General elections: India 2009

Wither Indian Democracy

All the forgotten things and closed chapters are resurrected in India during the election time. A candidate’s criminal background or involvement in scandals a decade or two ago are raked up with a view to embarrassing the candidate so that he will have to spend more time on defending himself than highlighting his parties policies and promises.

Every party has a skeleton in its cupboard but people see them as part and parcel of politics and do not attach much importance to such things but the mudslinging game goes on and on. If a candidate is found to be spotless his rivals come out with some nasty stories about his great grandfather! Or if a leader happens to be a soft natured person he is seen as a weak and incompetent leader and not as someone who can deliver the goods without much fanfare. Some parties refuse to change their economic policies or their attitude towards some western countries though the whole world has undergone a sea change. They still talk about American imperialism and stubbornly resist the growth of private sector in India….and there are people to believe them.

India and Indianness are shrinking as a result of the unbridled growth of regional parties—a dangerous trend indeed!

Author: P U Krishnan

First things first. I am one of those retired chaps who are young at heart. I watch cricket matches and jump for joy when Tendulkar scores yet another century. I read newspapers and books too, though I am not crazy about them. I think I have a mind free from hatred and I owe it to the wonders of nature and music. I scribble something now and then and call myself a writer! Though I have settled in Ooty, a lovely hill station in Tamil Nadu—I must emphasize the fact that I was born and brought up in Tellicherry in North Kerala and studied in the good old Government Brennen College. Of and on, my mind goes back to my ancestral house at Tiruvangad in Tellicherry in front of an ancient Sri Ram temple. I am indebted to this wonderful place which inculcated in me a love for cricket and literature. But all said and done, I am an Indian first.

One Commnet on “Wither Indian Democracy

  1. This is a paradox of modern society, every mother wants her child to be the president of the country, but none wants her child to be a politician in the process…
    It is a dirty world out there; it is seldom that a dark horse wins this dirty race… Like Obama did in the US and Manmohan Singh did in India. These were clean people from day one, no one could paint an tainted picture of them, but then, they were never preferred candidates when they started off… Somehow, serendipity – you may call it, such dark horses come to power every once in a while, without embracing the dirty route.
    But having said that politics is a dirty game, it is also important to acknowledge that there are some bright sides of it being a dirty game, which is more of a positive spillover… The general take of political scientists is that an average politician always tries to hit to the median voters. But that makes a tactful politician realize that since the mean (don’t read mean minded) politicians are trying to hit the median voters, there is lesser incentives to hit the median voter in a highly competitive market for median votes. Thats is when we see parties with contra thinking popping up – the ones that address to the periphery of the society, a section that is otherwise ignored by the mean politicians and their parties. Over time, this contra thinking becomes mainstream, as being politically correct doesn’t pay all the time and because the median voter is not a static but a gradually moving target. Take the BJP for that matter; it was core hindutva party – a clear no-no during the formative years of the Indian democracy. However, the audiences started receiving BJP more warmly. A current case in point is the BSP, a party that came to prominence owing to its dalit centric policies, but look at their stance now, they are now including the Brahmins in their list too – a clear contra stance… I am sure, there is a lot of resistance to this idea of reservation for Brahmins, the supposed social elites of India. But as weird as it might sound to the median voter, who is neither dalit nor Brahmin, this idea is certainly going to win Mayawati and BSP the attention of the 150 million Dalits and another 150 million Brahmins in India – a neat 30% of India’s population – that sure doesn’t make up the 2/3 majority, but it certainly would make BSP a force to reckon with and Mayawati as a able contender for the top office…

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