Pitfalls of Democracy

We in India take pride in the country being a democracy though some aspects of how it works in our country also shame us. We have political parties, each of whom is supposed to have a political ideology based on which they are supposed to have their cadres, or grass root workers and memberships culminating in executives and controlling leaders at the apex.

2. Pursuit of power (which they prefer to refer to as service to the people) through elections held periodically to form the government, is the avowed purpose of the political parties. Political activity during the interregnum between two elections is kept abuzz by those in opposition through organising protests/agitations/demonstrations against policies and actions of the ruling party while those in the ruling party organise counter demonstrations to defend the policies and actions of the ruling party. In organising such demonstrations/agitations, the cadres and members of the parties concerned play an active part in mobilising support of the public at large. The cadres and members thus play a vital role in sustaining public support for the respective parties.

3. Naturally and obviously, all cadres aspire to share the pie if and when their party comes to power in return for the hard work they put in for sustaining support for their parties. But unfortunately, their leaders who have it in their power to reward them, have other ideas and at the root is their own instinct for self preservation or promotion.. They too want to retain or win electoral support for their parties but promoting their cadres is not their primary concern and, in fact, they are all too ready to dump the cadres or members if they perceive that the party’s race for power may be better served by favouring those who may not be normal sympathisers of the party but just eyeing it to better their own prospects by siding with what appears as the winning horse.

4. Come election time and there is a feverish run for party tickets to fight election. Some who have tasted power, or have an irresistible urge to taste it, want a party ticket by hook or crook and to satisfy this desire, they do not mind jumping parties, joining even those whose professed ideologies are diametrically opposite to what they have been professing so far. Such people are dubbed turn- coats and to the dismay of people at large,this does not hurt them. This may be understandable but what is surprising and even shameful is the willingness of the parties they are seeking to join to welcome them, some times even at the cost of their loyal cadres or members just because they perceive that such turn-coats have a greater chance of winning the election than their own members. All some of these turn-coats have to offer is their muscle and money power. Thus parties without exception give up all pretense to principles or ethics and have no compunction about being seen as brazenly running for power.

5. Five states in India are due to have elections to their State assemblies between February and April, 2017 and the country is witnessing an unseemly spectacle of candidates jostling for tickets. Ambitious people are changing parties like they change their clothes and some are being welcomed for doing so. Admission of turn coats into the new parties is giving rise to rebellions by old faithfuls of those parties. This is causing distress and even shame to the people at large who are equally disdainful of the turn-coats and the parties who accept them. Because this goes to show that power is the sole objective of those pursuing politics and service to the people a mere ploy. Voters do punish the turn-coats and their parties by not voting for them but they also take into account the over-all composition of the party they chose to vote which some times results in even the turn coats winning.

6.Democracy would be much purer if such pitfalls were avoided. The only alternative is that parties should not encourage turn coats and stick to their principles and ideologies at all costs.

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