Millennium Post

Abusive politics is undesirable

It is extremely disheartening to see how the Indian political theatre has degenerated into a cacophony of shrill abuses, personal attacks and mud-slinging in the run-up to the assembly and national elections. Every other politician, particularly the two leading men who are driving the ‘tug of tar’, as it were, have been resorting to blatantly vitriolic metaphors and downright abrasive language to lambast the other.

Not only is the Election Commission perfectly justified to flay Rahul Gandhi for the tone and tenor of his speeches, which are peppered with gaffes both diplomatic and political, the EC is equally correct to take Modi to task for his remarkably abusive and foul language pointed at the Congress in general and the Nehru-Gandhi family in particular. The EC rap comes as a wakeup call to both these political leaders, who represent India not only at the national level, but also at the global forums. Clearly, the manner in which these leaders, as well as several others from both regional and pan-Indian parties, have been presenting themselves in public, resorting to uncharitable remarks on each other to settle scores, might make for a good spectacle, but points towards utter bankruptcy in terms of ideological and political grounding. So, when the EC says that Modi and Rahul have violated the model code of conduct, they underline the malaise that is not limited to the two campaign chiefs of either political camps, but something that is spread across the spectrum.

It is important to rehabilitate politics from the current state of all-pervasive abuse and mudslinging to a more reserved but discursively sound battle of ideas and visions. What we are getting at present is a ferocious fight premised on debasing the other: hardly up to the mark for any of the political figures. Evidently, both Modi and Rahul seem to have run out of ideas and visions to woo the voters with, since falling back on ad hominem attacks and vicious insults calling names is the last resort of a thoroughly renegade kind of politics. This ideational barrenness is being reflected in the shrillness of the ‘tenor, tone and content’ of the respective speeches and public rallies, each more corrosive and divisive than the preceding one. Clearly, this politics of polarisation along the axes of mutual abuse is an insult to the Indian electorate, and must not be tolerated.
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