March 10, 2005

Indian Politics.

Reading about the recent developments in Bihar arising out of the Assembly elections, one wonders how much people take for granted the mountain of corruption and immorality that is present in the politics of our country.

To briefly recall what happened in the election, the following was the final tally:
Total: 243
BJP + : 92
RJD + : 79
LJP: 29
Congress: 10
Others: 33.

With the support of Congress, RJD had 89. Now one needed 122 seats to have a simple majority in the assembly. It was soon clear that Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP held the key to government formation. And to have some kind of stability, one needed the support of some of the independents and others .

The intense and vigorous process of putting together an alliance began soon. It is true that in a democracy, a political party that does well in an election is to be credited with having that much
level of popular support. And as such, Paswan's performance was commendable and it was undeniable that he had made a mark. It is not true, however, that in a democracy there is no place for principles. When a political party X wins certain number of seats in an election campaigning on a certain plank, after the election they can not just come together with another party Y (which was its rival few days ago) purely because Y did well and hence was accepted by people. It has to be remembered that the acceptance of people is not a concept in void, and is related to real issues. So X and Y must understand that they got the votes they got because of the particular stance they took on various issues. Taking a pragmatic view, one can admit that the alliance between X and Y is imperative in the interests of stability. But there is no reason for moral glorification on the part of X and Y in the name of bowing to the will of the people.

It was most depressing to observe the developments after the election. Everyone involved was trying to forge together an alliance with utter disregard for principles and political morality. And they were taking the moral highground in the name of public will. And this unscrupulous spectacle was there for everybody to see. It was abundantly clear that the issues of priciple and political morality were the last things on people's minds. The crisis of Indian politics is the absolute acceptance and irresponsible indifference on the part of common man toward this lack of political integrity. And its tragedy is the lack of any silver lining. One does not foresee any significant change in the near future.

I was stuck by the totally uncritical reporting that appeared in the media in the past few days, at least in what I read. They reported the facts without offering any intellectual criticism. Someone in the mainstream media needs to discuss the important issues and go behind the facade to the real reasons. For instance, this article by Rajdeep Sardesai was brilliant for the depth of its political analysis and I enjoyed reading it. But it takes for granted the prevalent political situation, and fails to question its premises.

One hopes against hope that there will be better days ahead.


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