Elected Reflect The Electorate
Dr Richard Rego
How mean can an election get is answered by the present election campaign. Actually it is not the elections; it is the politicians who make it so mean, petty and base. What was visualized as an exercise in people’s participation in self-governance (democracy) has been turned into a mockery of people themselves.
Electors’ mockery comes from none other than the elected or to-be-elected themselves. In a sentimental country like India, where everything other than progress, development, prosperity, peace, and justice matter to people in a campaign, leaders play with the electors’ weakness with chanakya-n flair.
Who is an apt candidate to lead our country? Who could make a good leader? Criminals? Thugs? The corrupt? Communalists? If the present scenario is any indication, you are likely to have some more of them in this election, in this parliament. It is rare to find a clean (Mr Clean or Ms Clean) leader in our polity today; someone with nation’s real interests, someone with a genuine heart for people and their concerns; someone with a vision of uniting the country for peace and prosperity.
Just consider this: we elect someone with 30-plus criminal cases to Lok Sabha (LS); he boasts of them as ‘certificates’ to his credit. And in this election campaign, this ‘criminal certificates-holder’ challenges the electorate that he needs no minority votes, he can go to LS with Hindu votes, alone! And dares the Election Commission (EC) that this will only be one-more case to the 30-plus criminal cases already filed against him! Do we need such arrogant and communal leaders? This is insult not just to the shameless speaker, but to the esteemed electorate.
And then you have all those who have amassed huge wealth at the cost of the electorate, even as the electorate languishes in utter poverty. Look at the statistics of the declared assets of our leaders (http://myneta.info). Where did they get 10,20,30,40, even hundreds of crores of rupees of wealth? Did they earn this wealth by the sweat of their brow? But how? And nobody –no elector- questioned them. Politicians from every party: Congress, BJP, JD, Communists, NCP, BJD, DMK, and all others… If one has to name corrupt politicians, you need to mention almost everybody!
The worst tragedy of these elections has been their communal nature. Forget the tragedy surrounding Varun’s ‘chop off hands’, Laloo’s ‘roll the road roller’, and Renukacharya’s ‘chop off heads!’ remarks. These are not just cruel remarks; they are uncivilized; humiliating to those who elect them with all the good faith.
The communal nature of elections and Indian polity is glaringly reflected in the Prime Ministerial-candidate-projection. It began with L K Advani being projected as BJP’s candidate to the most coveted post in the country. That was Advani’s lifelong dream, which may never be fulfilled. The electorate knows it; the BJP knows it very well, too. But the irony is the very thought of Advani occupying such a high-profile and “responsible” chair, if you may call it! How can a such an irresponsible man who opened up the floodgates of violence in post-independence India, occupy such a responsible chair? A man who divided the Indian society along religious lines (1992), started communal tensions among every group of people, causing the death of thousands of people and heralding Indian civilization’s downfall, be a Prime Minister? That he was the Home Minister, was another misfortune! Gujarat pogrom under such a communal man & Vajapayee’s regime was no surprise, shocking though.
In the meantime, Arun Shourie has set the cat among pigeons by proclaiming Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister in waiting (though everybody knew of his dirty ambitions and histrionics); to fool the people, they suffix their dreams “after Advani!” Time and again, Modi has evoked communal card, Gujarat man-slaughter (2002) being the worst of them. Another Arun (Jaitley) has trumpeted the same call – strengthening Modi’s ambitions. A man responsible for the massacre of thousands of innocent Muslims can never make a Prime Minister! The man who is involved in almost every form of terrorizing people who are not convenient to him is a disgrace to any democracy. Definitely, to a civil society. Longing and pining to visit the United States and other European countries is Modi’s way of getting legitimacy to his dirty dreams. Is the BJP so bankrupt for people of character to project as Prime Minister-in-waiting?
It is not who becomes the Prime Minister of a country or the Chief Minister of a state. But it is what is the character of your candidate, if at all one has one! The one whom you elect represents your psyche. Probably, for a moment, human psyche is numbed by the fear factor (as in the case of Gujarat politics post-pogrom 2002). But continuing to elect communal, cruel, and corrupt leaders is a blot the face of democracy.