Millennium Post

The electorate has spoken

The aim of governance is not to achieve uniformity but to ascertain fair opportunity and equal access to all, writes Gaurav Liberhan

The people of India have once again entrusted the destiny of the country to representatives of their own choosing. The consent of the governed, the essential feature of all democratic arrangements of administration and rule, has been obtained in a free and fair manner. Yes, there were voices of concern regarding the method of the ballot, but no one really gave it a second thought. The sanctity of the process is now fairly well established.

The noise of the winner is part of the celebrations and is legitimate. Notwithstanding the ugliness and the mutual hostility of the election campaigns, the result has to be accepted across the entire spectrum of the country. Election campaigns are always ugly and even more so in our part of the world. Those in the contest and in hope of capturing the imagination of the voting public, have to create an emotional connect with the hearts of their electors. International relations and achievements of governments are relevant for sure, but do little to win and influence the minds of the voting public. It is, indeed of little consequence if our nuclear arsenal is ten times the rest of the world; it is only one's proximate environment and the comfort derivable from that which is the biggest concern. Access to civic infrastructure, economic opportunities and the ability of the governors to lend a willing ear to my grievances are some of my considerations as a voter. There is no complicated ideology or a governance philosophy that really makes sense, but a degree of fair play and justice by the dispensers of governance, and it should be in evidence, that pleases our voter more than anything else.

The big question on everybody's minds is: will we get good governance, a fair chance for all citizens and a genuine effort to create abundant prosperity for all? 'For all' is the key concern. The rich already have a preference share in the fruits of the economy. It is the rest – how much is the rest– that is struggling? The rest is a vast majority, almost 70 per cent or so, that needs hand-holding in their endeavours. Education, employment, health, and a clean environment is the long list of needs. Do we have the government that can deliver?

Above all, do we have the instruments of delivery? Indeed, we have a sizeable bureaucracy, domain expertise in most areas, access to technology which if applied properly make management of volumes an easy task. Our record so far has been modest. Even though the fairness of the systems establishes it is authentic, yet we are not able to practice the ethics of public transactions to the needed extent. Institutions mandated to perform public services continue to fail in the delivery of services or do so in a lackluster manner or with so much delay and render it useless. That will have to change because there is a huge impatient population waiting hopefully to pursue their excellence once the basics have been taken care of.

It is true that the vastness of the country and its diversity will pose challenges of governance. But the aim of governance is not to achieve uniformity but to ascertain fair opportunity and equal access to government platforms. So long as fair play is the underlying strain of public transactions, there is no fear of a disappointed electorate. Only when biases and prejudices enter our considerations for any decision-making process, we lay ourselves open to public abuse. This is the moment of hope and an expectant eye on the future of the country. The integrity of our government has to move up the ladder to bring us the world power status we desire so much.

(The views expressed are strictly personal)

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