DailyPost 1903

When failure is anticipated in the opportunity provided to deliver, as a foregone conclusion, anti-incumbency gets birth as a concept. Though incumbency is a well-established way of expressing anything related to the incumbent, anti-incumbency as a well-established parlance exists only in politics. Does anti-incumbency not happen in other sectors, where incumbents have grown from strength to strength and have taken organizations, institutions and projects to glory. There is direct correlation with the number of years a person heads the organization and his contribution and delivery. Only if he is capable does he continue beyond a point. Might be he asked or made to head only for that reason.

The main issue is ownership, do you own the job you do and the results of it and that does not happen in politics. When the whole of the state machinery is under you command and you have the resources and the methodology of delivery and govern, then how can you fail? This is the biggest riddle of governance and if not deciphered, deliberately or otherwise, it will keep coming to bite in every election for every single political party and for all times to come. When you know your fate few years down the line and still don’t react to harsh realities of governance, you have already accepted, that you are a non-deliverable and if something good happens, it can be either be a  fluke or chance or one odd good Samaritan working behind the scenes and somebody else trying to bask in that glory.

Good governance with clear cut deliverables is the best way to exist in the game called elections. If any party is able to really fulfill a major component of its manifesto, it will keep coming back to power. But who is interested in that? What is the difference in bringing to life a Metro Project like Delhi and providing quality education in schools? Quality education is just one of the parameters of governance, it can be reached through great amounts of difficulty and then has to be sustained with even greater difficulty. Anti-incumbency is happening when barely any parameter of our existence doesn’t get scrutinized by the electorate in any election whatsoever. If human development indices become the main agenda of the nation, then the political parties would scoot from the political arena.

They would then be born into anti-incumbency. Anti-incumbency also means that the electorate is on a fun ride, changing the governments. Or does it mean that the electorate is desperately trying for someone who can come to their rescue. Does it mean that the political parties have decided not to do anything and also feel that it is better to face anti-incumbency, than make serious effort and deliver. Which party has the acumen to supervise government delivery to transform our existence; this is the cross road where we are today. Anti-incumbency has become a well-established formula in the political landscape of this country and a very acceptable one. They might have arrived in different ships but they are all in the same boat. Government doles of every type is used by our leaders as an antidote to anti-incumbency.


Sanjay Sahay

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