By now, you all know me. I am Jasoos Narayanan Kutty. It's my habit to give unsolicited advice, especially when I am vela. At such times I watch television and update myself with news that is breaking 12 hours a day, from around 10 am to 10 pm. These days it means Modi breaking news or Rahul breaking news and Kejriwal wanting to break some news, but the media not allowing him. So we have two contenders for 2014, and many pretenders.
When I watch cricket, I watch it as a lover of the game. I want the best team to win. It's the same with politics. I want a good, exciting, nail-biting finish to the Modi-Rahul match. Keeping this in mind, I am giving a few tips to the two, they may or may not act on them.
Tip No. 1
The Lok Sabha elections are a Test match. It tests the players' skills over a long period of time, on a pitch that is degrading all the time. Perseverance, endurance, patience, technique, some play-acting to fool the referee, ground support - all of it matters. If you go into a Test with the mindset of a Twenty20 player, you will be out by the 20th over. Right now Modi and Rahul are playing a Twenty20 match.
Tip No. 2
The Lok Sabha elections are almost six months away, we have 4 Assembly elections in between. I am reminding them, just in case they forgot it.
Tip No. 3
India's population in 2011 was 121 crore. Of them, 76 crore are above 18, they can cast votes. Now the clincher: 37.9 crore or 50 per cent of the voters are 35 or below. That is the vote bank both Modi and Rahul should be vying for.
Tip No. 4
In this segment, 11.7 crore are aged between 30 and 35. They are probably married, have kids and work to earn their living. They have a hundred things to worry about: Like how will they build their first home, most will die without one; which school to send their children if they get admission; what should their children grow up to become; how to give their kids the best of life.
Tip No. 5
26 crore of India's voting population are aged between 18 and 29. They were born after Indira Gandhi's assassination. Rahul can talk hours about the sacrifice made by his grandmother but it won't connect with this segment. They don't know there were not many television sets in India then, that people walked miles to reach the nearest TV to watch the last rites live. They don't know hundreds of women in south India didn't eat for days, mourning Indiramma's death. The Congress believes the anti-Sikh riots that followed are now forgotten. If that's the case, I am sorry the assassination that sparked the riots is also a blur in the memory.
Tip No. 6
Nearly 10 crore of Indian voters are aged 18 and 21. They were born after Babri Masjid was demolished. If there was no Gujarat 2002, the BJP could well have started on a clean slate. Yes, there would have been no Modi-Rahul contest either. By the way, for some people, 2014 would have been a tough choice, but for 2002.
Tip No. 7
37.9 crore voters below the age of 35 are the real beneficiaries or sacrificial lambs, opinion differs on it, of Rao's Reforms. All of them have access to television, and most have relatives who have migrated to cities for a job. All of them know there is something called 24-hour electricity, 24-hour water supply, expressways, shopping malls, etc. They wonder if these benefits will reach them at all.
Tip No. 8
Steve Jobs and Larry Page have together done something India's politicians have strived to keep the citizens away from: information. Recently I re-painted the office, the young man who did it had a touchscreen smartphone worth 8,000 rupees. He had all kinds of information and misinformation on fingertips. And oh yes, he and his friends use facebook, not twitter. All this feku-pappu debate targeted at a few intellectual narcissists is a waste of time and energy.
Tip No. 9
Most of Rahul's speeches televised live are targeted at the rural audience. The media and his party are doing a great disservice to him, especially when English channels cover them live. He stands to lose what little urban fan base he has.
Tip No. 10
Rahul talks about food security but the freebies already exist in many forms in many states. Discourse has to go beyond that, people are no more satisfied with the poori roti or the one full roti he is promising. Coin a better slogan.
Here is another thought.
Every generation has a clash of personalities to debate. Sachin vs Dravid, Kapil vs Gavaskar, Vajpayee vs Advani, Indira vs JP and once upon a time, Sardar vs Nehru. Modi's generation grew up debating that. They are all now above 60, and they add to just 10 crore of the voters. Interestingly, most of them also adore Indira Gandhi for her decisiveness, idolise her as the Iron Lady. One of this 10 crore voters happens to be a former PM from Modi's party who called her Maa Durga. It seems Modi and Rahul are fighting for this vote bank. And we thought these elections were about the youth.