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Assembly Polls: Electoral performance of the Indian citizens 
Source: News Bharati English13 Dec 2013 15:34:43


Assembly Polls: Electoral performance of the Indian citizens

Dr. Sharad Khare analyses and presents a perspective on electoral performance of the Indian citizens of the four states in the Indian federation


One thing is certain that democracy in India is leading itself into the making of a mature political society. ‘Who wins’ is indeed an important question, but more importantly to note is that democracy has emerged as a viable, trustworthy, durable and an appropriate technique such as parliamentary democracy.

Following are a few important moorings in the process of Indian democracy which need to be studied.
Nepotism , red tapism , corruption , favoritism , immorality , vices and several other Hobbsian issues are in existence since the dawn of perhaps human civilization .Noteworthy is its compass and extent and its status in the society . The value system in the society is important. The societal attitudes are significant. It depends on the nature of the power structure the society adores or respects it.

Emergence of ‘AAP’ in the recent Delhi Legislative Assembly elections was a signal reminding Rousseau’s ‘general will’ exemplified. Political parties in India need to take a note of the signal. Political performance of the party in power is required to deal with the bureaucracy within the government on the one hand and its political opinion makers on the other. Balancing act of such nature generally decides the fate of the party in power which faces the elections. Here enters the ‘general will’. It may appear very weak but can deliver strong punch at times. Any political party in power may undermine its relevance but it may do so only at its own peril. High morale of the individual has to be the key-factor articulating the net of the ‘general will’.

A perspective of the popularly discussed factors in the recently held general elections to the four State legislative Assemblies is as following:

Why was the change?
Price-rise, abundant consumerism, falling/dwindelling purchasing power of the consumer, rampant bribing demands of the obstinate administration made to the needy helpless poor, defiance of these very helpless poor in their electoral behavior , absolute dissatisfaction and rage in regard to the limitations exhibited by the keepers of the law and order agencies ---both on the domestic front as discovered in the crime-world (gang-rape ,robberies) and miserable failures on the part of the security agencies in detecting and preventing the Jihadi-dominated terrorizing anti-national activities disturbing communal harmony and peace in the country
Everywhere--, dejected and frustrated law enforcement agencies, are a few prominent glaring reasons to enlist which moved the voting citizens towards a change.

What went wrong?
Intolerance, greed, corrupt attitudes, disrespect towards the dissent, arrogance of power, meaning-less planning , dishonest implementation, leaderless and aimless administration, far less credible political leadership of all political parties, respect for dissenting opinions, clandestine resentment towards religious terrorists’ activities, soft approach of the security agencies towards them and almost near conviction of the voters that some political parties with left to the center attitudes do encourage their alleged grievances keeping an eye on enveloping vote-banks.

How about the ‘Modi’ factor?
Gujarat, in India after Mahatma Gandhi-era, has for the second time (first was ‘Sampoorna kranti aandolan’ in 1975) initiated a social leader in Indian polity. Narendra Modi By all standards has been groomed into leadership from a socio-cultural organization, called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. This fact cannot be ignored or denied, nor is it ignominious.

There is a school of thought owing its allegiance to the colonial impact on Indian intellectual Society, which believes that to talk of religion or ancient traditions or native society, falls outside the contours of intellectual discipline of Oxford and Cambridge centers.

Modi in this regard has pronounced a hitherto taboo agenda for the Indian nation. This is the paramount consequence of the recent elections to the State legislative Assemblies .There is a national agenda put forth by Narendra Modi .There are several national issues, of national importance. An important reason is that, political parties in power have not aspired to read and understand the native Indian society. Even the Constitution of India cannot be described as reflection Indian societal traditions. Several political models and ideas have been drawn halfhearted from the West to serve a few.

Modi is trying to adopt a few Western ideas without compromising with Indian ethos. Modi seems to be thinking of restructuring native Indian society blending it with global experiences. Freedom struggle, the then national leaders, dynastic and family rule, disrespecting opposition views, promoting mutual distrust, national boundaries and its defense, foreign affairs policies, international trade, consolidation of rupee, approach towards terrorism such as zero tolerance policy, poor oriented policy-planning , welfare of the ultimate beneficiary, increasing self-confidence of the citizens, are a few areas where Modi has awakened and empowered the helpless poor irrespective of caste and religion. Modi has inculcated development orientation attitude in the functioning of the entire administration of the government.

Modi has pointed out the need of the introspection within in every walk of life and field of activity. His thrust is towards ‘nation first’. This is an apt reply to the pseudo secularism harped on by the attitudinal atheists of the ‘left-to-the-center’.

When Modi campaigned for votes during the election tours in the four states, he seemed to be talking of Indian society and polity without imposing Western ideals and models on it. Modi is identifying the ‘identity’ crises in India. Good governance and development are matters closely related to the identity crisis.

Modi perhaps aims at another ‘sampoorna kranti aandolan’. He aims at a revitalized society whose cultural roots are deeply entrenched but the techniques of which are with modern outlook. He aims at attaining material growth without losing human face. There are, however a few obstacles in the process of growth. Firstly, unbridled interference of the media in the process of growth undermining the role and authority of the ‘Executive’, and its administering the policies of the duly elected governments. Media is exaggerating its own role while converting itself from news giver to news-maker and opinion-builder.

Secondly, hypocrisy has engulfed every stage and quality being compromised and substituted by mediocre performance. Modi’s interaction with the ‘fourth estate’ substantiates the point that the ‘executive’ need not subordinate itself to the arrogance of the media. Modi certainly is substantiating the preponderance of the ‘executive ‘without losing his sight from the welfare of the poor—the ultimate beneficiary. Thirdly, Modi has emerged successful in developing a development model in his home state —Gujarat, which he is prepared to usher in at the national level. It is important to note that his development model is all inclusive --socio-economic-cultural dimensions of the development of the individual and the society as well. His development model envisages the strengthening of his ‘nation’. Modi is trying to understand the nation, the society, the people and the individual interpreting all, through the Indian ethos. He is trying to redefine the Indian society.

Modi during his election campaigns has succeeded in putting forth a national agenda for a national debate by covering all the aspects hitherto mentioned as above. He has emphatically pressed the necessity of a strong central political leadership in the governance and the government to lead the state and the nation.

This is what the recent elections to the legislative assemblies of the four States have to signal.

Author is a scholar of political science. He is a Director at Vivekananda Institute of Social Sciences Research