M.R. Subramani
M.R. Subramani

News Editor-cum-Commodities Editor who thinks there is always a lighter side to everything, from business to politics

M R Subramani

A repeat of 1977?

M.R. Subramani | Updated on August 12, 2013 Published on August 12, 2013

Though Emergency has not been imposed in the country now, the situation is as despondent as it was in 1977. That’s why it is possible that the results in the coming Lok Sabha polls could also go that way: the North may give the BJP a big hand.

Though emergency has not been clamped in the country now, the situation is as despondent as it was in 1977. That’s why it is possible that the results in the coming Lok Sabha polls could also go that way: the North may give the BJP a big hand.

In the last few weeks, we have seen a few opinion polls coming up with their reading of the elections to the Lok Sabha early next year. (Or will they get advanced?) Most of them are projecting a hung House, pointing to one or the other factor.

However, the question here is whether the polls are reflecting the true situation? Currently, the situation in the country is something that is better not said. The economy is in a bad shape and the overall mood is one of gloom. The rupee seems to find new levels to plunge; the industry is hesitant to invest as also investors abroad. We seem to be spending more to buy things from abroad rather than selling more to people abroad to earn money. And the last couple of years we find that one or the other scandal seem to be hitting the headlines.

To top it all, jobs seem to have disappeared. When is the last time we faced such a situation? Experts tell us a similar situation arose in 2008 but things were not allowed to turn so bad. There are others who point to 1991 as the one when things looked so down.

Personally, I find the situation something similar to 1977. Maybe, I was a high school kid but I vividly remember the mood in the country. In fact, there was a divide in the mood with the North totally in despair and the South not that much. But this time, looks a major part of the country seems to be looking upward for some heavenly intervention. This is one reason that makes one doubt on the correctness of these opinion polls.

At the same time, if you look at what is happening on the Web, things are totally different. Over 80 per cent of the views are against the Government. There is one big difference in the mood of the country compared with 1977. Then, the country was silenced with Emergency. People in the North were the ones who were badly affected, compared to their fellow citizens in the South. In fact, leaders such as Jaiprakash Narayan were the ones who bore the brunt of the Indira Gandhi Government’s excess. Many in the country are unaware of the magnitude of the problem we faced then.

The 1977 elections could, in a way, be even termed as one that proved that real democracy can never be suppressed. It is one of the reasons why many of those in the opposition those days are yet to forget those dark days. Democracy hasn’t been suppressed like it was in 1977. One reason could be that we are in a wired world where even intentions get communicated to any part of the globe in no time. All said and done, there is despair, bitterness and a sense of defeat all-around.

This then could itself get converted into votes against the Government when we head for the polls early next year. One is also reminded of political pundits projections of elections in Tamil Nadu in 1996, when they said despite all its drawbacks, the AIADMK would be voted back to power. But to those who had visited hinterland and experienced the people’s anguish had really wondered how may seats Jayalalithaa could win. Their fears turned true as she herself lost in one of the worst drubbings for her part that got a meagre four seats! Are we heading for such a situation with respect to Lok Sabha polls now, you could ask.

Not necessarily but the point here is that no one seems to be taking note of the anguish and despondency among people. This, in turn, could lead to something what these opinion polls may have failed to register. It is likely that we may witness a 1997-like verdict. You may ask what I mean by this.

Well, then the North and South voted differently. Therefore, don’t be surprised if that happens this time too. In the South, Karnataka could go lock, stock and barrel to Congress, thanks to the harm the BJP has done to itself. This happened in 1977 too with Devaraj Urs lending a big hand for the grand old party.

Kerala could probably see the Left and Congress fight it out but Tamil Nadu could see the Dravidian parties continue ruling the roost. Andhra Pradesh could be a mixed bag and it is too early to gauge the mood after the Congress declared its intention to create Telangana. It is here the North will prove crucial for the Congress.

Uttar Pradesh may seem a State where caste factors work. But 2014 could see all that buried under just one factor, anti-incumbency vote for person who people think could help them out of the current mess.

Bihar, too, could see that as also other States such as Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat.

A friend in the North said that even Samajwadi workers were talking of voting en masse for the BJP if Narendra Modi were to lead the party at the hustings.

If in fact, the BJP does that, expect a 1977. North India, on its own, can hand the BJP a majority to rule the country. Or, at the least the numbers to call the shots. We should get answers whether such a reading is right in the next few months.

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Published on August 12, 2013
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