Monday, March 31, 2014

Political Conundrum

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

General elections are just around the corner for India, and we have all media and the public discussing the upcoming elections in full tempo. Not a person or issue is left untouched, and every man, woman and child has multiple opinions on every party and every candidate who might be considering running for elected office. Caste, culture, language, region and even the slightest difference between people is made into a great big issue by the politicians simply trying to project themselves as the saviors of specific community. We, Indians are no different than any other country with open elections and candidates with resources running after elected office. There is a definite attraction to the elected office in a democracy, just so by looking at the candidates running for office; very successful businessmen and women, educated and experienced entrepreneurs, money men and women, people with societal stature, and whosoever who has the resources and or people behind them would like to run for office and run the office.

The issues for the people remain the same; education, power, prices and inflation, infrastructure and management. There is no change in the aspirations of the general public in looking forward to the next election and elected representatives, and what we expect them to do for the country. Each election cycle we look forward to the party and the leader who will lead the country to managing the limited resources that are available for better investing towards the needs of the people. It is with hope for the future the electorate goes to the polls, and votes for that bright future. The cycle of hope and elections is a constant, not just for India. The constant media attention, and 24/7 broadcasting of the promises leading to the polls keep us glued to and make us listen to the very word that is uttered by the politicians. Most of these words are often told and often repeated but they still have the punch and sting as they are told in a different time and environment, and using a different back drop.

India has dozens of parties that have a typical regional interest, and typical language or caste interest, while it panders to vote banks shamelessly, and people seem to not mind the pandering. There is very little new ideas to attract any new support, as most of the promises to develop, change, improve or whatever good English phrase that is available has already been used by the politicians. There is also a fairly old bunch of politicians that continue to either control a party or a constituency, so seldom room for newcomers into the foray.

There is a new influx of parties being formed and presented to the public as new and improved leadership, with new set of ideas. The electronic media makes it much easier today for getting the word out. The money floe from NRI and vested interests also support quick formation and publicity of a new party. While India has no limitations on politicians and political parties, there is also almost an unlimited supply of aspirations and demands by the public. A new party with a good public face and presentation of an agenda (albeit can be rehashed version of an already presented variation), will get the audience and support. India's youth and young electorate is quite en tuned to TV and Mobiles to revive and digest the ideas presented to them. There is also seemingly unlimited supply of funds for politicians who jump into the contests.

While the elections become interesting with various parties vying for the same votes, and splashing unrelenting advertisements on the public, they also represent the same ideas and promises of the past. They only point out that the incumbents have not delivered despite the time given to them in office. The newly formed parties have no history of non-performance and can easily claim that they will bring new change and new development. We the people always want to believe in the future as we always do, and we want to make sure of the same for generations to come. While we wait for the new elections and hear the same age old promises of a future full of promise, the voters have the same choices of prior elections, and just might have new faces as candidates. In coming months the challenges facing the country and its people remain, just that challenges.

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