For all those who think this is going to be titillating, think again. I am not discussing Bollywood or for that matter the famous shenanigans of some famous Indians caught on tape in compromising positions with some Miss India from Canada: this is a simple treatise on the on-going bed-swapping amongst political parties and the repercussions this nation will experience as we go along.
In the past few weeks enough has been written about the next elections will have no winners:
they will have rag-tag alliances which will come together as they always do, just to taste power and make some quick money while the going is good. Given what one sees around oneself, it is difficult to imagine how on earth the Jayalalithas of the world will ever go to bed with the Communists but then before one could express shock, there was that mushy shot of P K Vaiko offering a glass of fresh juice to Jaya so that she could then resume eating and not bother about Tamil deaths in Sri Lanka. Positions in politics change faster than on a football field. There seem to be no ideological domains within which any of these people are functioning and what makes matters worse, is the voter is incidental to the process or perhaps even to the outcome.
In Bengal, the lady has still not decided who she will go to bed with. Every weekend poor Pranab Mukherjee makes the familiar trudge hoping to swing things his way and then comes back with everything except a political ally. And Mamata as we all know is an eternal nightmare to deal with. In fact each of these women, be it a Mayawati or for that matter a Jayalalitha or a Mamata Banerjee are ruthless, crude and egoistical beyond all imagination and the sad part is tomorrow’s Government will have to be run with their support or on their diktat.
But the fault lies not with these women. Indira Gandhi destroyed every institution that ever existed in this country. She injected corruption, which today has become a by-word and no one seems to care about it. She played havoc with the judiciary; she appointed stooges to the courts and the election commissions; she engendered courtiers and their ilk and today’s contemporary political establishment is nothing but that. When people talk to me about the audacity of hope qua India because of its youthful leaders, my reply is look around and tell me which one of them would have been in power if either parent was not in politics or not dead. This is the sad truth as we sit in the 21st century boasting of a modern India, which is the next global economic superpower. The fact is that the next general elections will be about who goes to bed with whom, and it is that process and not ideology or merit that that will throw up India’s next political leadership. In many ways, every Indian will be voting for a committee of self-serving people; a bunch of no-gooders who couldn’t be bothered about you and I but will be keen on occupying the two South and North Blocks in Delhi. The cost of this exercise will then need to be measured not in terms of how much was spent on conducting the elections but the manner in which this fine democracy will pay by electing leaders who will once again be disengaged from nation-building and will instead focus either on themselves or their progeny to continue a legacy from which this nation is more burdened than it needs to. This is the truth of our elections.
While it is true we must go out and vote, it is equally true that many of us will either not read the myriad manifestoes or worse still, most will look like replicas of each other. We have truly hit the bottom as far as ideological commitment and key policies are concerned. As we get closer to the elections, the shrillness of discourse and the obfuscation of real issues will hit us even harder. But then like good Indians, we shall take succour from the fact that we are better off then our neighbours because we have a throbbing democracy. But it is at times such as these I wonder, of what use is democracy if the if business-politics nexus will become stronger; if our ideologies will merge and if we will accept our fate in terms of leadership and governance as a fait accompli?
Will we then call it an election, which a democracy holds, or a farce that must be completed only so that we retain our democratic credentials?