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Dangerous Politics


Politicians obviously have a very poor opinion of the common people. This is why they stoop to the lowest levels in the belief that it will strike a chord with their constituents. It also indicates how desperate they are to acquire power, which raises questions about what they would do if they manage to get elected. It is a rare leader who actually meets the aspirations of the people to any significant level.

Take Punjab Chief Minister Channi’s remark about keeping ‘bhaiyas’ from UP, Bihar and Delhi out of the state. It reflects, of course, the contempt migrant labourers are held in by the general population (despite the critical dependence on them to keep the state’s agriculture going). This is why those standing around the CM laughed at his comment. Unfortunately, the politician from UP, Priyanka Gandhi, too, took no offence, even applauded. She will have a lot of explaining to do when she returns to the UP campaign.

Then there is Navjot Singh Sidhu commenting on Brahmins, unmindful of how he had revealed his mindset. Of course, in certain circles, Brahmin bashing is par for the course, even considered progressive. And now comes the allegation from Poet Kumar Vishwas that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had expressed willingness to be the first prime minister of a future separate nation (Khalistan) and that he is in cahoots with separatist elements.

This, along with the completely unsustainable campaign promises on post-election freebies, should not go unpunished by the electorate. The fundamental principles of the constitution need to be respected. Politicians who conform to the basic norms of decency should not be disadvantaged because they do not stoop to this level for short-sighted gains. Unfortunately, as Gresham’s Law states, ‘Bad money drives good money out of circulation’. The willingness to compromise with unscrupulous and anti-national elements has led to devaluation of Indian politics. In fact, seditious and racist ideologies have plagued politics in South India for several decades, which is why few national level leaders have emerged from there in the recent past. With ‘leaders’ competing with each other to sound more extreme, the larger consensus required to take society and the economy forward is destroyed. This is why traditionally ‘forward’ states like Tamil Nadu and Punjab have fallen behind.

While no person or party is perfect, voters must nudge the political system in the right direction. They have always surprised in the past, even in very predictable elections, by adding that extra twist. They must do so now by sending a clear message to those who would harm India polity in pursuit of narrow personal interests.