- India is a country for the people and by the people as voters gear up for the elections
It’s election time again in India. The Indian elections occur every five years thanks to the strong constitutional and democratic foundations upon which the nation was built on.
It is such a mammoth exercise when 900 million people who have the right to vote decides on who should rule them for the next five years. Anything that involves mass participation in India invokes a lot of festivities. The electorate would easily forget their own sorrows and miseries, let alone the dismal performance of their elected representatives, and rally behind a particular political party. Performance, integrity and honesty, all take a back seat often when it comes to political fidelity. The political parties often exploit this trait to the hilt.
Electioneering in India has changed over the years with various political parties trying every trick under their belt to woo the voters. It has become so sophisticated that all modern advancements in technology are put into good use by all the parties.
A political space once occupied by stalwarts across the political spectrum who had never ever tried to score political brownie points against opponents, is now occupied by people who do not have any hesitation to stoop to any level just for political mileage. Misogynistic, racist, sexiest, comments crossing all lines of decency and continuous punching below the belt with no remorse at all, are doing the rounds at an alarming frequency with virtually no checks and balances.
As far as election spending is concerned, although there is a cap on the amount to be spent by each candidate, this Indian elections will turn out to be the most expensive ones. With virtually zero transparency in political funding and with the gap between the ruling dispensation and the opposition narrowing down, it only gives more fodder to increased spending. These are all hard realities of an Indian election. The stakes are too high to have a lackadaisical attitude and all the players in this political game are fully aware of this.
Nevertheless, come what may, India will elect a new government by May 23. India is a secular, democratic country inhabited by more than a billion people with different religious, racial, ethnic, cultural and culinary backgrounds. In fact, India is a bundle of contradictions bound together by strong but invisible threads. There is an attempt by some to cut these threads – it should not be allowed at any cost. Irrespective of whoever wins, the realisation that they are duty bound to ensure that these threads remain strong and intact at all times is what will carry the country forward and what make India stand proudly with head held high in the comity of nations.
- The writer is based in Abu Dhabi.