IDEOLOGIES ARE DEAD, LONG LIVE INDIVIDUALS
The Morning Standard|January 23, 2022
In a democracy, a government is the product of ideological conflict resolution. But not anymore. In most democracies today, individuals are ideologies themselves and voters often ignore their political outlook.
PRABHU CHAWLA

From Lucknow to Ludhiana, the skylines of poll-bound states are dominated by banners and hoardings of leaders pitching their political wares, most prominent among them being chief ministers eyeballing voters. There is no ideological idiom, only candidate cutouts. If one party is marketing a Dalit, another boasts of its candidate’s nondynastic credentials. During the past decade, every region has produced a new local Indira, Vajpayee or Modi, both as the party’s face and unstoppable force. Outfits that couldn’t manage the magic mask for mandate invariably flop at the hustings. The dominance of non Gandhi personalities such as Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Jagan Mohan Reddy, M K Stalin and Chandrashekar Rao indicates the rise of homegrown leaders who can stall the saffron juggernaut stabled in New Delhi.

Hence, it is no wonder that for the first time, all parties have declared their CM candidates in the upcoming Assembly elections. Even the 135-year-old Congress needs a winnable face at both the state and the national level to ratchet up its score. Until now, the two national parties have been averse to naming their future helmsmen. But now, the BJP has almost declared its nominees in all four states it rules. Where it doesn’t or even expects to grab even double digits, it has aligned with various factions to keep the saffron standard flapping in the winds of change.

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