(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
Mayhem of democracy is on grand display in the pre-poll campaigning of State Assembly elections in Karnataka – volatile and acrimonious disruptive and destructive politics.
All political leaders, mostly ineffective, are shamelessly and frequently spreading lies against each other in “No-Holds barred” rhetoric to galvanize opposition to rivals thereby consolidate vote banks. Consequently, pre-existing narrow sectarian and parochial divide based on caste and communal lines are further widening social disharmony on irretrievable lines.
Of course, pre-election manifestos are spouting quack populist social welfare and economic remedies – promising the “Moon”. No dearth of scandals and scams engulfing Kannadiga society. Spreading falsehoods and rumors are quite easy. In sum, they portend the irretrievable downfall of democracy.
Most important is the dubious roles played by media houses to add fuel to fire. All the ‘bigwigs’ of the visual media descended on the battlefield of Karnataka with one media house drubbing it as “WARNATAKA”.
Heading the list is Prannoy Roy with his team of ‘Pollsters” of NDTV, Aroon Purie and Rajdeep Sardesai of India Today Group, Rahul Shiv Shankar, Navika Kumar and others of Times Now, Republic TV, CNN IBN 18, News X, Mirror Now and so on.
Call them by whatever affiliation and patronage they enjoy, the media houses are at “War with each Other” claiming to be more balanced and truthful than others.
Polarized and irresponsible news media in collaboration with partisan and sectarian groups of experts and elites are spreading paid, fake and fraud news on highly selective basis. Endless is their mindless or endless cacophony with utter disregard to spreading venomous polarization on narrow sectarian lines. Media houses must own their responsibility and accountability for spearheading the demise of democracy.
Riddled by narrow sectarian and parochial rhetoric, how can Karnataka traverse on the course of peace and stability so vital for implementation of progressive policies? Whoever sits in the “opposition’ would make the life of the ruling party a “Hell” for the next 5 years.
Add to it, “Twitter Wars” on the social media networks maligning rivals with callous disregard for their fallout.
Kleptocrats influence (government with corrupt leaders) dominated Karnataka state and society over the past 70 years. Kleptocrats used their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power. “Reddy Brothers” represent only miniscule of Kleptocrats groups.
Corruption has been repeatedly highlighted as the most potent internal security threat by almost all great leaders from pre-independence days. Yet, everyone has failed to counter its gargantuan envelopment of Indian Society. If growth of corruption continues as hitherto fore and the corrupt allowed to go free unashamedly, collapse modern India will be sooner than later unable to manage the contradictions arising out of the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer – widening economic divide.
Be that as it may let me also reiterate that corruption is a non issue what with the entire society steeped in corruption except for a few puritans like former Justice Santosh Hegde and his ilk.
Remember also Karnataka represents the “epitome” of corruption. Let none suffer from illusions on the above count.
Most, ironic and quixotic is the latest Rahul Ghandy’s (RG) hyperbole “Modi’s words and deeds do not match”.
Ipso facto, it is common knowledge that Sonia Ghandy is the fourth richest person in the World – richer than the Queen of United Kingdom. Also, Robert Vadra’s “Rags to Riches” story is well chronicled.
By applying the criteria of disproportionate assets criteria flawlessly and fearlessly members of the “Dynasty” and their “crony dynasty’ would go behind bars.
In retrospect, if “Modi’s words and deeds match”, then the entire brood of the “Dynasty” and its cronies would have been behind bars a la Laloo Prasad Yadav and Sashikala.
Personally, I had been repeatedly highlighting that Modi must “Act or Perish” immediately after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014.
In any other civilized nation, such rank corrupt politicians and their cronies would have all been behind “Bars”.
Unfortunately, all such rank corrupt politicians are projected by media houses in “Bigger than Life Size” iconic images like “Demi-Gods” to the gullible people of India unable to emerge out of centuries old inherited shackles of serfdom.
For none of the leaders believe in propriety; most suffer from narcissistic megalomania – Dynastic VIP syndrome. After all, it is the “Kaliyug Age”. Power is supreme in politics. Mao’s “Power flows out of the barrel of the gun” has been displaced by “Power flows out of the barrel of wealth” in democratic India.
Today, fraud is the game changer. Without recourse to fraud – money, muscle power and media – one may not be able to win elections even at the Panchayat level. Nearly 50 years ago, I came across the statement that “Fame is based on fraud.”
How true it appears to be today in modern India? Majority of our political masters are today the biggest frauds – adept at hiding their weaknesses and exploiting their strengths.
Looking beyond in times to come, optimists may like to draw solace from the disruptive and destructive politics on grand display based on “Destruction is essential for creation”. There is no need to be skeptical or pessimistic.
Out of the “ashes” of ongoing mayhem of democracy based on conflicting narratives and hyperbole, hopefully a new India based on rejuvenated democracy may emerge!
Meanwhile, whoever or whichever political party may emerge winners at the “Warnataka” polls, the loser is modern India and democracy.