Mahesh Chander Sudan
We, the people of India, have recently witnessed legislative elections of Bihar Legislative Assembly where in voters have demonstrated a mature novel trend of exercising fractured mandate to tight corner political parties in formation of Government unlike general parliamentary elections of 2019. This has not only left largest political party out of power but also compelled second largest party to assist forming minority Government with the help of third largest political party merely to keep their political rival out of power.This arrangement though remains within the constitutional limits but hardly respects collective mandate of the voters. Pre and post poll alliances are mostly formed by political parties to gain power. However, these political manoeuvers visibly made to attain power rarely serve the interest of people at large. It is also experienced on the contrary that an absolute mandate given to any political party may also prove inimical to the essence of democracy and it may encourage misuse of vested authority by people in power. It is essentially prudent for voters to understand the evolving politics of power for attaining immunity from such situations and they should make judicious use of their constitutional mandate in electing their representatives rather than political entities. We have encountered couple of such situations in the recent past where majority mandate has been compromised by the power of politics.
It is evident that politicians work towards their single objective of gaining power by creating circumstances to convince poor voters for casting their constitutional mandate in their favor. The process though constitutionally established demands furtherance of state welfare through ideologically structured framework to meet national objectives rather than mere political ends. As it is said that there is scope of learning in every event and in that sense legislative election of Bihar offers enough to be picked up by the voters of other states/UTs falling due for elections or likely to undergo electoral process in the near future. The people of newly formed UT of Jammu and Kashmir are though suffering prolonged absence of democratically elected popular Government and do expect the said constitutional privilege getting extended to them in the near future. The present political landscape of the UT is apparently much skewed due to prolonged absence of political activation for reasons well known to most of us. However, the people of the UT have started building some hope out of recently announced DDC elections and look forward for more colorful political environment. Recent development of forming an alliance by major valley centric political parties to counter their political rival conveys their stressed posture rather than a confident one. It is felt that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been bearing with a region specific political approach of local leadership that eventually created a wide regional gap more particularly in the recent years giving way for reorganization of the state by dividing territory into two administrative divisions. At the same time it is expected that local leadership would realize the requirement of changed environment and therefore carry out necessary ideological evolution to solicit mass affiliation of the local voters leaving no chance for money and muscle to orchestrate polarization of mandate for desired manipulation of power like 2014 and recent example of the state of Bihar. A weak posturing by local political parties like NC, PDP, Congress and other small players may affect the confidence of commoners. It is right time to understand that people of Jammu and Kashmir are not moved by caste or religion based politics anymore and are concerned to learn the timeline offered by these political parties for development of the state (now UT) with firm ideological strength.
They are expected to solidify their mass connect to rejuvenate their ground level touch for better appreciation of public mood to realign their ideological approach. Recent announcement of DDC elections by UT administration has thrown another challenge for local political entities to adopt people friendly narratives in place of old rhetoric cry about Article 370 and 35 A. The ground reality indicates that restoration of State Status and Scrapped constitutional provisions may fail to win over the confidence of unemployed youth, migrant pundits, West Pakistan refugees and members of the marginalized sections of the society. No doubt, there is a visible public annoyance in Jammu Province for demoting erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territory that had been acknowledged publicly and partially addressed at the level of Home Minister and Prime Minister of India. Core issues of bread and butter are hardly being coined appropriately to attract collective public mandate by any political player. It appears that the ruling dispensation is attempting to enhance their reach to general public through three tier panchayat system for improving their performance in the impending UT elections.
However, the people of J&K have started ignoring moves of major political parties including BJP owing to deep disconnect and long drawn absence of any visible development, employment opportunities, administrative apathy, poor health services and above all no effective public redressal system despite few studio based cosmetic schemes like back to village designed purely to gain media attention. Educated youth of the Union Territory facing chaotic unemployment for last couple of years have been victimized during the period of transition especially those who have crossed the age criteria for any Government job for no fault of theirs but for manmade tragedy aimed to fulfill petty political ends. This makes these hapless victims to eagerly wait for ideological freshness in the form of new political options like Apni Party or AamAdmi Party or such other new entrants who assure them interactive share in the governance without any social engineering carried for divisive politics based on theological considerations. It therefore may not be an easy sail for political leadership to win over heart and mind of people of Jammu and Kashmir without evolving cotemporary political ideologies in the upcoming elections. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.
(The author is WgCdr Retd)
Mahesh Chander Sudan