From Arvind Kejriwal to Rahul Gandhi, Indian politicians are in a race to congratulate Emmanuel Macron. Here's why

39-year-old Emmanuel Macron, a centrist defeated right-wing Marine Le Pen in the French election. Strangely enough, some Indian politicians are seeing it as a personal ideological victory.

So why is the Emmanuel Macron’s electoral victory in France making some people back in India so happy. So much so that, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who is grappling a major crisis in his party took out time and congratulated Macron on Twitter? Not only did he  congratulate Macron but his tweet also had a hidden message directed at you know who. His tweet reads: “Your victory inspires all seeking inclusive, progressive ideas to take our world forward. Viva la France!” Office of RG, Rahul Gandhi’s official Twitter handle also made a similar tweet with a similar message to you know who. He tweeted: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his resounding victory.The people of France have spoken. Fear & hate can never be the way forward.”

Gandhi’s colleague and former minister Sachin Pilot’s tweeted: “French elections show voters can think beyond emotional rhetoric&divisive politics to opt for inclusive&positive leaders #EmmanuelMacron.”

His bitter rival from BJP and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje also joined the party and tweeted congratulatory message to Macron. However, her tweet didn’t have words like hatred, divisive, fear, progressive or inclusive.

Her tweet read: “Congratulations to President-elect @EmmanuelMacron & people of France. May you inspire #youngleaders across the World. #Presidentielle2017”. The tweet, it seems celebrates the fact that Macron, at 39, would take over as the youngest Head of the State in any country. He is France’s youngest leader to lead the country since Napoleon Bonaparte. The tweet goes with the BJP line of promoting young blood in the party.

Some Indian intellectuals like historian Irfan Habib also rejoiced the victory of Macron. “Congratulations @EmmanuelMacron for keeping the idea of inclusive France alive. Your victory brings back hope in this polarised world,” he tweeted.

Now, what do these messages from across political and ideological affiliations mean?

What explains politicians cutting across party lines seeing hope in Emmanuel Macron.The liberal and those leaning towards Left ideology see Macron’s win as a break from the world-wide norm of electing nationalist, anti-immigration, protectionist and Islamobhobic governments following the election of Trump and Brexit. On the other hand,  the right-wing government in India would be happy to work with someone who is not seemingly protectionist when it comes to economy and professes ‘economic liberalism’. However, that’s a far fetched expectation. As of now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in line with other world leaders has congratulated Macron and said that he looks forward to working with him.

However, the liberal and Left optimism about Macron’s victory too could be misplaced. Yes, Macron’s victory would mean France stays in the European Union. With 65 per cent of the votes in his kitty, it also means that France didn’t get swayed by the anti-Islam rhetoric of the known Islamophobe Marine Le Pen, Macron’s opponent. But does it mean Macron will be able to blunt the sharp edges of Islamphobia in the French society? And does it by any chance mean Islamophobia is on the decline in France?

Kabir Taneja, Associate Researcher at ORF, made some interesting observations, that might answer some of these questions.

To give you perspective, 33 per cent of the French voters opted for someone like Pen, who said the following things:

“The hate preachers must be expelled. The Islamist mosques must be closed.”

“France isn’t burkinis on the beach. France is Brigitte Bardot. That’s France.”

“I’m opposed to wearing head scarves in public places. That’s not France.”

So, while Indians from different political ideologies could celebrate Macron’s win in their own way, it is futile for them to wage an online war of ideologies while taking refuge in his victory. It is difficult to say how far Macron will succeed in fixing  Islamophobia in France or whether that is going to be his chief aim as he takes over as the President of the country that has faced several deadly terrorist attacks in the past couple of years. As far as the trends in India are concerned, Macron’s victory doesn’t reflect anything and it is our voting trends and patterns that we need to analyse rather than drawing consolation from an ideological victory in a faraway land.

Right from rocking the civic polls and state polls, from tiding over severe anti-incumbency to opening innings in uncharted territories – the right-wing BJP has done it all, ever since it came to power in 2014. And all this despite immense criticism of overzealous cow protection drive (not mandated by government, but taken forward by cow vigilante groups with scarce regard for law and order and any fear of retribution) and demonetisation (directly an order from Narendra Modi). It has pulled off the unimaginable in Uttar Pradesh, making a saffron-wearing yogi, the chief minister of the state.  If electoral victories, as most “liberals” are claiming with their congratulatory messages to Macron, are a reflection of public consciousness and morality, we need to figure out, why Indians are voting the way they are. Riding high on someone’s else’s victory and drawing solace, is reminiscent of the proverb Hindi proverb: “Begani shaadi mein Abdullah diwana”. It also shows how unwilling the Indian libearal is to introspect its failures and reform its vices.