want to represent a party whose workers burn, priests and nuns alive and destroy the places of worship. Hindu religion does not teach us to be intolerant of other practices. While all this was happening, you as the leader never really opposed these acts thereby alienating many others. The last straw in the hat was the campaign and remarks of Varun Gandhi and Prem. While BJP may have said politically correct things to media to appease the secular forces, it did not do what was the thing to do, alienate itself from such people.

Earlier anyone voting for BJP was seen as someone wanting to give a new party a chance, someone wanting a change from congress, today its seen as a person supporting communalism. Sir, India is inherently a secular country and alienating the common man from the other on the basis of religion may not always work.

Advanji, people do not want to know if you will build the temple or not if voted to power. They do not want to know what you will do with Afzal or if you will bring POTA back. It really does not affect our tomorrow. We have voted for you for our next 5 years.

We want to know the following:

-How are you going to ensure a better and a more coordinated security system, where the intelligence, state forces and central forces work together so that terrorist attacks do not happen? Whether you have a POTA or not, the judicial system is such that a person caught will be brought to justice if at all after donkey’s years. We want a government who does not allow these security lapses to happen at all.

-Your campaign said, by your effective policies you will ensure that there is job security for the young. We want to know what exactly these policies are. How in times of recession will you ensure that the market will pick again and young people are not rendered homeless and jobless?

-What your policies are about global warming and climate change. These are the things that affect the future generations.

-How are you going to make sure that the in the process of development, the rural poor do not get the short end of the stick.

-How are we going to save our resources or explore alternative means of energy and other resources?

-How can we revamp our education and health system?

-How can we weed out corruption from our lives?

Sir, these may sound to you as ideal list, but believe me people are concerned about these aspects. When we choose our leaders we expect them to show us the way in these critical areas. What happens instead is Varun Gandhi, Gujrat, Karnatka church burning, walk outs from the parliament etc.

I really do not know what will happen on 16th May. In case you come to power I will be happy that Congress is not there. This letter could then be considered by you as the expectations of the people from the new government. In case you do not come to power, you could take it as the feedback for what to pitch for in next election.

I voted for the BJP this time but I saw a lot of your voters shifting gear to the other side. If your party does not really understand what we people want than I am not sure if I can vote for you next time. I have to see which of the two will be the deciding factor for me when I vote next time; my dislike for congress or my shame for being associated with a largely communal party.

I wish I could talk to you or meet you in person someday but till then I wish you good luck, good health and hope that this letter reaches you.


Shubhra Chaturvedi