As a child, when studying moral science in school, all of us would have heard and learnt of the story of Robert Bruce and the spider.
Robert the Bruce, or Robert I, was the Scottish king of medieval Europe. In those days of unremitting fighting and hostilities with his neighbouring kingdom, Bruce was driven away from his throne. He was on the run, and in order to remain undetected from his enemies, he had to take refuge in one of the many caves that dotted the forests of medieval Scotland.
Hiding in the cave, filled with hunger, and the compunction of the failure to protect his kingdom, he sat desolate, looking at the bare environs of the grotto.
It was then that he noticed a spider, trying hard to climb a wall and make a web.
Time and again, the spider would climb the wall, and start off the process to make the web, only to fall off again. He would soon wake up from the crash, and repeat the course only to fall again. This went on and on, again and again.
Finally after failing countless times, the spider was able to give a final push, and push his failure behind and build the web.
Robert Bruce looked at the spider with awe and inspiration. Here was a small creature, who despite its continual failures, did not give up, and would rise from its defeat, and finally overcome all obstacles to get his work done.
Try, Try again.
If you don’t succeed, try; try again, till success is yours.
Inspired by the spider, Bruce decided to introspect, and decided to fight his failure and wage a war to get his kingdom back.
He lost, not once, but many times.
Finally, inspired by the spider, without giving up defeat after defeat, Bruce finally managed to defeat his enemies, the English army, at Battle of Bannockburn, and regain independence for Scotland.
Now, if there is any modern day Robert the Bruce, it has to be O Rajagopal, the face of the BJP in Kerala. All would know him for his role in the NDA council of ministers under Vajpayee, where he represented Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the Rajya Sabha, but people in Kerala know him for the various electoral battles he has fought and never won.
In 1980, Rajagopal contested the Lok Sabha elections from Kasargod, and came second, losing to M Ramana Rai of the CPIM, by a margin of 70,000 votes. He contested as a Janata Party candidate.
In the next Lok Sabha elections, 1984, Rajagopal shifted to Manjeri. From the position of strength at Kasargod, he dropped to third place, getting just 43,000 odd votes or 7%, in what was a Muslim League bastion.
He waited till 1991 before trying his luck for the first time in Trivandrum, again in the Lok Sabha elections. He ended up getting 80,000 votes and once again third position with a support of 11%. Congress was the winner.
In the meantime, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, but this did not stop his party from fielding him at Trivandrum again during the 1999 polls. He performed far better than the previous battles, this time getting almost 160,000 votes or 21%, but still just enough to be third position, behind Congress and CPI.
Then came the India Shining campaign, and despite a good performance in the Vajpayee ministry, he could not get more than 230,000 or 30% of the electorate to vote for him. He was once again at 3rd position, when the CPI managed to trump Congress at the pole position.
After all the failures in Parliament election, Rajagopal was back to contesting for Assembly again. He was a favourite of the public by then, and had support across party lines. But this was just not enough.
Contesting from his home district of Palakkad for the first time, he came third once again, but managed to get a respectable 25% of the vote share.
He did not contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Trivandrum, and this saw a serious decline in the BJP votes, the election which Shashi Tharoor won for the first time.
By the time the next contest was on, Rajagopal, for the first time since 1980 at Kasargod, came second, it was in Nemom in Trivandrum, and he lost to the CPIM candidate by a margin of 6400 votes.
Next year, the by polls in Neyyatinkkara, Rajagopal was in fray again. He was relegated to his regular 3rd position, but with a respectable 23% of the votes.
The fiercest battle he had fought ought to be the 2014 elections for the Lok Sabha. Rajagopal was back in Trivandrum and gave the sitting MP Shashi Tharoor a fantabulous fight. He led for most of the counting, and finally lost to him for a mere 14,000 votes. The CPI candidate was relegated to a poor third. This was an election most in Trivandrum wanted him to win but providence had other ideas.
Now, the senior most leader of Kerala BJP, the battle hardened general is getting ready for his twelfth electoral battle, the bye election at Aruvikkara in Trivandrum. There were many who thought that he would quit electoral battle after the 2014 blockbuster, but he’s not given up yet.
Like Bruce said – “Try, Try again. If you don’t succeed, try; try again, till success is yours”
Thanks to @El_Falafel on twitter for sharing the data alongwith his tweet.