Towards a Sikh Perspective on the Indian Elections

india_election.jpgThe election results in India seem to be in. The Congress Party has increased its power in the center and even some of the commenters here in The Langar Hall have been jubilant.

While the Indian elections have received brief commentary, here and there in The Langar Hall, the results call out for some analysis towards a Sikh perspective.

Overwhelming have been the shouts of Singh is King as it seems that Manmohan Singh will continue to keep the Prime Minister position, at least if his victory-speech is any indication, until his political overseers the Gandhi family are ready to replace the kursi-warmer with Rahul Gandhi. Others in The Langar Hall have already written critical pieces of this so-called Great Sikh Hype.

News media have rightly commented on the Congress Partys sweeping electoral victories in Delhi on the partys dumping of the mass-murderers Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar (albeit it seems more political maneuvering with one of the positions filled by Sajjan Kumars brother, than any true remorse) and the projection of Manmohan Singh as a way to draw Sikh votes in Delhi away from BJP candidates. As a strategic community, Sikhs in no way should they tether their votes to a single party.

Although either some of the Sikhs were either inarticulate or reporters made mistakes, a clear view is still ambiguous:

Residents said it was the partys efforts that paid off. The Congress went all out to get the Sikh vote. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a rally in West Delhi to ask for Sikh votes, Chiranjeet Singh (45), a resident of Tilak Nagar, said. Our community decided to vote for the Congress because of Indira Gandhi. She did so much for the country, Balak Singh Bedi (80), a resident of Subhash Nagar in West Delhi, another Sikh stronghold, said.[link]

Really?? Why dont I buy that?

In the Punjab, the Lok Sabha elections possibly provide some clues of upcoming trends. With the Shiromani Akali Dals sweeping victory in the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 2007, the SAD seems it will maintain its hold for the next five years, despite some Congress claims. However, there are interesting shifts in the Lok Sabha results. Here is my quick sketch (one would expect result tables such as this would be easier to come by, but I still had to figure this out by myself):

2004 BJP(3) SAD(8) INC(2)

2009 BJP(1)SAD(4)INC(8)

The Congress party made large gains, with the BJP only keeping its seat in Amritsar with the victory of Navjot Sidhu, by a razor thin margin. One wonders at the need for the SAD to continue its alliance with the BJP as the BJP hardly seems to contribute to the SADs strength within Punjab. The SAD kept some of its seats, but lost significant ground. Interesting for me, their candidate in Jalandhar, Hans Raj Hans, yes, that Hans Raj Hans – they actually fielded him – lost against the Congress candidate.

Another dismal trend is the increasing monopolization of power by Parkash Badal. No longer trusting his associates in the SAD, he is more and more relying on his own family members to maintain the levers of power. Possibly he didnt trust men like Sukhdev Libra, formerly a member of the SAD who switched parties to the Congress and kept his seat, after being shunted as a traitor by kaka Badal for abstaining instead of casting his ballot against Manmohan Singh in a vote of confidence last year. Badal successfully fielded his daughter-in-law, kaka Badals wife, Harsimrat Kaur. The trend is hardly limited to the Badal clan alone. Captain Amrinder Singh of the Congress Party saw a split in results with his wife winning in Patiala, but his son losing to Harsimrat Kaur.

There is still much time between 2009 and the 2012 election for the Punjab Legislative Assembly. If the Lok Sabha election is an indication of the political winds, then the cyclical process will continue and hand the SAD a striking loss. Such would be good as it is only in defeat and in disarray that calls against Badal’s hegemony will be sounded. In fact the SAD mimics a “panthic” Party only as the opposition, never when in power.

So one set of elections ends and many are indeed happy with the loss of the fascist BJP party, still those that hope for a top-down approach in Punjab that is suppose to bring change will find little here as in the rest of the country to celebrate.


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61 Responses to “Towards a Sikh Perspective on the Indian Elections”

  1. […] As I stated in a previous post following the Congress Party’s victory in the Center in 2009: There is still much time between 2009 and the 2012 election for the Punjab Legislative Assembly. If the Lok Sabha election is an indication of the political winds, then the cyclical process will continue and hand the SAD a striking loss. Such would be good as it is only in defeat and in disarray that calls against Badals hegemony will be sounded. In fact the SAD mimics a panthic Party only as the opposition, never when in power.[link] […]