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Fighting the fake promises

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By Aarif Qadir

Politics, nowadays, is in sync with the phenomena of making fake promises, wily public speeches, tempting the public and the ensuing public discontent in the aftermath of unfulfilled commitments. As a politician, the more you pledge, the more you fetch in the elections no matter how hollow your manifestos turn out to be in practice. Time comes when the political virtuosos bend under the preponderance of pre-election lies.

 

As a matter of fact, these phenomena are spread in time and space evenly – be it at the state, the national or the international level. Even unfortunate that there’s no legislation or any way to check the political-promise-facade.

Every season of elections sees the politicians making huge halsems, a surge in the peoples’ hopes, all at the hands of quixotic and reprobate politicians. When it comes to deliver, no one is seen around. Ministers turn unapproachable and the public solicitous. What protects them in the future from the public anger is the inherent element of anti-incumbency of the elections. People, by nature, can’t retain the memory of betrayal by politicians that far. The people caught in a state of quandary tend to vote ‘the least betraying’ candidate or the party to power. This way, the less popular regimes and dynasties in the politics make a survival for decades.

As a political party, a unit has two plans. One, to press for less economic burden on the government just after the elections and drag the effective service delivery towards the point of time just before the next elections and two, to deliver promised stuff just before the election.

This ensures that the government is able to safeguard its genuineness at the expense of the public comfort and to produce the vote bank: the perfect twin aspirations of every successful political unit.

An SRO is put into place after the election of a political party/ parties to power. It violates the doctrine of ‘Equal pay for equal work’, lessens the pressure on the exchequer, pushing thousands of educated youth up against the wall. Well, what follows? They call it demographic dividend there which isn’t spared here just to have an edge in the elections. Just when the latter picks courage to vote out the defaulters, the latter promises of’re-examining the SRO’. The youth is sooth! It’s easy to deceive just as it’s easy to be cued. It thinks, “All is well that ends well” and the sense of vengeance that had gotten to flourish for the last two to three years gets a freaking death. And the mendacious politicians are spared for the show of sympathy.

Take next. A year or a half before the next elections an announcement is made – the phased regularisation of the daily-wagers. A huge vote bank of not less than 60000 families is shown the ‘ludoo’. May be all of them don’t know it but I do. It’s not going to happen sometime soon. To think in the boots of a potential beneficiary, “If the promising party comes to power in the upcoming fray, I’ll be the beneficiary”. The promise does ensure that thousands of such families will vote in favour of the party making a pledge.

What we generally see around us is that the R & B, NREGA and Finance commission plans tend to execute their plans far better and at a fickle pace during the last moments of any government. This isn’t natural though. This is planned to get away with that inherent Anti-incumbency of elections.

The manifestos come up with the promises of making the borders irrelevant. In reality, the borders are made more relevant. The gaps tend to widen. The bilateral tensions see the height. The youth who are pledged respect and safety are greeted with pellets and bullets. The public which is promised of the withdrawal of AFSPA is frisked and slapped on a daily basis in the streets, off their duties and down in the markets. A street vendor who is promised of a license to conduct his feeble business with respect has to pay commissions to the corrupt officials to increase the number of his business days. The expelled Pandits who are promised of reintegration and reabsorption in the Kashmir milieu are fed with continual despair. The youth who are promised transparency in the recruitments are made to see the people with political nexus hitting the selection lists and those deserving become litigants.

There are innumerable incidents to exemplify how fake the promises of our politicians are. Having no expectations from the political parties of today, can we expect the rise of an alternative which can give us a legislation to fight this seemingly innocuous but pragmatically big problem?

Can such an alternative expunge all the deformation our political system is afflicted with? Can we expect the new hope of electoral bonds do the wonder? What if the electoral bonds are made into a single huge unit of political funding which is under a third party and independent institution which can fund the political parties only based on their performance in the previous elections?

These are the speculations. Once incorporated into the system, we’ll surely see how the governance is transformed for better.

(The author is Assistant Professor, Higher Education department and can be reached at: [email protected])