THE first votes for the last election of this millennium have been cast. Opinion polls say the nda will get an absolute majority. Pundits say the bjp will rule for five years. Astrologers say another election will be held in 2001.
What do I say? The bjp will not rule for five years. The next elections will not be held in 2001.
They will be held in 2000!
In the '84 elections, the bjp won two Lok Sabha seats. After that the party started to climb. The pundits praised Advani's rath yatra for that. The pundits were wrong.
In '84, the bjp hadn't a single alliance partner. In the next poll, it made alliance partners. It polled 2 per cent more votes and won 80 extra seats. In the following poll it made more partners. It won over 120 seats. After that, more partners brought over 180 seats. This time it has even more partners. It will win more seats than ever before.
bjp ka dil maange more. But can the bjp system digest more?
After the polls,Vajpayee will not be threatened from outside. He will be wrecked from inside. He won't worry about his allies. He will fight his partymen. Once the seats are won, the rss will discard its mask.
Already, Govindacharya talks about the temple and Article 370. Already, Vajpayee is defensive. Vajpayee differs with the rss. The bjp differs with its allies. The next government's collapse is a foregone conclusion.
But who will take its place? Sonia Gandhi ridicules the 22-member bjp alliance. She can't manage her 5-member alliance.
"Congress will share seats but not power," she said grandly. She spoke too soon. Laloo rubbed the Congress nose in the dust. Jayalalitha sent flowers to add insult to injury. "Congress will accept a coalition," Sonia lamely corrected herself. This poll will start the count for the party's final fade-out.
The Third Front is dead. The Left Front is dying.
The Marxists set out to unite the two fronts with the Congress. They ended up breaking their own front.
The establishment is crumbling. The vacuum is growing. This poll will not herald the birth of a new political culture. It will spell the death of a sick old culture. This poll could be the system's last hurrah. The establishment's last hiccup.
While travelling I vainly scan
The folk at every station,
Looking for that new man
Who will build a new nation!