Déjà vu! Are the 2014 elections in India a replica of the 2013 elections in Pakistan?

Published: April 3, 2014
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All in all, as per recent developments, India’s Congress seems to be Pakistan’s PPP; BJP as Pakistan’s PML-N and AAP like the PTI.

In India, the election fever is in full swing these days. All the major political parties are busy, day and night, with their election campaigns. Amid all this rush, we see a blame game being played – something which is very common in any country’s politics.

As they say, it is easy to point out others’ mistakes than finding your own faults. And these political parties seem to follow this idea vehemently.

Almost a year ago, the same situation was present here, in Pakistan, during the 2013 general election proceedings. We had the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as the major political parties contesting the elections.

In India, the parties contesting the 2014 general elections are the Indian National Congress (INC), the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the newly emerged Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

So what are the similarities between the political scenarios of the two countries?

My observations, as a layperson, are as follows:

Congress versus PPP

The INC, like the PPP, is about to complete its five years of power. As PPP was generally viewed as a failed government that did not work for the betterment of the masses, same is the case with the INC; a considerable segment of the public was disappointed with their performance and now want to have a better party take control.

AAP versus PTI

Similar to PTI, AAP has emerged as a party that aims to bring ‘change’ in the country’s system by eradicating corruption. PTI is not as new as the AAP but, in the last elections, it was the first time that the PTI gained so much popularity. AAP became very popular over social media in the same way PTI did here.

However, just as PTI failed to win a considerable number of seats in the general elections, in my opinion, AAP is heading for the same fate. It is anticipated that AAP will not be able to secure more than a minute number of seats in the Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament) – contrary to Mr Arvind Kejriwal’s claim of winning some 100 seats.

Another similarity is that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was accused of being a Zionist agent while AAP’s Arwind Kejriwal is called an ISI agent by his opponents. Both have been linked with apparent enemies of their respective countries.

BJP versus PML-N

BJP, currently the strongest contender of the INC, is predicted to be the major winning party which will rule the country after the upcoming elections. This aspect is similar to that of the PML-N in Pakistan; the biggest rival of PPP. The PML-N too was anticipated to be the next winning political party, before the 2013 elections took place in Pakistan.

The BJP accuses AAP of having links with INC, similar to PML-N accusing PTI, during the election campaign, of being the new face of PPP.

All in all, as per recent developments, India’s INC seems to be Pakistan’s PPP; BJP as Pakistan’s PML-N and AAP like PTI. There are definite differences present but in a larger context, the above mentioned similarities in both political scenarios can be noticed without doubt.

Let’s see how things progress in India as it moves towards the upcoming elections, which have been declared by the international media to be the largest elections in the world – a consequential election which will be a game-changer for India.

In due time, as things proceed, we might find even more similarities between the abovementioned parties, but only time will tell. For now, I wish the Indian masses the very best of luck!

Kiran Wali

Kiran Wali

A business graduate working in the corporate sector. She tweets @KiranW_ (twitter.com/KiranW_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    Comparing Kejriwal to a closet Taliban is a grave injusticeRecommend

  • Lalit

    There are certainly a few similarities between both scenarios,however the equation in India is not as simple as it is in Pakistan.Electoral fight was clearly triangular in Pakistan with each Party dominating in a Province each.India is a mosaic containing scores of parties with a straight fight between BJP and Congress in some States like Rajasthan,MP,Gujarat,Uttarakhand,HP etc where Congress seems to be facing a worst ever outcome.while in certain states like Bihar,West Bengal,Odisha,UP,Tamilnadu etc regional parties are expected to gatecrash and spoil the party.there is a plethora of regional parties who keep a tab on permutations and combinations and switch sides according to the self and regional interests.its going to be a high adrenaline event,not less exciting than T20 world cup.so sit tight and brace yourself for a roller-coaster ride of Indian elections.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Closet Taliban? Sorry so openly Taliban that they wanted o nominate him as their representative.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    These are superficial comparisons. The 3 largest parties in the 16th Lok Sabha are not likely to get even 50 per cent of the votes polled, while in Pakistan they get over 2/3rd the votes. Our national parties do not have a secure base from which they are guaranteed a large number of seats like the PPP has from Sindh or PML-N from Punjab regardless of performance or controversy. Governments that cannot perform are booted out of office once their honeymoon is over – whether it is Tamil Nadu, Kashmir, Rajasthan or UP; soon this will be the case with the UPA-2. Those who can deliver usually get another chance as was the case with UPA-1.
    Arvind Kejriwal is a media-hungry left-leaning upstart , and not some well-groomed fundamentalist (although there is to some extent a parallel in the messianic zeal and intolerance exhibited by their supporters in the online world). In his own convoluted way, AK thinks that he can make a difference (and possibly can), but he needs to be prepared to get off the streets and out of the camera for a while. However, the entry of this motley group of social activists has increased the levels of probity and the expectation of clean politics from urban voters, and has thus already had a strong positive impact on Indian politics, while with the PTI, nothing has changed – they are a party of party-hoppers.
    Left and Right of the political spectrum are meaningless words in Pakistan while in India you have a genuine left (CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc), Left-of-center entitlement and government funded social program-based politics (Congress), Socially backward entitlement politics (Bahujan Samaj Party, RPI, PMK etc), regionalism-based partes (DMK, MDMK, Shiv Sena, MNS) caste-based parties (several – includes RLD, LJP, INLD, Apna Dal etc) right-of-center nationalist/ majoritarian politics coupled with private investment-driven development programs (BJP) and finally parties with a strong organized religious support base (Akali Dal/ Kerala Congress/ Indian Union Muslim League, All India Majlis-e-Ittihad al-Muslimin). Pls do not try and reduce our diverse and colorful political landscape into a couple of alphabets.Recommend

  • Malti Chaturvedi

    congress might be corrupt ….. however comparing it with ppp is lame…… people forget congress gave india the growth no party has ever given…also massive increase in rural wages is attributed to congress…… no indian leader can be compared to a pakistani leaderRecommend

  • http://itsfoss.com/ Abhishek Prakash

    Not entirely! IK started this muzakrat stuff with TTP, AK will start the same with Naxals.Recommend

  • Dakshin

    Indian democracy is much further along, much more evolved than that of Pakistan’s. Your history of military intervention is partly what has kept you behind. That plus the much greater role of feudal families in positions of power. Religion (or its interpretation) has completely permeated into governance like an unchecked invasive and toxic weed. The rights of religious minorities are being trampled systematically. Pakistani democracy is on an altogether different trajectory and unfortunately not a hopeful one.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ishtiaq

    Ahem, closet?!Recommend

  • Ali

    Why always the itch to compare anything in India with everything in Pakistan. Is it because of an inferiority complex somewhere deep inside and there is a sense of conformism or a sense of elevation, when Paksitan compares itself to India.
    Stop this nonsense and get out of this syndrome.Recommend

  • abhi

    You are right to some extent, specially about Kejriwal and Imran Khan, both have soft heart for terrorists.Recommend

  • Asamanya Vyakti

    But the indians were not favoring PTI ,unlike here where pakistans best bet is a party(Read aap) which is winning 0-5 seats out of 543 in indian parliament :PRecommend

  • Parvez

    When I read the title I said, how is she going to do this ? ……..and by keeping it simple you did just fine…….made me laugh as well.Recommend

  • Sam

    Au contraire, AAP has been attracting the west educated, Taliban sympathizers just as PTI does. An Islamic website recently had a long article explaining how AK is Hindu only in name but is Islamic in every other way.Recommend

  • Rahul

    Nawaz Sharif has twice before failed as Prime Minister, while Modi is unproven. Nawaz Sharif has a big family to enrich while Modi has no family.Recommend

  • Mk

    However unlike in Pakistan, the ruling party is out on streets campaigning.Recommend

  • IHateDisqus

    When I read the title it made no sense at all, but you have succeeded in making some analogies.

    However one soon realizes that the similarities are only superficial. For instance in the case of Sharif & Modi, while Modi is CM same as Shahbaz, the crucial difference is that BJP is not run by a single family. Therefore Modi got to where he is by merit. In the case of Congress vs PPP, your assessment is simplistic in that Congress did do work, but it was not what most people wanted and also the PM allowed too many scams. On the other hand, I felt PPP did absolutely nothing during its term. In the case of PTI, Imran is articulate and logical and sounds moderate compared to some of the AAP leaders.Recommend

  • Tanzeel Ahmad

    A pro Taleban political party cannot be compared with AAP. I don’t think AAP consist feudals and turncoats like Shah Mehmood, Kusoori etc. If you really want to compare AAP with any party in Pakistan it should be MQM which sends common people to parliament.Recommend

  • Ali

    kejriwal andimran khan poles apart!
    kejriwal’s is a people’s man. imran khan has no respect for innocent people’s lives! he is the greatest apologist of terrorists the world has ever seen!Recommend

  • Sunny

    But i dnt think AAP plays with guns as MQM doesRecommend

  • paki

    Modi will win just like Nawaz did, but that doesnt make them comparable.Recommend

  • Lalit

    one more striking commonality is the character of incumbent PM.where Gillani and Ashraf were propped by Zardari,MMS looks at Sonia ji for approval.Recommend

  • Lalit

    one more striking commonality is the character of incumbent PM.where Gillani and Ashraf were propped by Zardari,MMS looks at Sonia ji for approval.Recommend

  • AK

    You are right, we need to hide our obsession with everything that is India. We hate everything about it, but we cannot help compare our own things to it. But we should not display all of this openly.
    Why can’t we write articles comparing ourselves with the middle eastern countries? It does not have to be S Arabia or Egypt. It can be Dubai, Quatar and Turkey …Recommend

  • AK

    You are right, we need to hide our obsession with everything that is India. We hate everything about it, but we cannot help compare our own things to it. But we should not display all of this openly.
    Why can’t we write articles comparing ourselves with the middle eastern countries? It does not have to be S Arabia or Egypt. It can be Dubai, Quatar and Turkey …Recommend

  • MK

    and Kuwait maybeRecommend

  • Kiran

    Thanks to all for the feedbacks (as I take it) but with due respect, I would like to say that most comments are just prompt reactions to the title only, which in fact is not my suggestion for the piece (edited by the Blogdesk during the review). In any case, only if you go through the whole article, would the reader understand that the purpose is not in any way to offend either country’s political system. It just points out the coincidently similar aspects that any layperson can see. And it also mentions that there are differences as well. Not completely identical definitely but the slight similarities (even the minute ones) are actually interesting.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    We dont need to compare ourselves with anyone, just try and better ourselves! And please dont say we hate India, you may, but most Pakistanis dont.Recommend

  • Naila

    Took it right out of my mouth!Recommend

  • Kiran

    I agree when you say that the similarities highlighted are only superficial. But if you read the article you would understand that the purpose was to just present the coincidentally identical aspects from both country’s politics. It can never be completely similar. It is not a comparison or analysis of both sides at all. Otherwise, I would have definitely taken into account the impact of all parties/groups that you have mentioned from India. Also the role of other parties in Pakistan like ANP, MQM, JUI, JI, QWP etc. would also have been taken into account because their role also is important in Pakistan’s politics. It is not as simple as it may seem to beRecommend

  • BlackJack

    Appreciate your genuine effort, and I don’t think the comparisons that you have made are forced. However, it is a foregone conclusion that the next GoI with require participation/ support from parties that have a strong regional presence in some part of the country – but even these do not have a secure vote base like the MQM and ANP. Thus relative weakness of national parties in India and robust multi-cornered contests in large states like UP, AP, TN and Bihar makes the outcome much more unpredictable than Pak elections where most provinces have a single dominant force, and trend lines can be plotted with greater certainty.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Kamranhayder1 Kamran Hayder

    @Kiran Wali, you compared PML N with BJP in terms of anticipaated results of elections. But can we compare Modi’s election compaign with that of Nawaz Sharif? Sharif never abused India or Raw in his compaign. He talked about peace in region, trade with India. Modi on the other side is comtinuously bashing Pakistan and blame Kejriwal as ISI agent. Nawaz never said Imran Khan an agent of Raw. A big difference in ideology of two parties and election compaign. Nothing similar but anticipated election’s results, i think..Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The man who refuses to give the status of a wife to the woman with whom he was married tis very likely to become the next Prime Minister and Bharatya will be reborn. A grave day for Indian women.Recommend

  • Umar Farooq

    Pakistance leaders not abused india for getting votes. nawaz sharif motto was we will have friendly relations with india. But indain leader modi is using opposite language for getting votes.Recommend

  • Ali

    Arvind Kejriwal seems to be a sane and sensible Indian politician who proves to be an honest man, but he will never come to power in India. The sole reason being he doesn’t outright hate Muslims and Pakistan. To get the Hindu vote in India one has to show full hatred towards either Muslims or Pakistan or both.Recommend