They just didnít get it, writes Shekhar Gupta


You want to stereotype the Hindu majority, ask the BJP, so deflated after today's result. It thought Congress had answered its prayers by playing that suicidal Muslim reservation card and brought out vicious advertisements reminding Hindus that their jobs were being taken away and given to Muslims by way of an electoral bribe. If any of the Hindus were impressed, they obviously did not come out to vote. Similarly, you want to profile the Dalits purely in terms of empowerment? They should then have been thrilled with Mayawati's memorials and the crassness of the way she exercised power. If they were, would they have broken rank with her and reduced her to 79 seats? You will pay severely for stereotyping the poor as well, by telling all they need is free food and only you can get it to them. You cannot treat an entire mass of poor Indians as beggars. Particularly not when they are so impatient in the course of such a remarkable upsurge of aspiration. You presume rural India is peopled by hapless beggars, you will be made to pay for the folly. It may be the deeply held belief of some South Delhi bleeding hearts that feed off the Congress Party gravy train, and some Rajya Sabhaist free-loaders on it. But ask them to go out and get some votes first. Rural India is not inhabited by tens of crores of beggars.

Finally, five states went to the polls today, and four gave clear verdicts, confirming yet another welcome trend. Our voter is no longer confused. Nor is she a prisoner of narrow-focus prejudices and loyalties. She now reads the big picture: agendas, track records, and what's-in-it-for-me-and- for-my-children's future. That is why verdict after verdict, you get the same message. That our elections are now becoming increasingly meritocratic. That is why it is not so important who wins or loses. Because it isn't just Uttar Pradesh that has changed. India has changed. It will vote for those who understand, respect and embrace this change with humility, not hubris.

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