This is written without any grudge, agenda or prejudice. This is something spontaneous.
So, we are all in the throes of a political battle and we all have our STRONG opinions on who should be elected, blah, blue, blee.
As an entrepreneur, having worked for almost 30 years now, (non-stop), I have learnt one deep lesson - that the best answers come when you ask WHY?
Now, let me do the honors: WHY are we rooting for the parties we are rooting for?
Note - I am not interested in the Who and When and Where and What - first let me get done with the WHY.
Why are we voting for who we are voting for?
Because, it is the 'Politics of Desire'.
We all desire things. And when someone promises us what we desire, we like them.
Let me ask you a question:
Do you know why there are temples of MGR in Tamil Nadu? Not so much because he was a film star, but because he banned alcohol in the state while he was CM. That led to massive social rehabilitation and women claimed that "he was their true god" for saving their families from ruin. He was also 'revered' because of the mid-day meal he started.
Now, do you think MGR won votes from women voters because of anti-corruption or taking on Mr. Ambani or figuring out how masjids & temples were destroyed?
NO. He won because the people of Tamil Nadu wanted a better life and he gave it to them.
I call this the Politics of Desire.
- I am an entrepreneur and an opportunist. I really don't care so much about some petty cost to be incurred here or there to do business. I really DESIRE to have a vibrant economy - a rising stock market - a country where VCs and Fortune 500 Companies come pouring in and fund and acquire me!
Honestly, I will vote for the party that delivers my desire!
- Now, I appreciate that there are lots and lots of professionals such as you, who are harassed everyday by corrupt policemen, government officials, bureaucratic babus and their cursed tribe. I assume that your DESIRE is to be freed of such nonsense and therefore you support a party that promises (big question?) zero corruption. I appreciate the reason who you will vote, when you vote!
BUT at the same time, do YOU really care if the price of gas or oil is $8 a barrel or $11? Or better still, is it WORTH your time to find out? Do you even understand what the business of oil exploration is? It's like me trying to figure out your professional and personal life and giving untiring pothas of advise to you on how you can do better - on a subject matter I know nothing about!
Do you care what the Government's complicated policy on Oil and Gas is and how it should be corrected? Rather, aren't you interested in a better career, bigger take-home salaries and the ability to live like a king?! I mean, think of what you DESIRE and where you should be spending your time. Shouldn't it be for a political party that just goes BOOOOOOOM - uplifts the country, get appraisals back to 35% and makes life a PARTY?
(Genuinely put your hand on your heart and ask yourself - what keeps you awake at night? Insecurity about your job/boss/office politics/career/business/studies OR what is the level of Gas reserves in Oil field #8899 in the sector 56EK8 of the Bay of Kanyakumari?!)
- Now, let's consider Mr. Ambani. What do you think he is interested in? Selling off a gaming company like mine to some strategic company for some 'loose change'? Or do you think he is pissed off at a Sales Tax guy asking his 43rd in command executive for some stupid money to get an assessment done?
If I were him, I would DESIRE to have Reliance in the higher levels of the Fortune 500 Listings (His rank has slipped from 99 in 2012 to 107 in 2013). He wants to prove it to himself and the world that his Company can be bigger than anyone else and therefore his desire is to improve his business at any cost. (p.s. - this will come as a shock - I just looked at the ranks - India has 8 companies in the Fortune 500 list in 2013; CHINA has over 80!!)
So, let's take a guess. Who do you think Mr. Ambani hopes to see elected in the Government? Someone who makes HIS DESIRES come true and NOT the guys fighting police cops in Delhi (who are supposedly not doing their duties) or someone else who wants to keep on figuring out how to make water, electricity and (everything that costs money) FREE, to squander away!.
- Now, let's consider some of the best e-commerce entrepreneurs out there! They have done a great job of raising capital, creating momentum and proving that their business will succeed long term (baffled me too). What do you think THEY DESIRE?
I am sure a government that allows FDI in Retail (else Amazon cannot buy anyone directly) and that also allows strategic companies to start taking majority control in their companies - almost like a baton race to carry the business forward! This, so that they can get bigger, better and then exit and move to the next big thing!
Who will they vote for? Obviously the pragmatic, forward-looking, business positive Party that will make THEIR DESIRES come true.
- Now, how can we forget the Indian Bureaucrat? The fellows who like to mess things up; put their nose in everything; create obstacles that help keep them in their jobs and in power and of course ask for all kinds of favors in cash and kind in 'performance fees'. What is their DESIRE?
To stay in power!!! They don't give a damn about investors or about FDI in retail or about stock markets (or about the real costing structures of producing water & electricity)! They want to make sure that there is a 300-page rule book on sales tax so that they can mess your head. They wanna make that book 500 pages fatter!
Who will they vote for? THE MOST CORRUPT PARTY they can find!!
- Let's turn to the Indian village. You may have read a recent and fascinating article in The Mint that revealed something very revealing. A well-known fund manager traveled across the villages of India to find out what the people there wanted; and what was their view of the emerging political scenario.
Well, guess what?
Many of the villages he covered have done exceedingly well in the past decade. They have electricity, water and some stuff that had not existed before. In short, their terrible lives of the past had just got better! When asked what they thought about politics, they were unfazed!
They just wanted status quo because their DESIRE was to keep what they have and preserve the good life!!! They had no clue about the Coal Scam or 7G Scam or the other scams! Their own life was a Scam that just got resolved!
They will obviously vote for the current party who has made them switch on a light bulb in their bathroom after squatting and **** in darkness for 45 years!
I can go on and on, but let me come to the central point:
India is not one India. It is many Indias, all 'living together'. Each section of India and Indians have their own desires and they will vote accordingly. Desires are seldom swapped. They are personal. They are precious. They are what the heart wants - NOT what the brain tells us if we should have or have not.
When we argue and clap and scold the so-called 'commentators' who pass scathing rulings over Political Parties (me included), we assume that THEIR desires ave become OUR desires and our desires have become the COUTRY's desires.
That's stupid and would be the thought process of morons.
Don't be one.
Instead, think WHY should you be voting for who you are voting for - not because some loudmouth on social media with verbal diarrhea is messing with your head!
And respect who the other guy is voting for because…errr… he is not you.
Last but not the least, the What, Where, When and Who
Honestly, it doesn't matter. Who cares if a political party is emulating Kenyan style of Politics or unleashing the skills they have learnt in the Shaolin Temple. What has that got to do with WHY? It's like you starting to decode the menu of a Turkish restaurant and finding faults in the way it cooks its tree leaves even though your DESIRE is to eat a yummy masala dosa!
Why bother about Turkish restaurant ideologies when you need to go to your favorite Udipi restaurant, where your DESIRE will be fulfilled?
In the end, here is my humble message:
Get smart; get focused. Figure out what you want and then try and get the Universe to help you get it. Political parties included or not.
Dedicated to my County that always survives. No matter what.
Alok blogs at http://therodinhoods.com/