Two Nights before Polling – Mayhem of Democracy

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(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

Nothing is new about the mayhem and mockery of democracy two nights before polling day – 12 May 201 – in Karnataka State Assembly elections.

“Gang Rape and mutilation Beyond Recognition” by “We the People of Karnataka” was real.

“Cash for Votes”, “Fake ID Cards”, “Rigged EVMs”, rigging, booth capturing etc., constituting bizarre and murky politics are real during the “Two Nights before Polling”.

Yes! Elected representatives by ‘hook or crook’ on all sides are “Imamdars” in the game of democratic politics.

“Paid Fraud and Fake News” and “Paid Rigged Opinion Polls” have become part of the game. So also, “Social Media Networks” are hyper active to shape the mindset or psyche of vulnerable and sensitive sections of people by all types of propaganda.

Of course, “Massive Road Shows with paid people” and “Massive Meetings with paid people” have become the norms with utter disregard to financial restrictions.

Luring voters with cash, liquor, rigging, impersonation and EVM manipulation have been promoted, consolidated and advanced during the past 68 years of democratic politics.

Fiat of the “Feudal Lord” or the “Factionist Leader” or “Gang Lord” was the rule of electoral politics between 1950s and 1980s.

“India is on Sale” is a caption that appeared on the visual media channel for a short period.  Such a description also cover part story of Karnataka elections.

Perhaps, more aptly, it should be “Karnataka on Sale for Loot and Scoot”.

Ipso facto, political leaders, parties and candidates have mastered the art and science of murky electoral politics.

Electoral fraud by all known ways and means to somehow win the battle of the ballot box is a reality – money and muscle power to the fore. The present electoral system woefully lacks credibility.

None was bothered about the prescribed Model Code of Conduct in Karnataka elections, which is violated with impunity by all alike.

So called hyper active “Civil Society” of Bengaluru remained silent spectators. Why? Had they been active, surely the Rajarajeshwari ID-cards episode could have prevented.

Let my highlight for the “Civil Society” activists that “Idealists are hypocrites” if they fail to deliver.

Opposing leaders have indulged in disinformation campaigns and mutual recriminations on “No holds barred” approach with utter disregard to their fallout on society. Media adds fuel for fire to spill over.

How true and apt was Farooq Abdullah’s candid prophetic lamentation at the Special Conclave of India Today at New Delhi on 31 March 2008 that “every election in independent India has divided people?

Kannadiga society has been divided on caste lines (Lingayats, Vokkaligas, OBCs, SCs, and STs), religious lines (Muslims, Hindus and Christians) and sub regional lines (North, South, Central and Coastal Karnataka) lines.

Will “We the People” ever change?” Not in the present form of democratic politics.

Let me highlight that there is nothing new in the malpractices highlighted in the media. Well known is the fact that malpractices during “Two Nights before the Polling Date” would ultimately decide the winners besides all other malpractices executed well before the issue of notification of the conduct of elections.

Ipso facto, the malpractice starts with the ‘first step’ – voter registration, revision and electoral rolls preparation by the Election Commission (EC) through the local administrative machinery besides issue of identity cards.

For example, the fake or real ID Voter Card in the Rajrajeshwari Nagar Assembly seat in Karnataka is a good example of how voters enrolment is seriously flawed or manipulated or how voters are denied the opportunity to exercise their franchise or voters are induced by money power to hand over their cards for those who offer them the best reward, which the candidate either uses for rigging through impersonation or denies votes for the rival candidate.

On the polling date, quite a few irregularities including non-inclusion/deletion of names en bloc are bound to get reported.

Not to forget is the delimitation of constituencies by the EC best suited to favor ruling regimes based on the caste, communal and class arithmetic.

In sum, 20 malpractices identified during the conduct of Karnataka State Assembly elections  that stand confirmed and vindicated include: Malpractices in the registration of voters before the elections; Dummy and duplicate voters in the EC’s electoral list; Horse Trading; Dummy Candidates;  Use of Black Money for rallies, ads and votes; Paid, Fake, Fraud and False news; Fake stings; On Line rigging of opinion and exist polls;  False pre-poll promises; Hate speeches;  Misuse of Religion and Caste; Getting “apolitical” to take political stand; Cash for votes; Over-expenditure well beyond the prescribed limits; misuse of state machinery; booth capturing, tampering/rigging of EVMs; and so on.

Who said Indian politicians are clean men of integrity and honesty? In reality and retrospect, they are mostly congenital liars – self centric and egoist.

In sum, credibility of elections is, therefore a bogey. Today, their conduct is mired in controversies despite the best efforts of Election Commission (EC).Unless reforms proposed by the EC are implemented, there is no hope for democracy. Even then, our will political leaders and parties in connivance with “We the People” will found ways and means to circumvent them. Such is the cunning nature of all alike.

Unless fundamental reforms are squarely addressed and implemented, there is no hope for “Real Democracy” as envisioned by its founders. The present system is woefully faulty – “first past the post” concept, fixed term of five years, and no limitation on number of terms, multiple political party contest etc.

Everyone realizes that the ‘First Past the Post’ is seriously flawed. One, candidates win elections with minority percentage of votes out of total votes polled.  Members who got less than 10% votes have also won elections like in J & K. Very few members have won with more than 50% of votes.

Next, parties with less than 30% of votes emerge as single largest party and claim the right to form coalition governments. Other parties whose total votes polled are over 50% and the sections who voted for them having no voice.

Furthermore, politics, today, is increasingly becoming a rich man’s game. First, aspirants pay huge sums to party hierarchy to get tickets – reportedly up to Rs.5 crores. In few constituencies, candidates have reportedly spent over Rs.30 crores. Even at Panchayats level, candidates have spent over 1-2 crores to contest elections for the post of “Sarpanch”.

Finally, the current system allows unlimited tenures/opportunities for the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and MPs/MLAs and all other elected posts. Naturally, it encourages perpetuation of dynastic inheritance thereby making a mockery of democracy.

Some political parties and their leaders may win in the ongoing Karnataka State Assembly elections and form the next government, but the ultimate loser is “Real Democracy”.

Ab8ndantly clear it should from the above, that the “Mayhem or Mockery” of democracy would continue to haunt India basically due to collusions between political parties, leaders and “We the People”. Idealist can fervently hope for change; but only end up as hypocrites.

Two Nights before Polling – Mayhem of Democracy

Nothing is new about the mayhem and mockery of democracy two nights before polling day – 12 May 201 – in Karnataka State Assembly elections.

“Gang Rape and mutilation Beyond Recognition” by “We the People of Karnataka” was real.

“Cash for Votes”, “Fake ID Cards”, “Rigged EVMs”, rigging, booth capturing etc., constituting bizarre and murky politics are real during the “Two Nights before Polling”.

Yes! Elected representatives by ‘hook or crook’ on all sides are “Imamdars” in the game of democratic politics.

“Paid Fraud and Fake News” and “Paid Rigged Opinion Polls” have become part of the game. So also, “Social Media Networks” are hyper active to shape the mindset or psyche of vulnerable and sensitive sections of people by all types of propaganda.

Of course, “Massive Road Shows with paid people” and “Massive Meetings with paid people” have become the norms with utter disregard to financial restrictions.

Luring voters with cash, liquor, rigging, impersonation and EVM manipulation have been promoted, consolidated and advanced during the past 68 years of democratic politics.

Fiat of the “Feudal Lord” or the “Factionist Leader” or “Gang Lord” was the rule of electoral politics between 1950s and 1980s.

“India is on Sale” is a caption that appeared on the visual media channel for a short period.  Such a description also cover part story of Karnataka elections.

Perhaps, more aptly, it should be “Karnataka on Sale for Loot and Scoot”.

Ipso facto, political leaders, parties and candidates have mastered the art and science of murky electoral politics.

Electoral fraud by all known ways and means to somehow win the battle of the ballot box is a reality – money and muscle power to the fore. The present electoral system woefully lacks credibility.

None was bothered about the prescribed Model Code of Conduct in Karnataka elections, which is violated with impunity by all alike.

So called hyper active “Civil Society” of Bengaluru remained silent spectators. Why? Had they been active, surely the Rajarajeshwari ID-cards episode could have prevented.

Let my highlight for the “Civil Society” activists that “Idealists are hypocrites” if they fail to deliver.

Opposing leaders have indulged in disinformation campaigns and mutual recriminations on “No holds barred” approach with utter disregard to their fallout on society. Media adds fuel for fire to spill over.

How true and apt was Farooq Abdullah’s candid prophetic lamentation at the Special Conclave of India Today at New Delhi on 31 March 2008 that “every election in independent India has divided people?

Kannadiga society has been divided on caste lines (Lingayats, Vokkaligas, OBCs, SCs, and STs), religious lines (Muslims, Hindus and Christians) and sub regional lines (North, South, Central and Coastal Karnataka) lines.

Will “We the People” ever change?” Not in the present form of democratic politics.

Let me highlight that there is nothing new in the malpractices highlighted in the media. Well known is the fact that malpractices during “Two Nights before the Polling Date” would ultimately decide the winners besides all other malpractices executed well before the issue of notification of the conduct of elections.

Ipso facto, the malpractice starts with the ‘first step’ – voter registration, revision and electoral rolls preparation by the Election Commission (EC) through the local administrative machinery besides issue of identity cards.

For example, the fake or real ID Voter Card in the Rajrajeshwari Nagar Assembly seat in Karnataka is a good example of how voters enrolment is seriously flawed or manipulated or how voters are denied the opportunity to exercise their franchise or voters are induced by money power to hand over their cards for those who offer them the best reward, which the candidate either uses for rigging through impersonation or denies votes for the rival candidate.

On the polling date, quite a few irregularities including non-inclusion/deletion of names en bloc are bound to get reported.

Not to forget is the delimitation of constituencies by the EC best suited to favor ruling regimes based on the caste, communal and class arithmetic.

In sum, 20 malpractices identified during the conduct of Karnataka State Assembly elections  that stand confirmed and vindicated include: Malpractices in the registration of voters before the elections; Dummy and duplicate voters in the EC’s electoral list; Horse Trading; Dummy Candidates;  Use of Black Money for rallies, ads and votes; Paid, Fake, Fraud and False news; Fake stings; On Line rigging of opinion and exist polls;  False pre-poll promises; Hate speeches;  Misuse of Religion and Caste; Getting “apolitical” to take political stand; Cash for votes; Over-expenditure well beyond the prescribed limits; misuse of state machinery; booth capturing, tampering/rigging of EVMs; and so on.

Who said Indian politicians are clean men of integrity and honesty? In reality and retrospect, they are mostly congenital liars – self centric and egoist.

In sum, credibility of elections is, therefore a bogey. Today, their conduct is mired in controversies despite the best efforts of Election Commission (EC).Unless reforms proposed by the EC are implemented, there is no hope for democracy. Even then, our will political leaders and parties in connivance with “We the People” will found ways and means to circumvent them. Such is the cunning nature of all alike.

Unless fundamental reforms are squarely addressed and implemented, there is no hope for “Real Democracy” as envisioned by its founders. The present system is woefully faulty – “first past the post” concept, fixed term of five years, and no limitation on number of terms, multiple political party contest etc.

Everyone realizes that the ‘First Past the Post’ is seriously flawed. One, candidates win elections with minority percentage of votes out of total votes polled.  Members who got less than 10% votes have also won elections like in J & K. Very few members have won with more than 50% of votes.

Next, parties with less than 30% of votes emerge as single largest party and claim the right to form coalition governments. Other parties whose total votes polled are over 50% and the sections who voted for them having no voice.

Furthermore, politics, today, is increasingly becoming a rich man’s game. First, aspirants pay huge sums to party hierarchy to get tickets – reportedly up to Rs.5 crores. In few constituencies, candidates have reportedly spent over Rs.30 crores. Even at Panchayats level, candidates have spent over 1-2 crores to contest elections for the post of “Sarpanch”.

Finally, the current system allows unlimited tenures/opportunities for the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and MPs/MLAs and all other elected posts. Naturally, it encourages perpetuation of dynastic inheritance thereby making a mockery of democracy.

Some political parties and their leaders may win in the ongoing Karnataka State Assembly elections and form the next government, but the ultimate loser is “Real Democracy”.

Ab8ndantly clear it should from the above, that the “Mayhem or Mockery” of democracy would continue to haunt India basically due to collusions between political parties, leaders and “We the People”. Idealist can fervently hope for change; but only end up as hypocrites.

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