DailyPost 2398

While the India constitution barely prescribes for any qualification for being a candidate to fight elections, political parties have their diktat above and beyond it. If you were to ask for the ticket of any big party based on the qualifications provided by the constitution, you can in for a very big surprise. Universal adult franchise was bestowed on the citizens of India and as correlation the candidature was also be decided on the most frugal qualification. It was meant to make democracy as representative as it could be. It would also open a million dreams to contribute to the might of the nation.

But that was not to be! Filters keep on getting added to any open system by the vested interests. This was no different. The word in maximum circulation during the process of big political parties deciding on their candidates for different constituencies is Winnability. A word which has become a part of the election lexicon now. No party defines what are the parameters for Winnability is never made public. You can keep imagining what it could really be and generally people have a fair idea of it based on the nature of candidate and consequently on the random sampling of elected representatives.

That Winnability is not defined in any article of the constitution is not the issue, the issue in question is that a huge chunk of the population is keep out of the net out of which the candidates are selected. How many of us Indians are ready to spend even the amount which is permissible for electioneering? That elections do not happen in the prescribed limits of expenditure is a known fact. Given this fact you can well imagine the fire our elected representatives would be having for social service.

Your talent, merit, expertise, clean and neat professional track record in any area or work in civil society or demonstrated capability to deliver growth does not even merit attention in whatever is the formula of Winnability. All the streaks of excellence which are required to translate the manifesto into reality are not required. All these fit into the formula of Doability. That is in no way anyone’s concern. Who gets elected to deliver? Are elected representatives even tasked to deliver? We have created an inverted democratic pyramid. Winnability has all the elements for which democratic polity was not created; money power, muscle power, stranglehold over the constituency, dubious track record, unstinted loyalty to the political party powers that be are few of the chequered parameters.

Sanjay Sahay

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