As the election fever in India for the sixteenth Lok Sabha (Parliament) pitches towards the climax, attacks and counter attacks of the leaders and candidates of the rival parties on each other are also increasingly becoming sharper and uglier. This election will perhaps be remembered in history for having been fought not for the futuristic agenda, programmes and policies of the leaders and political parties but for the record mud-slinging and substantiated/unsubstantiated allegations against each other taking personal and professional ethics perhaps to the lowest level.
There is a party and self-styled leader who professes only they are carrying honest politics branding all opponents as dishonest and corrupt. There is a party and leaders, who perceiving a fast erosion of the electoral base, are out to stay in fray by hook or crook including by indulging in communal divide. Then there is a party and leaders who vouch and bid for the all round development and growth but at the same time discredit and negate every good work done by the rival party in the past. Several regional parties too are out to fishing with maximum bargain to serve their ambitions and short term goals.
The other day, I saw a brief news item. A private channel TV reporter asked a woman legislature in one of the parliamentary constituency of a northern state as to what is her agenda and plan during the ensuing election. She humbly replied without any pretension or making tall claims that within the resources and constraints available, she has tried to work for people in her state assembly constituency ever since her last election and people in general are happy. So she will try her best to ensure that the party nominated candidate for the parliamentary constituency gets maximum support in her area.
When the same reporter asked her to comment on the prospects and performance of rival candidates and parties, she simply refused to do so stating she would like to concentrate on her work rather than to criticize or pass judgment on rivals’ work and conduct. Her reply was in sharp contrast to contemporary trend in politics where leaders do not miss any opportunity to find faults with and criticize their rivals. Besides, it was indeed a dampener on the TV reporter’s aspirations because on many occasions they themselves ask leading questions inviting controversies and reactions because that has more salability.
To me such a positive attitude and approach from a leader appears like a fresh air strengthening belief that there is still some hope left for democracy. But then because such events are not spicy enough so they neither become headlines nor get enough publicity.