By Vijay Darda | 14-05-2018
As the dust and din of electioneering settles in Karnataka, the unanswered question is why were public issues left untouched during the campaign?
The fate of the candidates has been sealed in the EVMs and who will win and lose in Karnataka will be revealed when the election results are declared tomorrow. People are the biggest power in democracy and they have exercised their franchise. As soon as the results come, the post-result analysis will begin and the analysts will go into the reasons for victory and defeat. One party will celebrate and the other will go into huddle. This is what happens after every election. It will happen in Karnataka too.
The significant thing is that there will hardly be any discussion on the nature of the campaign. If an analysis of what has happened during the campaigning is not done then its direct impact will be on our democracy. If mistakes made today are not corrected tomorrow then there will be no hope of future becoming better. I was keeping an eye on the Karnataka election campaign because the bigwigs of the country had been campaigning. The Congress had the challenge to retain power and the BJP was keen to wrest the same from it. Naturally, the fight was tough between them, and everyone was trying his best to keep the people on their side. There is no harm in it, but the way the politicians stooped low and indulged in wanton campaigning, shook the faith of the people who believe in the sanctity of democracy. Not only in Karnataka but people from other states also were hoping that the government will count its achievements in this election and the opposition will tell that everything is not right. The two sides will draw the blueprint for Karnataka and the people will vote for those whose plans they will agree with, but Karnataka’s election campaign became bitter.
At the grassroots level, such low level allegations were flung at each other that every good man was worried about which direction our democracy was headed to? History was twisted in such a way that even those with a smattering of history were disturbed at the distortion. Why did they resort to this kind of misinterpretation of history? Is effort being made to change history too? The old symbols were dragged into the election and the statements made against reality. Nobody understood why lies were being served to the masses. The speakers of untruth should understand that this is the age of information revolution and any lie can be detected immediately. Had it not been better if this election would have been fought on the local issues of Karnataka?
Karnataka is constantly in the grip of drought. 72 per cent of the state’s lakes have dried. The ponds and lakes in the villages have dried up too. Unemployment problem has taken a serious turn in rural areas. Karnataka is facing trouble as the government is not able to solve the issue of Cauvery river and Mahadeyi river. Road condition is bad in many parts of the state. All these issues were discussed extremely superficially. It would have been better had these issues been kept before the people and solution suggested. Karnataka would have sent a good message to the whole country, but unfortunately effort was made to polarise the masses in the name of caste and religion. There are many monasteries with different beliefs in Karnataka. There are 400 monasteries of the Lingayats and about 150 monasteries connected with the Vokkaliga community and it is believed that these monasteries wield considerable influence. That is why every party leader turned towards these monasteries and tried to get votes in the name of religion. Setting electoral politics in the lap of religion is not right for democracy by any measure.
Like the other states of the country, the issue of farmers’ suicides is serious in Karnataka too. But during the campaigning, the leaders remained silent on this basic issue. The BJP also did not try to corner the Congress government in Karnataka on this issue because in BJP-ruled states too, the farmers have been committing suicide. In this era of science and development, there should have been discussion on what benefits can be given to the common man but unfortunately, this could not happen in Karnataka. Indeed, when politicians do not have a satisfactory plan on issues related to the common man, they harp on the faults and shortcomings of the others. This has happened in Karnataka and it can be assumed that the states going to the polls next will witness even more dirty campaigning. So the question is how will this game stop? I think the political parties need to first understand the democratic norms of decency and work out ways to observe restrain.
Before I conclude…
We have heard stories of bravery of Army officers and soldiers on the border. But they display the same bravery even when they are in civil dress. Lieutenant Ashish was travelling on board Amritsar-Dadar Express last week. At about three o’clock in the morning at Hazrat Nizamuddin station, two dacoits were robbing a passenger with a knife. Lieutenant Ashish immediately jumped from the upper berth and pounced upon the dacoits. Though the dacoits stabbed him, Lieutenant Ashish courageously took them on, forcing them to jump from the train. My salutations to Lieutenant Ashish!
Yun pagadiya na uchhalo dusaro ki
Kabhi waqt unka bhi aayega.
Baat karo muddo ki ae dost
Jamana palatate der nahi lagati..!
Who ultimately will win in Karnataka shall be known tomorrow. There will also be analysis of defeat and victory, but the question remains as to why the public issues were sidetracked during the campaign? Why do politicians play dirty games of flinging mud at each other? Why do they not uphold the norms of democracy?