Failure!! – Whose failure??
JP quitting electoral politics is basically a moment to reflect and ponder for the society to draw lessons rather than engaging in simple reductionist trivializations. First of all, I thank and congratulate JP for trying something he believed in and helping our polity to evaluate some very important aspects like leadership, governance and priorities. Let me first list the contributions from the polity perspective:
1. He instilled confidence that political parties can be driven by an agenda of good governance. Now the mainstream political discourse is focussing more on good Governance and corruption.
2. JP challenged the belief that without huge amounts of money there is no politics. He was successful in that aspect as demonstrated by participation of large volunteers in his party.
3. In the search for political success, JP did not succumb to the temptation of short sighted and divisive tactics like identity politics or one issue agitations.
The extent of success in the above three points can be debated but in my opinion some measure of the success in the above three is clearly visible and is in fact a contribution to the growth and maturity of our political system.
There are reasons, factors and theories widely discussed about the failure (?) of his party. I am not going to go into those as there are many perspectives and almost all are sufficiently covered in the media and social media. The failure is not JPs.. it is in fact the failure of the upper middle class educated voters. Look at 2009 Elections, JP’s party got 1.84 % of the votes. I did not expect the people to vote his party to power.
But based on his agenda and idealism and futuristic vision educated middle class voters who have the luxury to vote on principle as any other party winning or losing the election is not going to impact their lot significantly. But unfortunately, our upper middle class educated voters could not stand up to the same things they preach every day when it mattered. The big chance we missed out was in 2009. Had JP got about 8 to10% votes it would have done wonders to the polity. My contention is.. had JP secured 10% votes, it would have forced other mainstream parties to adapt his policies and methods at least to some extent to grab that pie of 10 % votes. That would have resulted in huge changes.
People say JP is a touch too ahead of the society. I reject that argument totally. JP is not too ahead.. The educated middle class is way below in their intellect and honesty than the level at which they are expected to be and pose themselves as. JP kept faith in the educated middle class and refused to lose that faith. So.. Educated upper middle class.. it is for you to ponder and think… If it is failure.. then whose failure is this ?
What I am admiring in JP is.. after all this he is not bitter or complaining and quietly going about his work in a different path now.