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Millennium Post

Assault politics won’t reap votes

The brazen and shameless manner in which cadres of a particular political party are targeting and physically abusing the Aam Aadmi Party leaders, members and supporters has taken on a stupendous dimension. Time and again, top leaders including Arvind Kejriwal, Yogendra Yadav, Somnath Bharti, among others have been singled out and assaulted in public space, with television cameras glaring and capturing the humiliation live, much to the gloating glee of political opponents and consternation of concerned citizens. Giving vent to latent ugliness, this election has become a cauldron of violence and brutality that has now left the domain of verbal taunts and linguistic rabidity to utterly condemnable physical hostility. Not only does this work against and unfathomably weaken the fabric of democracy, but also does enormous disservice to the participatory spirit of politics. Moreover, this is also the barefaced display of licenced thuggery, evidently orchestrated and sponsored by those ‘managing’ electoral campaigns and pulling the poll strings from behind closed doors. This is not only a flagrant violation of the model code of conduct as laid down by the election commission, it is, equally, an insult to our democratic institutions, especially Parliament, which loses every time such as unacceptable act becomes part of the electoral lexicon. Politics has fallen hostage, unfortunately enough, to the worst of the possible fates and if this trend is allowed to continue, an ideological and systemic disaster awaits us in the immediate future. While violence and politics have always had an intimate relationship, no amount of spin doctoring can possibly legitimise this sort of roguery, which is neither based on any revolutionary ideal nor premised upon any repressed animosity towards the traditionally oppressing class. If anything, this beating up and assaulting the AAP leaders is merely a brazen display of misguided machismo, reconfigured as the cultural nationalist Hindu maleness, which cannot tolerate an iota of healthy criticism.  
     However, it is evident that resorting to such buffoonery is not likely to reap any dividend as far as the current electoral harvests and voting patterns are concerned. In fact, it might have the exactly opposite effect, with Arvind Kejriwal and his co-workers notching up sympathy points in the eyes of the middle and lower-middle class voters, who feel equally let down by the rising graph of viciousness amongst the fundamentalist brigades on either camp. Inasmuch as Kejriwal’s winning the Time magazine readers’ poll is an indicator, there is genuine support and cheer for AAP, at least as a refreshing breath of ideological air, if not as a political entity in its current form. It will not be easy to muzzle the voices of millions of educated and semi-educated Indians, particularly women and those from marginalised sections of society, who have conspicuously rebuffed the pugnacious vision of India as put forward by the top two political camps. Rejecting both crony capitalism and religious nationalism, the 84 crore-strong Indian electorate is ready for a new idea of future that is more inclusive, across class, caste, gender and religious divides. And violence is certainly not the bedrock of such an ideal.        

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