Lets do a quick recap of the Mahabharat. Its about the Pandava brothers who are virtuous and their cousins the Kauravas who are evil. Pandavas are only 5 and Kauravas are 100. Yudhishtir is the eldest Pandava and Duryodhan the eldest Kaurava. They both are a part of the royal family and since they cannot agree on who should be the king the kingdom is split between them. Now Pandavas establish their capital at Indraprastha. The Kauravas in conspiracy with their uncle Shakuni invite the Pandavas to a game of dice where they cheat and defeat Yudhishtir who loses his kingdom to them. The Pandavas and their wife Draupadi are exiled for 13 years. During this time the Kauravas rule the kingdom undisputed. After 13 years the Pandavas return to the Kaurava's kingdom and ask to get their share of the kingdom. Duryodhan refuses and a war is declared between the two groups. The Pandavas had a much smaller army and less resources compared to the Kauravas. Kauravas had the entire royal army with them and master warriors like Bhishma, Drona and Karna. The Pandavas were the underdogs by all conventional standards, but they still won. The reason being they had lord Krishna on their side, even though in a completely non-violent role of a charioteer.
Now lets talk about the 2014 elections. The biggest parties in India are the Congress and the Bharatiya Janta Party(BJP). Congress faces a huge anti-incumbency sentiment after ruling for the last 10 years. The most obvious beneficiary of this is the BJP as the next biggest party. India being a diverse country has a number of other smaller parties too. The party everyone is talking about is the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) which came into existance less than 2 years ago. It was formed by Arvind Kejriwal an IIT graduate and former IRS officer who has been active in social work for many years and lead the campaign for the right to information(RTI). He is also a recipient of the Ramon Magsasay award which is given to people who have done outstanding work in their field. It is a party of social workers, activists, professors, lawyers and other successful professionals. These are people who have made their mission to remove corruption from India. It is well known that Indian politicians are extremely corrupt and the whole world knows that. Politicians and their parties have accumulated huge wealth by siphoning off taxpayer money and taking bribes from mega corporations to give them public land and natural resources at throwaway prices. Here is where the comparison with Mahabharat begins. BJP and Congress are both rich and powerful like the Kauravas. Both parties also have a fair share of tainted politicians with corruption and criminal cases against them. AAP is good and honest like the Pandavas. Also like the Pandavas, they have a much smaller membership and very little money compared to their rivals. Like the Pandavas, AAP ruled Delhi for some time. Indraprastha being the ancient name for Delhi. Just like the Pandavas were cheated by the Kauravas and Shakuni into fleeing Indraprastha, the AAP was cheated by the BJP and Congress into resigning from the Delhi government. The AAP wanted to bring in a powerful anti-corruption Lokpal law that both BJP and Congress were opposed to.
In the coming elections the BJP is projected to become the single largest party according to various opinion polls. A lot of people have decided to vote for the BJP even though it fields corrupt and criminal candidates and follows an extreme right wing socially conservative and majoritarian ideology. BJP is getting support just because they are not Congress even though they are just as bad if not more so. When I ask people why they wont vote for AAP even though its a party of honest people, I get reasons like 'AAP does not have enough governing experience'. Some people also say that since AAP will not win nationally they don't want to waste their vote on a small party because that will create instability. They would rather have a stable and corrupt government. Thats exactly what they had under the Congress for the last 10 years, a party that they now hate intensely. They don't understand that the cancer of corruption will only go when they quit smoking the cigarette of dishonest politics marketed to them by selfish politicians and made using the tobacco like black money provided by unethical corporate executives who want anti-consumer monopolistic policies and want to win contracts for taxpayer funded projects without a fair and transparent process. Simply changing the brand of cigarettes from Congress to BJP will not cure this cancer.
AAP is clearly an underdog against the giants BJP and Congress. The situation is similar to the 1983 cricket world cup final where India was the underdog against the West Indies. But nowadays India is a top cricket team and wins much more, which has made Indians identify less with the underdogs and more with the favorites. Pandavas were also the underdogs in Mahabharata and would not have won if they did not have lord Krishna on their side. Krishna did not say that Pandavas should not get a kingdom because they don't have enough governing experience whereas Kauravas had been governing since many years. He did not say that Pandavas ran away from their responsibility to rule Indraprastha after they were cheated by the Kauravas and Shakuni. It appears that AAP needs nothing less than Krishna's divine intervention if they are to prevent the BJP or Congress from leading the next central government. I think the people who can play the role of Krishna here are the present day true followers of Krishna.
Arjun is considered the strongest devotee of lord Krishna. When Arjun had doubts about fighting against his own cousins and elders in Kurukshetra, Krishna told him that this is a fight for good vs evil and he must fight evil even if it means killing his own brothers, uncles and teachers. Just like Arjun, here are people today who know in their hearts that AAP is the most ethical and honest party but are still not planning to vote for it because their family, friends and colleagues are vocal supporters of the BJP or Congress. These latent AAP supporters must take this lesson from Krishna and vote for the ethical party even if it means going against the wishes of their family and friends.
Probably the most famous quote by lord Krishna is the following
Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshu kada chana,
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani
This translates to the following
You have the right to work only but never to its fruits.
Let not the fruits of action be your motive. Nor let your attachment be to inaction.
The opinion polls by several media houses have declared that the BJP is going to win the most number of seats this election followed by the Congress. The number of seats projected for AAP are less than 20. Therefore many good people are hesitant to vote for AAP because they think they will waste their vote. To them I say to remember this quote and just vote according to your conscience without worrying about the fruit of your action. So many people are volunteering and campaigning for AAP because its the ethical and moral thing to do, not because they want to be on the winning side. This quote warns against inaction too, don't take the easy way out and not vote at all. Krishna's elder brother Balram refused to take part in the war but Krishna did. Be like Krishna not Balram.
It is interesting to note that before the war Krishna gave a choice to Arjun and Duryodhan that they could either have him as a non-combatant or have his entire army called the Narayani Sena which will engage in combat. Arjun got the first choice and he chose Krishna, much to the jubilation of Duryodhan who wanted to have Krishna's army anyway. In this election the extreme right wing Hindu groups like Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad etc. are all with the BJP. These people see themselves as a religious army who often indulge in moral policing and violence against non-Hindu Indians.
The beauty of democracy lies in the fact that it is the only system that allows for a non-violent regime change. Krishna influenced the outcome of the Kurukshetra war as a non-violent participant. The women and men of India can influence the outcome of any election by the simple non-violent act of voting. If these people chose good over evil like Krishna did, they can clean up Indian politics by sending clean and honest people to the parliament.
Now lets see how many seats were won by the ruling party in the last 3 elections.
2009 Congress 206 seats
2004 Congress 145 seats
1999 BJP 180 seats
In 2014 the AAP is contesting from 385 seats as of today. This number will only go up. They need to win only a fraction to be a part of next central government. If you still have a doubt who you should vote for just ask yourself what would lord Krishna do.