The polling action is over. And the appolling auction begins. All parties will now cook the fragile egg of democracy by scrambling for power and poaching rival candidates. Like any sporting contest, all parties have a common goal but distinctive styles. And one can get an inkling of what to expect from them by deconstructing their election symbols. Here is a post-modern attempt...
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Thursday, May 14, 2009
HAND - The symbol of the Congress is the Hand. Or more precisely, the palm. Or even more precisely, an open palm. That is waiting to be greased. The five fingers represent the five guiding principles of the party - To keep entrepreneurship under its Thumb. Thus pushing up the consumer price Index after which they can announce sops. To occupy the Middle ground on all issues thereby staying clear of any principles. To Ring up Sonia before making any decision. And to pander to every Little whim of all their coalition partners. The Hand is intended to subliminally indicate that any parliament with too little Congressmen will behave in an underhand manner. Unfortunately, an excess of seats makes them high-handed. The party ran out of partners before the election and thus had no choice but to use its Hand.
LOTUS - There is little need to deconstruct the BJP, because they are pretty good at it themselves (like they demonstrated in Ayodhya). But let's try anyway. The BJP uses the Lotus as a symbol - A desperate plea for power that goes, "Lotus rule. Please Lotus rule." They have been attempting to polarize the majority against the minorities. Simply because there are a LOTofUS. Organizations like the RSS, VHP & Bajrang Dal are the leaves of this Lotus, that seem detached on the surface, but are strongly connected at the root. Like the flower, they thrive in murky ponds but try to come out looking good. These days they are into the Swadeshi trip which is surprising, what with their symbol being a Corolla. They might find it difficult to win, because a lot of people consider them to be a bunch of old Phools.
ELEPHANT - The elephant is the symbol of BSP. The animal is sometimes called pachyderm, which means thick-skinned. It is big, powerful and quite comfortable in jungles. The party is led by Mayawati who is seen to be a hard tuskmaster. She lives up to her symbol. She consumes enormous resources (stored in trunks in her house), remembers every slight, tramples over rivals and generally throws her weight around. The elephant has no natural predators but is quite vulnerable to poaching. Personally, Ivory about our country if the elephant comes to power.
BICYCLE - The SP is symbolized by the bicycle. They hope to affect the balance of power. In this world of cars and planes, the Bicycle is the symbol of those who oppose science & progress in the guise of promoting human labour. The Bicycle usually has only one or two seats. In fact, there's a circus (in UP) where one can see an Elephant riding a Bicycle. Like, the Bicycle, the SP can be bought pretty easily. It is freely available though sometimes expensive. They don't have much hope of coming to power, but they know that. They are just a bunch of pedallers.
HAMMER & SICKLE - The communists are represented by this combination. Both the objects can be used as weapons - a sharp object that can scythe the opposition or a blunt object that can pulverize dissent. Now that Jyothi Basu is too Sickley, Prakash Karat has become the chief Hammer. The symbol is supposed to represent labour & farmers. So the party tries its best to keep the farmers labouring and the labourers, well, labouring. They pretend to be intellectuals (they are well, red) but they rule their state with an iron hand. Poor Bengal. They have a choice between getting hacked and getting nailed.
LANTERN - Symbol of RJD. Useful if one has a shortage of power. Provided it is adequately fuelled. By doing nothing towards progress, the party ensured that every home in Bihar needed their symbol.
ALARM CLOCK - Used by NCP. Ticks along unobtrusively most of the time, but screeches uncontrollably once in five years. A sharp knock on its head should shut it down. Or atleast ensure that they snooze for a while.
RISING SUN - An apt symbol for DMK. Stands for Stalin & Azhagiri, who are the rising suns (of Karunanidhi). In addition Azhagiri is a mafia dawn in Madurai.
TWO LEAVES - The symbol of AIADMK, or more appropriately, of its leader, Jayalalitha. Supposed to indicate that Amma is double the person that other leaders are. After all, Eve needed only one leaf.
WOMAN CARRYING A BUNDLE OF HAY - The Gowda party, JD(S) has this symbol. A symbol of opportunism. The party makes hay while the sun shines and is a great burden on common people.
FLOWERS - The Trinamool Congress is represented by a flower. It flows from one alliance to the next. Hence a flower. Mortal enemy of the Sickle but usually gets the worse of the exchanges.
Well, that covers most of the buyers and sellers of this election. I only wish that the election commission had allowed this candidate to use a picture of Aishwarya Rai as his symbol. That would have been worth deconstructing.
Anyway, now that we have arrived at a basic understanding of our parties, we can closely look at the alliances that will soon be formed. In my opinion the Hand will pick up the Alarm Clock, and ride to power on a Cycle (decorated with Flowers), basking in the warmth of the Rising Sun. But the power will be quite useless because there will be a Sickle & Hammer behind their back at all times. While the Lotus fades, the Lantern is extinguished and the Elephant eats the Leaves. And the Poor Woman continues to carry Hay.
Disclaimer : The above analysis has as much truth as the party manifestos. Nevertheless, it has been published only after polling is completed so that the Election Commission doesn't accuse the author of influencing the election. After all, in our country, the voter has to be shielded from the influence of exit polls, debates & issues. It's called voting in vacuum.