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15 months to ballot battle
By Arun Nehru
As I write this on the last day of the month we start another month and we are 15 months way from General elections and most of this month will go in economic talk (I hope so) and we have a very tough economic situation at hand and I think the Prime Minister and his team have done well and at the risk of being repetitive see the gloom and doom in the global economy and a harsh winter will only result in further turmoil and oil prices can go up in the short term. We have to balance our budget to the extent possible and everyone today is walking on thin ice on financial stability.

Political accidents continue to dominate the domestic agenda as we look for 'magic cures' and after the gang rape and despite the upheaval in the entire social system the tragedy continues on a daily basis as crimes against women continue in every form but we have taken small steps forward as fast track courts start to act and awareness spreads across the system and we can see visible resistance. Small steps and retired Justice JS Verma gives his report and debate and discussion is necessary for sustainable long term steps to be taken and to violate the law in any form will be an error.

Conventional wisdom does not always work in these situations and no laws are written in stone and we have strong opinions on the death penalty and the laws applicable to minors and how can one ignore the gross brutality and the perverse nature of the 'juvenile' who raped the victim and then acted like a wild animal and do we want this man on the streets after three years? The rule book does not apply in these cases and the Aam Aadmi is not going to accept this argument without great upheaval and all the contempt laws will not silence this outrage and no one can go against the power of public opinion. This incident has shaken us to our bones and all this has happened before and we all looked the other way and I do not think this will happen on this occasion.

I am truly shocked as I hear some spirited debates on the subject and I have nothing but the deepest respect for those who work for the juveniles and have devoted their lives to the cause but go into case after case and look at the events with the benefit of hindsight and you can see deep and serious flaws in the entire system of justice and I suppose all of us will carry some guilt for ignoring the reality of life and the shocking realization that all this has happened many times before in the past and we as a society have just ignored this like many other issues and moved on with our lives. We are looking at issues of life and death and all of us are looking for 'miracle solutions' and these do not exist in the real world.

Everyone is now accountable and at this stage some more than others but eventually everyone will have to live within acceptable parameters which we set for everyone else but ignore in our personal lives. The political community along with the officials and the police are soft targets and can be punched on all occasions but the judiciary is also under the scanner as are what we term as compulsive self styled intellectuals who have a view on almost everything in life and express these without any form of social reserve but in the current mood this is no longer acceptable and in the past two month all our lives have changed and I think the Aam Aadmi now is no longer going to accept this and little point in taking names but look at all those who have been humbled and I wonder if any of them will dare to outrage a section of society to achieve their personal goals in the future.

The battle for the future is upon to us and we can expect a great deal of political churning and while our focus is rightly on the internal affairs within the Congress and the BJP we should not try to put the cart before the horse. We have to adopt a step by step approach and the Congress with few conflicts at the top have to work their alliances in the States and look for effective leaders in the field and this is easier said than done but I can see the effort in the field while in the BJP there are conflicts at the top and these will claim their casualties as we come near to elections. The Congress and the BJP in 2009 won 320 seats between them and I do not see them winning in excess of 270 seats in 2014 and alliances will determine the future through one or perhaps two elections.

The political landscape as I see it is going through a change and the turmoil may well be greater in the Regional parties and while we know the situation in Andhra Pradesh or in Karnataka has anyone been following the trends in Bihar and is the JD[U] or the BJP going to sweep the polls together or individually or will we see a revival of the RJD and the LJP and will the Congress make a 'new' alliance in the State. We can dismiss this as old wine in new bottles but the reality is visible in the field as Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas attract large crowds but I think we are due for a shock or two in the State. Watch events in the big States of UP [80 seats], AP [42 seats], TN [40 seats], Bengal [42 Seats] Maharashtra [48 Seats], Bihar [40 Seats], Karnataka [26 Seats] and you are looking at 300 out of 542 seats and can anyone at the moment give a clear indicator of future alliances?

We are looking at simplistic solutions but political mathematics is very different and in my estimate we should adopt a step by step approach in our assessments and not jump

to any hasty conclusions. The one thing I am clear about is the fact that as we review each State we should remember that political honeymoons are of short duration and no trend beyond a year can be taken for granted and considering we have over a year to go for elections in 2014 the field is wide open.
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News Updated at : Friday, February 1, 2013
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