Comments on: Do Indian voters really choose? Perspectives on South Asian politics Thu, 02 Jun 2016 08:03:22 +0000 hourly 1 By: Sachin Mon, 22 Dec 2008 16:59:00 +0000 Recent case in IL about selecting governer shows there are flaws in democracy of every nation. No need to compare our election system with US. Atleast when I was there they showed much respect to our democracy.
It depends on peoples and not parties who produces leaders or candidates. In UP, Bihar we vote for all time criminals who are capable of winning the seat from jail.
In South we respect actors rather than social workers. In west bengol I dont know where we are heading same party ruling them but things are in same place where they were at time of independance.
We allways vote for parties and not peoples and thats where we fail.

By: sunil Fri, 19 Dec 2008 03:39:11 +0000 it is the great opportunity that we got to select the people who is going to rule us.People are really interested to select their ruler.But unfortunately present UPA govt. Is giving main ministry posts to the purchasable members.
Including the post of PRIME minister .
IN that case no need to be proud of being an democratic country citizen.
Because of such action people(specially younger generations) are not at all showing interest

By: Vipul Tripathi Thu, 18 Dec 2008 10:29:21 +0000 I agree with Sayantani.
A sound polity is not based on individuals a la Rahul Gandhi or Mayawati. It is based on sound structures like intra party democracy for one.
Every movement or party should be judged by the same standards. High standards in public and political life cannot be dubbed elitist.That is an elitism everyone should aspire to and expect from others.

By: Sayantani Wed, 17 Dec 2008 17:21:47 +0000 Cheri’s erudite comments are confusing me, but I’d like to point out that there are no movements in India. A movement, I believe, should be beyond the all-consuming system, but will have to work to get reforms into that same system.

BSP is not a movement any longer. In fact, I don’t think it was ever a movement. It was, as usual, an attempt to set up something different, which soon became embroiled in the same mess as the others.

And I think elite bashing is so cliched. That Mayawati, the saviour of dalits, drips diamonds doesn’t seem to upset the same people who take digs at the elite Rahul Gandhi.

By: Kabeer Wed, 17 Dec 2008 11:05:25 +0000 On the point of democracy within political parties, I can comment first hand, that there is a lack of courage within the political establishment within the country to go down that road. Reason is simple: much above the party, electorates identify far greater with the candidate. In most cases, parties are not willing to take the risk of stepping over a winning-candidate in favor of a democratic process. This again brings me back to question all, how do we as people really see democracy within the country?

The point of Obamaisation is completely bogus. First, in India there is no constitutional provision to elect one man to a top job through direct election. Second, even if there were such a provision, it would be completely absurd for a nation of 100-crore (over 40% illiterate, most without TV etc) to know who the best person to vote for amongst 2-3 candidates. Therefore, it only makes sense in our present scope of social fabric to have people elect parliamentarians who in turn choose their leader to be the Prime Minister of the country.

By: Kabeer Shrivastava Wed, 17 Dec 2008 10:56:10 +0000 There seems to be a class of self-proclaimed thought-leaders in India, discarding the fact that there still is political intellectualism in the country. In such absence, which is what seems to be suggested here, two situations could have been:
1) Either we are a group of uncaring citizens, who’ve let ourselves be governed by a pot midgets unworthy of being even in a circus?
2) We have a political setup which looks around itself to find candidates of worthy causes, and fails to find anyone better than a charged criminal?

We are so quick to blame, not quick enough to accept a blame. Media should first inter-investigate it’s role in the dislocation of our democratic process. The feeling is – media covers what sells. So Cheri may be right in saying the media’s paper flows in the direction in which the wind is strongest. We are likely to witness a revolution in the role of media in democratization of India politics, only, once ad-revenues may be set aside in favor of a greater role of being the voice of the nation.

By: Cheri Wed, 17 Dec 2008 05:16:05 +0000 @Sid, only a very elitist view can prompt a comment that India’s “common people” are not serious about that vote and waste their franchise. That is the habit of the beautiful people of India, whose idea of political engagement will not and cannot go beyond inane statements on television and candle holding jamborees.
Democracy has one inherent virtue that makes it superior to any other political system: it allows the recall of any leader at the end of five years. The Indian electorate has used this strength. As a framework for understanding this, but the rather lazy and sloppy term “anti-incumbency” should suffice here.
Rahul Gandhi and his sister and his mother could not stem the rot in the Congress. Rather, baba’s campaigning lost a few seats in the last legislative assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Evidence contrary to the assertion the Indian common man treats the Gandhi family as a royal family.
So yes, democracy may not choose the best leader, but it certainly lets you boot out a bad one !
The idea of democracy is to represent the people of the political system in the widest possible manner. That is what I have meant in my comments. This is not a threat, but a stabilising measure. The ground for insurgencies is in the lack of voice that marginalised groups have. If the political system ignores sections of society, one is potentially staring at civil war.

By: sid Tue, 16 Dec 2008 16:00:07 +0000 If you mean that political parties should replicate the same democracy structures that exists in the country then you probably need to think deeper on the consequences.

Did our democracy choose correct people most of the time? No. Was Indira Gandhi a perfect choice for a PM among her contemporaries? No. Was Nehru? May be. Was Rajiv Gandhi good choice for a PM if you consider his contemporaries? No. We have treated that family as our royal family every time we were asked to choose between a “royal” Gandhi and a non-royal non-Gandhi (well, some times no, but not every time an emergency is declared).

Given current political environment if inner party democracies are a reality then we would see coalition forming for the candidacy.

US of A may have some inner party democracy but that did not stop them from electing Nixon or two generations of Bush.

Let us face it, if our common people are a bit more serious and learned about making their choices about the candidates we would not have gotten where we are today. And that should be the true motive of our democracy: A skilled and learned man selected by a learned mass. Alas, I would not see such a thing in my life time.

By: Vipul Tripathi Tue, 16 Dec 2008 13:34:51 +0000 I don’t think you can tar all the media with the same brush.

There have been supposedly right wing newspapers giving space to dalit diaries.Even issues edited by dalit intellectuals.

The media has overall been diverse in content and views though it could definitely do more.

Let me leave you with a thought.
From Omar Khayyam:

“Myself when young did in earnest frequent doctor and saint/
and heard great argument/
About it and about and ever more/
Yet came out of the same door as in I went.”

By: Cheri Tue, 16 Dec 2008 13:09:41 +0000 The BSP was ignored because it was a dalit movement and the Indian media has its upper caste/class biases. Look no further than the hype created and the plugging done at the creation of the rag-tag Lok Pariytrayan, just because of its social profile and its association with the hallowed IIT/IIMs.
That also highlights another point: the media, much like Dickens’ law, is an ass. The “if the media had paid more attention (to) the BSP,” is contrafactual as it the media WOULD not have paid attention to the early BSP, much as it did not to the DS4 or the BAMCEF, because its fundamental inability to do so.
The media is also a paper tiger, and like paper sways the way the wind blows. Look no further at the war-mongering following the Mumbai attacks, with no understanding of the costs of a nuclear war.
To expect social change from an ill-informed media is
foolish, and I would submit, very dangerous.