Monday, June 08, 2015

Better Leaders While in Opposition?

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Indian politicians in the recent years have become more vocal while in the opposition.  The freedom of being in the opposition makes them bold and critical of every move made by the party in power.  Once in opposition the national and state and local leadership becomes very vocal and critical of every move made by the government in power.

A combination of available media outlets and the freedom of being in the opposition and also not having the responsibility of governing to the public, makes politicians experts on policy and governance.  Part of the aggression and analysis comes from the ability and time to analyze performance of the ruling party without the burden of governance.  Also a major part of the aggressive critique is because of the availability of information on every action of the government in power.

The available communications channels serve dual purpose; one – to get updated on everything possible instantly, two – react to whatever is being reported.  Adding to the instant availability of news and updates. The channels also broadcast commentary and opinion.  Most times the reporting is not objective, it is reactive and subjective to catch what is happening.  Many times someone is simply narrating what they see, as they see events happen.  This sometimes is not accurate, rather live narrative, and can be inaccurate.  But the viewer will latch on to any kind of negativity with which the information is being narrated.  This kind of reporting is often corrected as the details of the incident become clear.  Many times even after the corrections are aired to the reported events, the originally reported in accuracies will remain in the viewer’s mind, and most times the politicians are the group that latch on to the inaccuracies in reporting, and they certainly will spin them as facts, especially when the reports are about the opposing political parties.

This kind of opportunism is not limited to just the Indian politicians.  This is a common political phenomenon all across the world.  Politicians specially love to take reporting inaccuracies and twist them as facts, and add a bit of drama to the information and start story-telling to constantly use inaccuracies as facts.  Sometimes the debates on such inaccuracies take a life of their own and the inaccuracies start becoming facts, and be kept alive in the media until something else becomes a topic of discussion.

The opposition parties also have an advantage of the lection loss.  They all of a sudden have the time to reflect and react and repeatedly point to any deviation to election promises and manifesto of the party in power.  The opposition can be vocal in critique and knit pick on even at the programs that are in public interest.  It is great to be in the opposition as the public doesn’t hold you accountable.  You can make it a full time job to simply be a critic of the administration, and get the eye balls and attention.  The opposition also has a long sabbatical from governing, so that they can pretty much do and say anything that they choose to until the next election cycle.  Not being in power enables voice rehearsals, reviewing government actions, become active on networks as a political and social analyst and critic, all this while enjoying the freedom of not being accountable to public.

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