POISON FROM THE PULPIT
- Published 1.04.14
The election fever is reaching a high pitch, both in terms of tenor and abuse. There is no decorum in the political exchanges. A serious debate on the many issues that plague this nation is also lacking. The calibre of those trying desperately to become leaders of India is mediocre, to say the least. Vision and intent are sorely lacking in every discourse. Many promises are being made. Most of these pledges are not very different from the commitments that have been made to the people of this country over the last six decades. Round and round the development bush is the ditty being sung, but without any concrete example of how anything will change. Neither is there any satisfactory explanation for the citizens of this country believing these men and women as they spout their predictable rhetoric every five years. Nothing has changed except that the anger Indians feel about having been exploited and let down has reached an all-time high. This will have an inevitable bearing on the voting pattern.
In Delhi, the political and social pundits, who grace our television screens every evening, come across as either deaf or blind as they remain unwilling to listen to or question the new ground realities. Some of them have got so carried away by the prospect of an electoral victory after having been out of office for one decade that they scream hysterically every time there is a voice that rejects or questions their wild claims. Personal attacks are becoming common as election dates come close. The men fighting for high office are already promising to arrest individuals upon assuming power.
Irresponsible speeches from a variety of platforms in the public domain send out frightening signals. Are the courts not relevant anymore? Will leaders get people arrested on their whims without honouring the due process? Why should such wild statements be issued by those who may be at the helm of this great democracy? To hear political heavyweights speak out of turn makes one wary of what India will have to experience if the rule of law and the Constitution are tampered with. Will there be a restructuring of the democratic framework that will allow elected representatives to work and operate outside the ambit of established laws? Correctives need to be implemented within the framework of democracy.
When the leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party declaims that it will punish opponents it makes one squirm. Here is a fledgling party that was sworn in to govern Delhi. Instead of dealing with the political contortions, its leader put in his resignation and fled to campaign against his opponents. It seems that none apart from the AAP knows the right from the wrong. Anarchists seem to be hoping to govern a multi-dimensional India.
A frustrated and angry middle class, let down by rapacious and greedy leaders and babus who have exploited honest people and bled the nation dry, have thrown their weight behind one of the two formations that have emerged as strong contenders. The AAP is being perceived as a bunch of inexperienced do-gooders who are not skilled enough to play the complicated game of politics for long. The AAP may play spoiler this time, but clearly it is not a substantive player.
The Congress keeps harping on the good work it has done over the years. Surely, governments are elected to promote growth, change and rapid development? What is the Congress promising beyond the obvious for which a nation elects its leaders? It is for this reason that corrupt practices and corroded processes concerning decision-making and governance have come under public scrutiny. Obliterating these problems is the real change that India is demanding. The rest is expected of any government.