DailyPost 2317

What does a politician do most of the time and most of the times large number of his family members too? They spend in socializing. Anything you do in politics since the days we got independent is with people as the target. It generates all the political capital to take off. They are required for show of strength at times of crisis, a large do or die brigade ready to be at your beck and call, seems to be a must for proving your democratic worth. That most of the people are not interested in doing anything proactively for politics or in politics is a given.

The harsh reality is that the political juggernaut has to move. The relationships politician builds up from his young days would last for a lifetime, increasing in number and intensity as time passes by and the political stature of the person keeps growing. If it doesn’t take off vertically, at the barest minimum he would like to consolidate his position at the horizontally, in his geographical area, you may loosely call it his fiefdom. His utility depends on what he has to offer to the leader above him in the political ladder. Herein comes the crux of the matter and the role of political socializing and political interpersonal relationships in Indian political life.

Votes remain the single most independent asset in Indian politics. The capability and the acumen to get legislators to support, you when you are one of the competitors to lead, is the real killer. In the world of realpolitik nothing works on merit, talent, expertise or any demonstrated ability to deliver. It works on purely personal relationships which he keeps improving upon with more and more of focused socialization. Otherwise, at critical moments, the turncoat practice of Indian politics will come to bite you and you would not know where to hide you head in shame and whom to blame.

This the socializing curse of the Indian politician. He is dammed if he cannot excel in this a art and keep practicing relentlessly. There have hardly been any exceptions. The paradropped ones have a limited span and impact. They never feel like a leader too. A politician has to be available at all milestones of his constituent’s life, for all those who matter, and in turn those constituents perform the same exercise further. Only his socializing being one with as many as possible, delivering some benefits and influence too, does the trick when it is required the most. At the end, he needs the votes and unfortunately that does not happen automatically. In a country, feudalistic in nature, running of emotional familial and societal bonds, intense socializing only pays. It is an individual quid pro quo, given a political format, which has become completely intertwined with Indian democracy.

Sanjay Sahay

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