Why are parties factoring in Gen. Rawat, 1971, and war wins in the Uttarakhand poll script?

Political gimmicks by the Congress and the BJP fill the Uttarakhand poll scene

Politicians are a funny lot – most of the time. Particularly, when it comes to election campaigns. The amount of lies and deceit that are dumped on the hapless voters whenever an election season is around makes for some serious thinking.

Take for instance the current scenario in Uttarakhand. The ruling BJP and its NDA allies on one side and the Opposition Congress party on the other have been playing games that prompt a dozen smirks from the art of the voter.  

In Uttarakhand, a sizable number of voters belongs to families that have sent their men and women to the armed forces. Serving soldiers, ex- personnel of the armed forces and their families are the votes these parties target whenever a poll is announced.

Campaigns are tailor-made in such a way that there is something for the military families in every act these political beings brandish. A trip down the lanes of Uttarakhand can push you to some serious introspection.

Using martyrdom as a means to mass appeal

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is all geared up to speak at Uttarakhand election rallies on Thursday. And as a run-up to these public meetings, the party has erected huge cut outs of General Bipin Rawat, who had passed away in a chopper crash at Coonoor in Tamil Nadu a few days ago.

Considering that the Uttarakhand voters list has a good number of currently serving soldiers and ex-servicemen, the congress party thought it would be best to have huge larger than life size cut-outs of General Rawat all along the lanes that would witness the Rahul jaunt. Along with General Rawat’s images, the party has also placed Rahul Gandhi’s cut outs too, but of a smaller size.

The message the party tries to convey is its respect, love and care for the personnel serving in the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force. Not just that, with the guardian figure of the late General standing tall under the Congress electoral symbol, the party thinks that the families of defence forces personnel – both serving and former – would queue up in large numbers to vote for the party candidates.

Some of the cut outs also had former PM the late Indira Gandhi’s image also alongside the others. Why Indira Gandhi, you would wonder! The answer is simple. It was during Indira Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister that the Indian armed forces were given the go ahead and crush Pakistan. That was in 1971, and the victory in the battlefield is remembered at the most crucial time yet again – when the election season gets on a roll.

Uttarakhand poll
Sad is the fact that voters fall for such gimmicks and buffoonery

Aiming to win Uttarakhand with a war memorial

Meanwhile, the BJP isn’t far behind in appeasing the military families as elections come calling. On Wednesday, Uttarakhand got to see Defence Minister Rajnath Singh laying the foundation stone of a war memorial in Dehradun. And he did not stop it there.  Singh went ahead and named the memorial after General Rawat. As many as 200 families of martyrs were also felicitated by the Defence Minister on the occasion.

One wonders how political parties remember these memorials and victory days only when elections are near. On other days, the hapless voter is just another man on the street waiting for their turn to come so that they could get a decent pay or a filling meal. Ahead of poll season, they are the most important people on the parties’ list.

Sad is the fact that these voters to fall for such gimmicks and buffoonery. For them, it’s a fair where all freebies and celebration land in big chunks. Once the results are out, it is always back to square one for them.

Elections in Uttarakhand have actually given the parties in the fray a martyr in the form of General Rawat. They are making the most of his demise by putting him up on bill boards and war memorials so that they could win elections. Petty politics, that’s what we need to call it. What do you say?

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