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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Election Called Cricket!

There is a reason why it is called ‘Test’ cricket. Because it tests you. Not once but twice. Because to succeed here you need to be good. Good twice over. And good over five days, at least mostly. It tests you because you cannot get away easily with chinks in your armour, either technical or mental. Test cricket finds you out. It also negates an inspired spell or a lucky drop. It exposes your skills to the rough and tumble that the opposition flings at you. There is as they say no hiding place in a test match.

The flipside is also true. Tests also give you an opportunity to come back post a tepid spell or a series of unlucky play and miss. It provides you with a chance to comeback post a listless session and create, seize and optimize an opportunity. To overcome temporary setbacks and bounce back strongly. There is as they say no hiding place in a test match.

You can’t get away with rules of limited bouncers as in a LoI. You can’t get away with field restrictions as in a LoI. You can’t breathe easy coz the nemesis of a bowler has finished his quota in a LoI. You can’t win without taking wickets; economy can’t be par for the course like in a LoI. Test call for technique and temperament and the same is needed to be showcased consistently over a long long period with no handicap awarded to you by the rules as in a LoI. There is as they say no hiding place in a test match.

What applies to test matches applies to elections in India. If one were to draw a parallel, as in Cricket so in Election, there exists three predominant formats. T20, ODI and Tests. Local bodies, Assembly and Parliament. Even you and indeed I, if we are reasonably popular in our locality can win an election in the friendly neighbourhood ward. More than Parties and ideologies, the accessibility of the local representative often decides which way we vote in local body elections. Of course this is one reason many parties co-opt people who are popular at the mohalla level. Once the geography spreads to an assembly segment the game changes. Your mohalla level popularity is simply too miniscule to influence a larger spread of landmass and masses. Enter organized Political parties and career politicians. Imagine the scale! An assembly segment might consist of a territory spread over anything between 50-100 wards or maybe more. (Panchayats in rural constituencies). The time, effort and economies of scale are loaded against an individual. The niche marketer stops to matter and the mass marketer takes over. The one with a better distribution spread and a suitable marketing budget edges you out. If you though this is the end, nyet! There is this much larger scale of a Parliamentary Constituency. If an assembly were to comprise of 50+ wards, a parliamentary constituency comprises of 6-7 assembly segments! As the scale increases, the skills required to win also are doubly tested. Not only is it a question of one’s own popularity and the ability to manage the constituency, the uncontrollable factors like the ideology of the party you represent, the popularity of the leadership, its performance and the strength, weakness of the opposition etc., have a bearing beyond the individual. Reason why very few Independents make it to assemblies. Reason why very few regional parties make it to the parliament in numbers enough to form the Union Govt on their own. There is as they say no hiding place in a Test match.

This finally brings us to the essential point behind the above sermon. The recent enthusiasm in the BJP about winning a few constituencies in the Kerala Assembly Elections. For those who came in late, Kerala is possibly the last among large Indian states which has never elected a BJP candidate to the Assembly or for that matter to the Parliament. In states where BJP has been traditionally weak like Tamilnadu or West Bengal, BJP found some traction piggybacking on alliance partners with mainline regional parties, a luxury denied to them in Kerala. The reason for the enthusiasm among the BJP cadres this time around is due to the fact that they have, in company of some ragtag caste based parties performed creditably in the local body elections. Not a Pan Kerala phenomenon but certain pockets where they have surprised many a voter, political opponents, pollsters and indeed themselves with their performance! This has injected booster shots of   adrenaline in the nervous system of the BJP party machinery in the state. However adrenaline can only get you that far and no further. This is not a T20 match! Lotus will not bloom in Kerala this time around too. It will never bloom in Kerala, not until you build a team with players with technique and temperament which can showcase the same consistently, over five days, at least mostly!  There is as they say no hiding place in a Test match.

But Kerala won't dance saala!

PS: How many more electoral losses does O.Rajagopal require to enter the Guinness Book of Records?

Guinness Calling?


Mohalla : Locality/Neighbourhood