Monday, 5 July, 2010

Bharat Bandh- Only a Performance Appraisal of the Opposition

Sipping my filter coffee, stretching my legs on my bean bag - at 10 AM on a Monday morning – sounds surprising ? Well, its July 5, 2010, a nationwide strike- Bharat Bandh called by the Opposition parties -13 parties like BJP, Shiv Sena, Left front etc to protest against the inflation, price hike, high commodity costs and fuel price hikes. Well, sitting at home - don’t want to risk going out and have a stone pelted at my car for being over-loyal to my work, especially when the office is almost empty.

Back to the topic, if u ask me, Bandh is not an answer to get the prices in control. But the estimation is that the government would budge off in pressure of the opposition, which is 100% unlikely and if that happens that will be a victory of the opposition. UPA Government may reduce some prices next week, as they have been doing pre-elections to fool the short visioned voters, the would not be deemed under the so called opposition pressure. Bandh, to me is a wastage of productivity and loss of precious manhours but well, if my tax money is going to give me what the UPA government is giving, why not sit, relax and enjoy a holiday instead !

Having been born and broughtup on Bengal, I could claim myself as one of the most experienced writer on Bandhs. In Calcutta, almost 1 to 2 days of a month even today are passed off as a holiday due to some strike or the other… those also went upto 10-11 days in a month with slogans of Inqellab Zindabad echoing in the streets, Chakka Jam (Flattened tyres / held tyres) of Buses and Trains and also seeing burning buses and private vehicles was a common sight there. When I see Bandh’s in Mumbai, they seem so docile and low lying comparatively. Well, one should not be inspirational on this front atleast.

Well, back to the Bharat Bandh – from being a unconstitutional means of demonstrating against a cause this is more of a Performance appraisal of the opposition political parties. To give you a background, all parties have National Heads, State Heads, City Heads, Area Heads, Ward Heads and so on…Well, the State Heads of Opposition parties are under the performance pressure to do well and their fate, future role depends on today. Today evening will decide, how long will Nitin Gadkari stay as a BJP President - for 1 year of 4 more years. Today evening will decide who is stronger Shiv Sena or MNS and where the Marathi vote should go.

Now, a better example in a laymans terms. Mr. A is the head of X Opposition part
y in North Mumbai (Goregaon, Malad, Borivli, Virar, etc) and Mr. B is the head of Central-Thane region of the same party. Mr. A and his team in North Mumbai by the day end have ensured that (1) All shops are closed (2) There are no auto rickshaws and taxis on the floor (3) There are 5 trains stopped (4) There are 10 dharnas (Protest sit outs) outside the government offices. Mr. B ensured 1,2,3,4 and (5) also his men are seen in Media channels slapping some train commuters (You can see even on TV one clipping this morning) (6) There is a lathicharge on the activists and (7) 2 of their senior leaders have been arrested in full glare of media. Take a guess, will Mr. A be rated higher or B ? Ofcourse, undoubtedly, Mr. B and he is sure shot the party’s favorite candidate for being nominated as the Party chief for Mumbai or getting an MP ticket. Well, this is nothing but a Performance appraisal, PMS or Rating as you would call in your HR parlances.

To add on, Media plays a critical role. If a certain party has a good networking, they would carry along most of the channel guys for their event or action plan (for eg. Rail roko- stop the train, Fire the Bus etc). What do you think, is media so smart that they will be covering the whole city and would genuinely come across all of these ? Well, so the winner today is the one who is able to showcase more of his/her performance on the TV and Print media. And that’s the “Visibility or Perception” factor which you may find in the organizations where along with performance the same is required to excel. Here, the raters are not just the party bosses but also the junta !

Though none of us bother much, we may cr
iticize or even call them fools, but sorry we are not their audiences, we are the 60% who wishes to be absent of go on a vacation while going to vote – so they care a shit about your and my views ! Their TGA (Target Audience) is the rest 40% - Lower and Lower middle class who would by being impressed or afraid come to vote for. They would also themselves with family step put with the parties. (some may claim they are the worst hit, but who is not?) And that’s the politics of India.

Well, its just 11:30AM and here is the interim report card (guess what will be the status by the evening)

Bandh is so called very successful ! Successful on all the perfo
rmance appraisal and rating parameters like – Most Flights cancelled, Airport stranded. Public transport and private vehicles almost out of roads, shops shut across all states. Thousands activists /protestors arrested. Schools, colleges, markets shut. Offices Empty !!
  • Kolkata and Bengal shut as usual.(Left ruled)
  • Kerala, AP also shut as the opposition strongest (Left and TDP)
  • Delhi – the centre so full focus of the opposition.
  • UP – Lucknow - Lathicharged and Power hoses (water charge)
  • Bihar- Patna badly effected.
  • Mumbai – Major protests, roads empty, no taxis, autos, trains blocked, buses stoned and broken in Worli and Vakola, Private Cars of oversmart people pelted and hit.
  • Pune- 26 buses broken. Shiv Sena, BJP leading the fray across Mumbai and Maharashtra
  • Leaders of Opposition- the big names like Kirit Somaiyya, Sardar Tara Singh, Vinod Tawde (BJP) Abu Azmi (SP), Chandra Babu Naidu (TDP, Hyderabad) (they have become heros and will be released at night- cool, that’s the Law and Order in India )
India is a country with a thin margin between the Government and the Opposition (all put together) and hence the bandh has to be successful and for the opposition , this is possibly the last few chances for their power show (shakti pradarshan) The bandh so far is super successful but is this the answer to reduce the price hikes ? I leave it upon you to answer (if you are a voter, then you have right to question this, else not)

Today, the total Opposition – the rightist, the leftists, are together for the bandh- the question is where were they, when the same could have been taken up in the Lok Sabha by a motion bill by the representatives of the citizen. But, the question is would they have got this visibility ? And if by any chance, the government reduces any prices post the Bandh (if Murli Deora and colleagues have been delivered their respective suitcases) – that will be the icing on their cakes.

Well, let me leave it upon the representatives you and I have chosen, if in case you have also chosen one…. I have plans for some cool beer, a sumptuous lunch, an afternoon nap, and evening movie or some teen-patti / poker at friends’ on a Monday !!! (unlike Calcutta, cant play cricket on the highway)

Picture Courtesy - and Suresh