This is a list of issues, which are going to play important role in General election 2009. They spanned over terrorism, recession, personality cult, development and traditional Hindu-Muslim fight. List is in no particular order, so here we go:
- Terrorism: The biggest issue that every election all over the world is plagued with is terrorism. India is one of the worst hit country by terrorism. Over the last 5 years more than 2000 people has lost their lives to this devil and the worse part is that government does not seem to do anything solid for internal security. NDA is pitching high on this issue, with Narendra Modi as their mouthpiece, Congress is surely on back-foot here. Regional parties are not too much concerned with this issue. But it is a big issue in urban India only. Though Delhi constituency election 2009 is quoted as example of BJP not gaining from this issue.
- Inflation: After security of life, Indian are most concerned with the rising price of household things. In a curious note here the women of India are more concerned with this and this issue cut across the states, urban-rural areas and caste, but people tend to blame state government more for inflation as against union government. So, ruling party is respective state is going to loose votes due to rising prices. Which makes it even out in terms of national equation of seats for major parties.
- Jobs: Recession is the worry mainly in the urban India, and certainly a very big issue in metro cities. But this is the only issue where government is not in any place to do better than it had already done. So, any party comes to power, issue is not going to be affected as it is related to global slowdown. UPA is going to face anti-incumbency here, but voters in cities know that it is not real fault of UPA. So effect might die down a bit. UPA is also promoting NREGA as their achievements and real good implementation of scheme in rural India can bring some brownie points for UPA.
- Infrastructure: NDA is still proud of its work with National highways and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and teasing UPA with its not so good work in this area. Last time this issue became a point of overconfidence for NDA in its India Shining campaign. So, naturally they are cautious this time. Modi is projecting his work in field of development in Gujarat, Congress is still to counter it. Water/Housing/Power are also being important issues. UPA is projecting “Bharat Nirman” housing scheme. Nuclear deal is no more an issue, but electricity is.
- Indo-pak relation: With the situation detoriating in Pakistan, pressure on central government is to make its position clear and play a role of super power in the region. This issue is related to terrorism. UPA is projecting its diplomatic handeling of Mumbai attack aftermath as a positive point, but NDA is in no mood to let UPA off the hook on this one.
- Communal harmony: We can not have any election in India without a communal-secular debate. Varun Gandhi episode has put it in fray again. Statement of Lalu, AP congress president are in same category as alleged statement of Varun. Media has an important role to play in this debate. Openly BJP does not want to abide by this issue as doing so might not go well with some allies. But all of us know that as big this issue grows, it is advantage BJP.
- Personality cult: After challenging PM for direct TV debate Advani, Modi and co. is bringing up the issue of leadership. Congress is banking on personality of Gandhi family. Regional parties are the best example of personality cults. Mayawati, Pawar, Amma, Mulayam, BJD, Shiv Sena and many more just one man show. So, no one can deny that it is the most important factor in the election as far as the real voting goes.
- Demand of small states: It is not a national issue, but regions where there is demand for a new state, it is the most polarizing point of contention. Telangana, Vidarbha, Harit Pradsh, Bundelkhand, Purvanchal, Jammu, Gorkhaland, Greater Jharkhand are some to mention. It is a possibility that after election, we see a state reorganization commission.
- Local issues: The decentralization of democracy in India has bring us to a point where loksabha election are not a single entity in itself, but an amalgam of several state elections. People of India are going to vote for immediate issues that bother them. A sign of healthy and vibrant society. And don’t forget the caste based politics here.
- Your voice: There are many more issues by which, I could have completed this list, but I want to leave it to readers of this blog to decide the 10th issue, they feel is going to affect the mood and vote of people. Write in comment section.
- Upcoming issues: Black money, Corruption, 1984 riots
- Lost issues: Nuclear deal, Satyam scam, Naxalism, Gandhi family issues
- Issues that should have been taken: Education, Poverty elimination, Environment