Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Lok Sabha election sans noise


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Why does the Lok Sabha election lack the hype and hoopla of an Assembly election? An analysis by this newspaper finds that the common person in Meghalaya hardly knows what the role and responsibilities of a Member of Parliament (MP) is. Political parties and candidates also take advantage of this ignorance to reduce the political speeches to bragging rights about what their party candidate would do once he/she is elected. Even the issues raised at election platforms are intended to deceive and to promise the electorate even what is unrealistic. Why should political parties spend so much time castigating one another instead of laying out the priorities of their party in the next parliament. In fact, the scenario building exercise should have started now. And the scenario is that if the BJP wins the next elections by a majority, the Constitution would undergo certain amendments/additions, that are intended to bring uniformity – whether that be in religion, language, culture, worldview et al. In such a situation what will an MP supporting the NDA-led government do under the circumstances? What if the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is implemented right after the first session of the next parliament? What will be the stance of the MPs belonging to the NPP? What about those MPs belonging to the other parties should they win this Lok Sabha election? The Congress MPs have the INDIA backing. What if the UDP/VPP/Independent MP candidate wins? Who will they align with to amplify their voices? Alone they have little chance of being heard? In any case when certain controversial policies are framed that are likely to jeopardise the future of minority rights, who will stand with them to ensure that such policies don’t see the light of day?
These are questions that the electorate should be raising before the MP candidates instead of listening to long-winded speeches where candidates engage in mud-slinging, personal attacks and rhetoric. Elections are about the ideology and the manifesto of the political party/parties and such manifesto should be studied and analysed to see if they meet the needs of the people in these small states. A majoritarian ideology that seeks to bring uniformity of laws and to even dilute the protective mechanisms granted to scheduled tribes in this region has to be contested. That contest cannot come from a party that is already aligned with the ruling party. Does the electorate of Meghalaya understand these nuances of politics? Or are they ready to vote for a candidate on the basis of their grandstanding? A political party that seeks to upend everything that the drafting committee of the Constitution worked so hard at including – which is respect for the diversity that India represents, cannot hope to hold the polity together in what can best be described as a bouquet of aspirations. For this to happen, the electorate must vote with their brains, not with their emotions.


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