Every manufacturer, the simple business logic goes, constantly tries to come up with goods that are in great public demand. Personal likes and dislikes doesn’t matter much, because at the end of the day, every business is market-driven, and in order to be successful one has to cater to the requirements of the consumers. Nobody sells motorboats in a desert or cars at sea. But this is exactly what Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did when it tried to sell so-called “visions” and “historic initiatives” in Kashmir. You cannot appeal the people here to stick to meaningless adjectives while carefully skipping to talk about their own safety and security, honour and dignity, and their identities which they see as being compromised.
In business, it is actually the needs and orientations of the clients that determine what kind of goods and services must be made available. Similarly, politicians too have to tailor their political messages as per the needs and requirements of their clientele, the people they seek votes from. Unlike business, politics is about the people, their needs, requirements, urges and aspirations. It cannot operate in isolation of the people’s life situations. A successful political organizer will always try and fracture his or her politics with minute details of people’s life, something people can relate to and identify with. Any politician talking just rhetoric, devoid of real and identifiable vocabulary, does so at his/her peril, for he/she is then overlooking the basic nuance of politics – communication. A politician could lack anything, and yet be successful, but if communication is not there, then she/she too is just not there.
With this common sense wisdom laid down, it should not be difficult to understand why PDP got the worst drubbing in recent polls here. Their main undoing was their inability to maintain rapport with the common people, their needs and requirements, urges and aspirations. Instead of breaking down their rhetoric in terms of something that people could have understood and related with, the party remained etched up in emotionalism – talking of the “visions” and “initiatives” despite the fact that people had no reason whatsoever to believe such terms. This is the reason why most of what people were told during the election rallies made no or very little sense for the common people. This is perhaps why people simply turned away saying ‘Ah here is the same old stuff …’ when they were, day-in and day-out, treated to same redundant political speeches that bragged much and meant very little. They are not interested in what they have been told were the “historic initiatives” because they know it for sure that these initiatives haven’t changed much for them, neither in history nor do they hold any promise of changing a thing in future.
Is there a single road in satisfactory traffic-worthy condition PDP could present as ‘achievement’ of its recent rule? Is there a single hospital or health centre that could make it to its achievement chart? Is there a single department they could present as corruption-free, and responsive to public needs? Is there any worthwhile action even in a single case of visible human rights violation (for instance, among the countless civilian killings during recent years) with proven culpability of state apparatus the party could showcase as symbolic of its respect for civilian life and liberties in Kashmir?
When there are so many grave problems and concerns staring right in people’s faces, you don’t need to talk about issues that have no relevance to the people here. As the election results have proven, whatever was said during electioneering was nothing but verbal garbage that that thrown at people here. It was bound to back-fire and it did.