When the theatre of the absurd had been gaining currency in post-war Europe of the 1950s, obsession with excessive reasoning and logic was being criticized. The empirical understandings of post-colonial Europe and war-happy North America experienced a sudden blow, not in economic terms but in the formation of a thinly united third world ideology. India, a leader of the third world and the subsequent Non-alignment movement, was filled with optimism of a newly liberated nation. Things were difficult but the political class, at large, had a vision that led the nation through the heated up silence of the cold war nuclear politics.
Nearly 70 years after, an Indian citizen superficially aware of political course in the country will be remembered of the idea of the theatre of the absurd. A recently conducted survey by the NSSO has stirred up the old debate of poverty reduction statistics, the parameters and definitions of poverty. Our political parties are so obsessed with number that they are missing out the wood for the tree. There are some political leaders who are circulating frivolous statements which seriously question their ability of representing masses. For example, Raj Babbar, a congress spokesperson, has recently said that rural people can have a tomato or a mango from their own fields or trees whenever they wish, no one asks them to pay for those things. And Prakash Javedkar, a BJP spokesperson has identified the NSSO report as ‘a ploy of Congress against the poor’. The way the important report is being used by the political camps to score electoral brownie points doesn’t make us hopeful as citizens of this glorious nation.
This is not a novel trend as far as Indian politics is concerned. Every time our politicians get hold of a statistics for or against them, unhealthy pandemonium is let loose. It is no exception this time.
The report reveals a sharp decline in the number of Indian people belonging to the below-poverty-line. In the fiscal 2011-12, the number of BPL people in India stands at 21.9% of the population. It was 29.8% in 2009-10 and 37.2% in 2004-05.
The UPA has started circulating the data as a summit of their success stories. With the general elections in 2014 around the corner, the ruling coalition has finally got an oasis in the long arid stretch of their second regime. Corruption, economic downturn, and policy paralysis- everything seems to be a closed chapter and with the NSSO survey report in hand, they are in search of a mandate once again.
If Congress comes, can BJP be far behind? They are leaving no stone unturned to resist the UPA from garnering political sympathy towards the closing period of the ruling coalition’s second term. Theories of ploy, stratagem, tricks, and misuse of governmental power are doing the rounds.
If we closely look at the facts, this battle of words appears to be an utterly futile exercise. The best performing states, according to the survey, are Bihar and Orissa. Regional parties outside both the UPA and the NDA are at the helm of affairs in both these states. The two states- Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat- ruled by BJP reflect opposing scenario. So do two UPA ruled states Manipur and Kerala.
There should have been a conciliatory approach in the political strategies and both the coalitions should have worked together for the betterment of the nation. When will our politicians be matured enough to lead the country?