As India is at the threshold of the last three rounds of the 2014 general election, two things stand out: A cacophonous campaign and a rising level of voter participation. While the second should make us proud, the former is a blemish on our democracy and undermines the faith and confidence citizens have been showing in the voting process.
The campaigns — all parties are guilty of this — have been bereft of any real issues; they have been largely personalised attacks against one another. The discourse till now has been of such low quality that even our municipal election campaigns look much more interesting. Gone are the days when parties used to stick to the regular ‘roti, kapda, makaan’ promises; now it’s more about husbands and wives of the leaders and their personality flaws.
In fact, a good ready reckoner of the level of discourse would be to see the front pages of the national dailies on any day: Hardly any discussion on the problems that the country faces but verbal duels among the leaders.
On Sunday, the BJP released a video and a booklet on the alleged land deals of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra at a press conference in New Delhi. While the Congress defended Mr Vadra, in Rae Bareli an unfazed Priyanka Gandhi said the BJP was behaving like panic-stricken rats but that she would not be intimidated by such “lies” and continue to speak against its “destructive” politics.
If this was happening in the north, in the east it was the Trinamool Congress (TMC) versus the BJP, which is trying to become the third force in the state. Responding to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s comment on TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s silence on the Saradha scam, on Monday the TMC counter-attacked, calling him “a butcher, arrogant and a snob”.
Of course, who can forget the comment made by Baba Ramdev on Rahul Gandhi and Dalits? While he is of little political consequence, Ramdev vitiated an already unpleasant atmosphere further.
These kinds of hit-and-run comments by politicians only show that the political parties entered the fray without doing any homework. By not discussing issues that matter, our leaders are only bringing a bad name to politics.