DailyPost 2339

Legally and technically democracy is a simple form of government. India tryst with democracy has been the other way round. It would remain simple as long as the main stakeholders allow it to remain that way. While the lip service swearing to democracy is the most notable declaration being made by all and sundry at the drop of the hat. Might be they have picked up only that much and they feel this is the beginning and end of democracy. How much of Civics has our ruling class has read and understood while in school and political science and constitution while in college.

When the theoretical grounding itself is not there, what sort of practice will emanate out of it. For most of the practitioners, they cannot test their acts on the touchstone of democracy, they might never reach that level, they do what is being practiced and over a period of time, what they can get away with. With such atrocious democratic thought processes, seventy-five years is a long time, to create an alternative democratic narrative. This is the de facto democracy and what is there in the books is the de jure. The camouflage has to be maintained, as it suits all vested interests.

The alternative democratic narrative has reached such levels, that whatever you lay your hands on in an alternative narrative. There is absolutely nothing copybook, classical and democratic both in word and spirit. We have thus been unable to create democratic traditions and conventions that we can be proud of. That we have elections on time and put democratically elected governments in place is the sine qua non of Indian democracy, how we manage the backend of democracy is no one’s concern. The alternative narrative has passed the stage of dark underbelly and come out in the open.

The alternative democratic narrative says that winnability is the main criteria for somebody to be given a ticket. Crime and criminality would not come in way of democracy, has been unanimously decided by all political parties. A law breaker being a law maker has become the order of the day. An elected representative is ready to leave his seat to defect and then fight the election to come back to the same house for the same term with a different political tag. Defections rule where democratic convictions don’t exist. Corruption and crime do not carry any democratic stigma. The cost of elections no one has been able to calculate. The steel frame of bureaucracy which was supposed to provide steel administration has got wedded to the narrative to democratic pliability. Coalition governments run on crutches of benefits, favour, gain and what not, and strong governments run their style of alternate democratic narrative. The list is endless. Where does Indian democracy go from here?

Sanjay Sahay

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