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Denigrating democracy

Denigrating democracy

The AAP-BJP pamphlet imbroglio transformed into a defamation war with both parties denigrating each other over an issue largely blemishes the democratic polity of India. While it may be hard to ascertain who is responsible for this condemnable act, parties to the controversy are clearly embroiled in a heated dispute when elections are knocking on the door. Campaigning got an ugly twist when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was slapped during AAP's roadshow. Incidents like these leave a disappointing remark on society's part. And, while that somehow enraged a dispute between BJP and AAP, the pamphlet incident only aggravates it. AAP's accusation on BJP was natural and so was BJP retaliation. Political parties often indulge in ugly public spats, denigrating the other, sometimes severely. Take Rahul and Modi for instance. Both have left no stone unturned to denigrate the other throughout elections. And, in their witty ways, they have ensured that their words find the audience. Proxy war of words outlines the difference of opinion but it does not have to be unfair and severe. It can be a simple statement of thoughts and that would suffice. It does not have to transform into a daily soap from Indian Television where drama is the viewer-centric element necessary to keep the viewership intact while simultaneously entertaining them. Political campaigning with the right words, where one does not necessarily denigrate the other, is feasible and ethical. A candidate's show of strength through promises for the country, thoughts over development, remedies to adversities and solutions to gaps is essentially an effective form of campaigning. That is, after all, what society wants to hear before they provide their mandate. Mentioning Rahul Gandhi's father was nowhere relevant to the current situation and neither was Rahul's remark of 'Chowkidar chor hai' which attracted legal attention. The two stalwarts of the two biggest parties of the nation have definitely set a precedent, if not done by those before them. A precedent of public denigration at the cost of retaliatory action attracting criticism as a byproduct and yielding public consonance, which in all likelihood is linked to an assured mandate. Nowhere has thought been spared whether their actions may deteriorate the democratic polity of the nation. Stooping low to procure advantage, and that too on the biggest platform where millions can hear, has been a historic low for democracy in this country. One wonders if campaigning for your party invariably means denigrating others' for the underlying objective then seems to eliminate choices and remain as a solitary option for consideration. How is that a competition then? Democracy envisages a healthy competition between parties which comprise the very people and a representative government of people.

While no restraints have been exercised by candidates, EC also has been a quiet cat. MCC violations have been more or less like spelling mistakes, that too in non-language papers. While MCC enjoys a wide purview with Constitutional powers as vested in the Election Commission, it is not reckoned as a deterrent. If it had been so, we would have not been treated to so many MCC violations and pertinent sub-judice instances of same. And while we had to cope with verbal violations across communal lines and hate crimes, slanders entered the fray. There was no reason for slandering any candidate yet Atishi's reputation was damaged through the pamphlet incident when it is a matter of pride that we have more and more women entering the political fray. Instead of appreciating her candidature, vested interests have made attempts to damage her rep. And for what? Does damaging her image through sexist remarks help reduce her popularity? That has been the ambition because there is no other explanation for such a cowardice move. It also apprises the nation of how women are treated in the political fray. While this incident reinvigorates Atishi's resolve to enter politics and change things as the most optimistic takeaway from such a miserable incident, it also asks people whether they approve of this sort of behaviour irrespective of the perpetrator. After all, sidelining the mind that stooped so low to think of this act, it is the people who aided in facilitating the act and more who laughed while the majority who kept silent. Collectively, they gave Atishi the most miserable welcome while an apprehensive Gambhir threw the defamation card to safeguard himself while declaring that he'd withdraw his candidature should his involvement be proven. Democracy has witnessed ugly spats and all in pursuit of appeasing people to be voted to power. Such a mindset is not familiar to people's government; it rests more on personal whims.

Editorial

Editorial

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