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Basic Funda

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Every politician must realise that, given the opportunity to serve as an elected representative to the Lok or the Vidhan Sabha, the following term should be utilised primarily to develop his or her constituency. That should be the fortress from where forays can be made to greater fortune. On the other hand, a neglected or taken for granted constituency can prove a pitfall in challenging times. There are quite a few examples of politicians, who manage even to hop comfortably from one party to another and yet win elections because they have nurtured their constituency with utmost sincerity.

Amethi and Raebareli Lok Sabha constituencies in UP have traditionally been the ‘strongholds’ of the Nehru-Gandhi family over the years. By now, they should have been among the most developed areas in the state if not the country. Unfortunately, that has not been the case as these were taken for granted by the family. The people voted election after election due to a sense of pride at being associated with such eminent politicians. Eventually, that sentiment has worn away and the bastions have been more or less lost. It may even be said that there was a period when parties and politicians actually liked to have poor constituents as they were easier to manipulate and did not have ambitions for themselves. Thankfully, in present day ‘aspirational’ India, the people are much more aware about their rights, and the obligations of their elected representatives.

Then there are the lateral entries into politics who have acquired celebrity status in other fields and are used to obtain support from starstruck voters. Very few of them have justified the trust placed in them. Only those who have served their constituencies well have lasted. Unlike what some may believe, it is a fulltime job. It is not something one does on the side as one pursues a glamorous lifestyle. And if one’s ego transfers on to one’s political identity, downfall is certain. The latest example is that of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who flew high in, both, the BJP and Congress, and is back to doing what he knows best – Cricket!

Hopefully, therefore, the coming crop of parliamentarians will learn the necessary lessons and focus on the most essential duty – that of dedicatedly serving their respective constituencies.