The other day, I came into work and my boss, who has this endearing and sometimes (to other people, cos I love it) habit of randomly starting conversations as she walks in by addressing a general question to the floor, asked us: ‘Could you be friends with someone who supported the BJP?’

Both she and another senior colleague proceeded to discuss how they couldn’t imagine it, and the very support of the BJP made them both shrink in horror from someone, simply because of the communal import of the BJP. But when I thought about it, I realized that there are so many people who think the BJP stands for other things, or that the other things it stands for outweigh the drama of the militant Hindu politics it also espouses. I know many people who believe the Modi style of governance means better and faster development for the country, and the nastiness of his religious politics is balanced by the genuine improvement in quality of life that he brings.

With the US elections on and twitter exhorting Indians to worry about Modi, I began to think about it. Normally hilarious Sidin had this up on the subject of voting in the next elections and man it really hit home. What can I do? Yes I want to participate in the democracy. Yes, I have loudly told people, if you didn’t vote then you gave up your right to comment on the government. But I think, as the day creeps closer, that I might just have to face the fact that my only choice will be to withdraw from participation. Because what can I do?

I remember, in 2004, I voted independent, because I refused to vote for the BJP or for Sonia Gandhi. Thrilled by Manmohan’s appointment, I vociferously argued with BJP supporters in the 2009 elections, and happily voted Congress, while entertaining all the people who stood in line with Amma and me for an hour. And when UPA2 came back better than ever, I thought YES!!! SHOW THEM!!! This country is not about privileged urban residents who the newschannels tap. It’s not about rich businessmen who don’t pay taxes. The country votes right. When they’re pissed off, they kick the government out, and when they are happy, the keep them around. Because the Congress did help the majority of India, voiceless, faceless, power, health and sanitationless rural India. And now they were back stronger than ever, and they wouldn’t need to kowtow to ridiculous coalition demands.

And then they gave Mamata Banerjee the Railways.
And then they proceeded to freeze themselves into a ridiculous farcical tableau of ineffectiveness, for no fathomable reason. Whenever they reacted, it was too late. Scam after scam has surfaced, and they seem to stand there and whimper. And let us not speak of the abomination that is Anna Hazare. This does not mean that other governments have not been corrupt–I think it is a tragic reality of Indian politics (that might owe its origins to several thing and someday I might write a thesis about that) that all governments are and will be corrupt. And the so-called aam admi, who bribes to get out of challans and uses black money and evades taxes cannot stand in judgement of this. It is horrible and sad and it should change, but until it does can we please try and continue to function?

Of course the Opposition has hardly been stellar. The BJP has it’s strengths; possibly even ideas that can dramatically alter the nation, but as long as our Parliamentary system operates on a I-lost-so-I-will-shout-and-sulk-and-throw-tantrums-so-you-will-fail policy, we’re screwed. This will happen regardless of who is in power, and therefore nothing will ever happen.

I am reaching a level of disgust with our democracy that amazes me, since I have always been such a supporter of it. And I genuinely don’t know what I will do come next year when I have to vote.