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The great Indian political farce

The great Indian political farce

Author: Sunita Vakil
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 27, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/172207/The-great-Indian-political-farce.html

Let's face it, every five years, or sometimes even sooner, we are subjected to the circus called 'election' when politicians leave no stone unturned to grab power. While campaigning they will indulge in everything from hate speeches, inflammatory and indecent remarks to mudslinging, to the shift voters' focus from the real issues.

What is worrying is that such a phenomenon is not only getting the undivided attention of the 24X7 media but also fast becoming an indispensable and acceptable part of our political discourse.

Viewed in this context, the run-up to Lok Sabha election 2009 was one of the worst in history where all norms of decency and morality were thrown to the wind by some unscrupulous politicians. It is such crass opportunism that has led to a degradation in democratic practices which has consequently resulted in nepotism, propagation of dynasty rule, criminalisation of politics and proliferation of corruption.

While a senior Cabinet Minister like Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav has no qualms about uttering the "crush (Mr Varun Gandhi) under a roller" remark, an irrepressible Mulayam Singh finds nothing wrong in threatening a woman official. In the same vein, MDMK chief Vaiko's warning of a bloodbath in Tamil Nadu while supporting the LTTE speaks volumes about the anarchy that has seeped into our political system.

Our polity has reached such a low that instead of engaging in healthy debates on key issues our so-called worthy leaders are trying to score points over each other by indulging in senseless verbal duels.

The war of words between Prime Minister Singh and the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Mr LK Advani, was a prime example of this.

These political gimmicks are beyond the comprehension of the common man who is only concerned about the issues affecting his daily life. Politicians of all hues need to remember that regional, communal or casteist rhetoric is not going to help in the long run.

Can a country like India, which accounts for 27 per cent of the world's undernourished population, afford to have such extravagant, wasteful political circus? Despite great leaps in growth, a large number of people in this country still do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Diseases like polio, dengue and malaria still pose a big challenge. And yet, the actual amount spent on healthcare is woefully inadequate.

Having said that, one can only wish that the money being squandered on this political farce finds better use.

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