COVID AGE: POLITICO – GOVERNANCE INSANITY

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COVID AGE: POLITICO – GOVERNANCE INSANITY

With the health emergencies emanating over and over again, in the form of waves and variants of the continuing pandemic, soothsayers are not ready to risk predicting the end of COVID-19. However much we believe that the world will be able to get back to pre-pandemic days and the same style of carefree living, all the available evidence does not indicate the same. The lust of politicians and political parties to be amongst the masses, has cost us heavily. The second wave has not only been forgotten, it seems to have been washed out from our memory. The same stakeholders are back, playing the same game with much greater impunity. It seems they have perfected the game. Electronic and social media has made every election and every political extravaganza a national soap opera.

The obsession of the political class for large human congregation of every type, as the only solace and passage to political power, is the at the crux of the problem. No able to see what fate the members of the crowd would face by such congregations, even much before the elections, in a COVID scenario, is the political and human mettle our leaders are made of. COVID appropriate governance was to emanate out of this class, which is nowhere to be seen. By the time we reached the counting day last year, the hazard was so huge, that the even the victory was draped in a pall of gloom. The same political executive behaving differently at lip service level, in different administrative and political scenarios even in one single day, makes them the wonder boys of political and governance thought and practice.

The governance mechanism was not ready to implement even the latest of their own orders, for a grave and emergent situation, takes administrative convenience to its next level of administrative insanity. With inherent legal power to deal with crisis vested in the powers that be and still watching disturbing visuals of maddening human congregations, certainly needs a heart of steel. It seems as if the visuals on the electronic and social media belong to a different planet. The behaviour and acts of commission / omission on the part of the executive reaching the courts is not a healthy sign. It went even a stage further when Madras High Court chided the Election Commission of India. Though, it’s not ECI now, but the same sordid saga is in full display.

The audacity of the political class is hitting new heights. While the citizens are ordered to be on a weekend curfew, a political party goes ahead with a mammoth padayatra, a moving procession and super spreader in a simple language. The audacity is taken to a different level when the leader in question refuses to get tested. Enforcement  in COVID times even for COVID restrictions can and will happen, only if it does not rub the political gains the wrong way. For the media this is another event, which needs to be covered for its TRP. Aberrations may again land up in the courts for a few arguments, strictures and some action. ECI may turn out to be a bit more vigilant. All this has not stopped the brazen audacity of the political class and governance failure, whenever it is required the most. All democratic elements have done their job and yet the job remains unattended.

A RADICAL CHANGE IN THE CULTURE AND ETHOS OF GOVERNANCE AND ENFORCEMENT CAN ONLY ARREST THIS DOWNSLIDE.

Sanjay Sahay

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