The price of onions should be logically on top of the mind of our political worthies fighting for a seat at the high table in Delhi come the general elections. It is really the economy, stupid, that is worrying people today. Not the big picture of inflation but the more down to earth one of prices of food staples going through the roof.
For the young, a sluggish economy is not producing enough jobs. But to hear our political candidates in the fray so far speak, one would think that the economy was swimming along so well that it did not even merit a mention. We see the ugly slugfest between the political parties based on personalities. We hear accusations of dynastic strangleholds, low down references to a candidate’s humble origins and so on, but not the issues which are really agitating people.
This election has been dominated by the past also. The debate on whether Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel got on with each other is occupying an inordinate amount of mind space among our netas. Does it really matter to people today? Hardly. Then we have a series of historical goof-ups on the part of the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. He would have better served his own cause and that of his party had he outlined an economic blueprint.
The Congress star campaigner Rahul Gandhi too could have come up with an economic roadmap rather than dwell on his family’s sacrifices. Many political parties are planning all sorts of sops to lure the voter. But this will in no way be a catalyst for the economy, rather they could prove a drag on the exchequer.
The political class by harping on about non issues seems in complete disconnect with the voter. Today’s generation wants to know what the candidate will bring to the table for them. All the political parties are aware that they have to target the young demographic. But we are yet to hear a single idea which could enthuse the young person whether in the rural areas or the urban areas. Corruption is indeed a big issue but political parties have to go beyond just promising to wipe out this malaise.
The Congress has come up with several social welfare schemes. The BJP in the states it rules has also come up with similar projects. But both have yet to come up with schemes which can help people stand on their own feet and earn a livelihood without doles from the government of the day.
Instead of tying themselves up in knots recounting historical facts over which they have little grasp, it would be much better for all parties to stick to far more simple things like the price of onions. It might just get them the votes they are looking for.