With the nation getting fed up of the perennial — perhaps mutual — exchange of jibes and accusations between the Congress and the BJP, don’t you think it’s high time that somebody showed these two prima donna entities a mirror, reflecting their true worth in the overall political space in India?
The picture that emerges in the mirror makes it clear that both these parties, which think too big of themselves, are living in a fools’ paradise. Even if they were to join hands at the current juncture, they wouldn't even occupy half the space in the country! Like it or not, that is a fact.
Let’s examine their strength in the Rajya Sabha first. The Congress continues to be the largest single party with 64 members. The strength of the BJP stands at 49 currently. If you add the numbers of the two top national parties, they would account for less than half of the total strength of this House of 245. It’s the “others” who are in majority.
And this picture wouldn't alter even after the ongoing biennial elections in the states. In fact, the strength of the “others” would go up from 128 to 129 regardless of the fact that the BJP too would register a gain of six seats – raising its strength from 49 to 55. And as for the Congress, it would go down from 64 to 57. What is startling in all this is that the Congress and the BJP would jointly go down by one seat – in sharp contrast to the “others” who would, in fact, gain in number.
Those who refuse to view things from this angle might argue that things are vastly different in the Lok Sabha, which truly represents India. No, it doesn't in spite of the fact that the BJP, with its 282 members, enjoys absolute majority in this august House.
Dig a little deeper beneath the surface and you would find that the ruling party had swept to power by bagging just 31.34 percent of the total valid votes polled at the height of the Modi wave in 2014.
And if you consider their vote share in relation to the total number of voters – not just those who preferred to exercise their franchise – the figure drastically comes down to 20.58 percent. Yes, that is a fact. The BJP now lords over India by getting support of just one fifth of the total voters.
The performance of the Congress was even worse. This grand-old party of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty could manage to bag only 19.52 percent of the total valid votes polled in during the Modi wave. Their vote share, in relation to the overall number of voters in country, had shrunk to 12.82 percent.
Can you believe that the Congress doesn't enjoy the support of even one eighth of the Indian voters? And together, the BJP and the Congress haven’t been been getting the support of even one third of India’s population on the whole!
But the perception that these two parties are 'be-all' and 'end-all' of politics in India persists, thanks to the heat and dust generated by their mutual, never-ending attacks and counter attacks.
Obviously, both the parties have, over the years, developed expertise in keeping camera arc-lights focused on them, through an endless series of allegations and counter-allegations. And they have succeeded massively.
The nation listens to their otherwise explosive statements attentively. Don’t you remember some of these catch-phrases that were used by Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi to settle scores – maut ka saudagar (merchant of death), zahar ki kheti (sowing seeds of poison), khooni panja and zalim haath (bloody claws and cruel hand)?
Let’s play back some of their more recent jibes at each other:
- At a party rally in the Capital on 6 May, Sonia said: “Do not frighten us. Life has taught me to fight on. They are murdering democracy. The achche din of the BJP are over.”
- In retaliation, Modi raked up the issue of the “Italian Connection” to target Sonia over the AgustaWestland deal, in the election rallies in Kerala and Tamil Nadu three days later.
- Targeting the Modi government for its rather loud celebrations on the completion of two years in office, Sonia said: “Modi ji acts more like a Shahenshah than a democratically elected Prime Minister”.
- Hitting back, Union agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh, thundered: “The daughter-in-law of a big family is not a Maharani.”
The ranting and raving of the two players apart, the fact regarding their worth remains unchanged: two-third of Indian voters don’t like them! They either stay away from the polling booths or vote against them actively. They are weak collectively and even weaker separately.
Chances are that they would never shake hands, not even when the nation calls for a unity between forces espousing the cause of Congress-mukt Bharat and Sangh-mukt Bharat. But just visualise for a minute: What happens if all the non-Congress, non-BJP people unite in this country? Maybe it’s unthinkable.