Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Vote Bank Politics

I have been witnessing, on Television, an ironical development happening during the current election. The people who are seeking mandate for themselves to book a seat in Lok Sabha are busy in personal attacks on their rivals whereas TV ads of various companies are talking about social issues like not treating women as kitchen appliance etc. Ironic isn't it? Let us concentrate on the election campaign, the debate on vote bank politics is not new to us or any other countrymen with multi-culture. Vote banks are those communities which are usually backward, deprived, minority but sometimes they can also be a upper class or majority community.

Vote bank as such is not a bad concept for democracy. If a person aspiring to get elected to Assembly or Lok Sabha seeks votes from a particular community so that he can, once elected, work for the development of such community then, at the outset, there isn't any problem. But the problem arises when this vote bank politics traverses to 2 adverse directions.

One, the person who gets elected with the help of his vote bank does not work for the development of that community. Why? Well, that is because of his 'foresight' where he calculates that if the said community does get benefits and start to climb up in the society then the very agenda with which he won the election will cease to exist. Once it happens the community development will no more be the election talking point but good governance, transparency, accountability will come into picture. So he will try hard to keep the status quo and at the end of 5 years he will portray himself as a martyr, who fought hard for the community and will again the fight the election on the same agenda as he had done 5 years ago. Time does not move here.

Two, the elected candidate will invoke a chauvinist agenda where he will work in such a manner that his community will be benefited (?) at the cost of other community. Why? The benefit, referred to earlier, may not exactly be a benefit but the propaganda will portray it as such. Here, the elected person catches that human psyche which makes people believe that their community is always superior compared to other communities. So when people see that the person whom they elected is working to 'show the people of other community their place' that psyche is reinforced and invigorated. Not only will that elected person can keep his vote bank in tact but also he can win more fringe votes. At the end of the day the real issues of good governance, transparency, accountability remain back benchers. Per se, time does not move here too.

The direction taken by the elected person might depend on whether the candidate is going for majority or minority appeasement. But the real losers are both of them, the general public at large. We are the people who elect such candidates then if such candidates use us as a pawn of election chess then we are ourselves to blame. We are the monetary assets of vote banks and thus it is our responsibility to give ourselves to responsible managers who will not lead the bank to bankruptcy.