Politicians haven’t stopped catering to vote bank politics

The political season which usually surfaces after every six years in every Assembly segment of the country is at its full boom in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. All the political parties are shouting with high pitch in-front of the common man, making tall promises with an assurance to end their miseries to influence and attract them in their favour so they could get votes. But soon after these political leaders are voted to power they forget everything. Even it becomes hard for the general public to meet these leaders once they are voted to power. People having high hopes to get their problems solved are even deprived of to meet these leaders by the security personnel at the gates of political leaders’ residences by telling them that these leaders are either out of station or sleeping or busy in meetings or in the ‘bathroom’. Yet people are befooled and their eternal in compelled to caste votes as they are easily targeted by the politicians catering vote bank politics. Despites knowing that these leaders will not solve their problems, people trust on them and cast their votes with renewed hopes that this time their problems will be solved but their hopes are shattered by all the politicians (parities have no relevance as a politician after all is a politician), as being done for past several years. Why these leaders keep on betraying the voters’ despites knowing that they have to face the same public after six years and did not pay any attention towards the solution of peoples’ problems? Why the same promises are repeated after every six years? Should not these leaders take the problems of people seriously? So the trust on politicians could be strengthened. Infect the trust of voters on politicians is weakening day after day which is resulting in formation of coalition governments. As every individual electorate hopes that the new party or the new leader will his problem seriously but it seems a never ending practice. Politicians will continue their way and people will suffer.

The coalition patched up between the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress (I) in J&K following the 2002 elections, collapsed following protests over the Amarnath land transfer. Apart from the communal polarization and wave of anti-India protests that have preceded it, a repeated failure of governance in the past decade also make the 2008 elections crucial. The first elections in Kashmir held in 1951 catapulted the National Conference (NC) under tutelage of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah to power. However the subsequent elections that followed were mired in charges of blatant rigging by New Delhi. One exception to this were the 1977 Assembly elections, held after the lifting of the Emergency imposed by the former Prime Minister (PM), Indira Gandhi, whose party was routed allowing the NC to emerge victorious. However the electoral process lay suspended from 1990 as insurgency gripped the state, only to be rekindled in late 1996. The 1996 elections, regarded as fair, once again catapulted the NC to power. The 2002 elections built upon this process were acknowledged as being 'free and fair' by the international community. Disillusionment with what was popularly perceived to be a corrupt and insensitive government led people to vote for the opposition PDP, which too soon failed on the governance front. Instead corruption and narrow politics, as revealed by the political opportunism of the PDP in the Valley and the BJP in Jammu, over the Amarnath land row, ruled roost. Unfortunately, it is shocking that our governments fail time after time and that even their so called corrective measures are deeply flawed. There is no competent minister to ensure good governance. It is even more shocking that politicians have not stopped catering to vote bank politics and are themselves orchestrating divisive politics.

What happened to the concept of the right person for the job irrespective of caste, religion or gender? Has the Congress forgotten, or maybe not even realized, that the Indian population does not care for divisiveness or our gender/caste/religious differences? And the greatest proof of that is that they voted a party to power that had a foreigner at the helm.
It is shocking that the ruling government will not only keep dabbling in divisive politics but will not even save us from the horrific fall out of it. The Shiv Sena and MNS claimed that north Indians are a menace to Mumbai but it is only them that have held the city to ransom.

It is only their political groups that have repeatedly over months and years vandalized the city, thrashed cab drivers, burnt hundreds of buses, hit and beat innocents on the street, brought the economic hub of India continually to a stand still with forced Bandhs and cost the tax payers thousands of crores in damages and loss of revenue. For years despite our cries for help, politicians did nothing about it and pretty much looked the other way.
It is shocking that despite Mumbai being the economic hub of the country and putting out over 40 percent of the country’s taxes that the city still lacks security and infrastructure.

It is shocking that 50 odd years post independence that as a nation we still lack infrastructure, accountability, transparency and a solid game plan to rid corruption, poverty and terror on our streets.

Our politicians take so much care about their personal security (paid for by our tax money) and care so little about the citizens of the country that elected them.
Despite mammoth budgets for our Defence fund we have ineffective metal detectors to protect the common man, ineffective bullet proof vests to protect our brave forces, and the use of NSG Commandos only for politicians.

It is taken so long for national outrage. However, better late than never and it is time to demand action.

It is time to listen to the people and care for them, because a democracy is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’.

As observed the 2008 Assembly elections seems historic one because of the unexpected large turnout of voters but the terror attacks in Mumbai have overshadowed them. The Mumbai terror attacks have clouded the 2008 polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Surprising many, more than 60 percent voter turnout has been recorded in the first three of the seven phases of the election despite Muslim separatists' boycott call. The global attention turned toward the terror attacks. The elections, which attracted long queues at the places considered out of reach of the voters or where the electorates were seen as hostages to the will of the separatists and militants, were relegated to obscurity. Though there seems is a sea change in the attitude and approach of the people during the ongoing elections and this election could have made its mark in the world newspapers and media, the way people turned out to vote, voice their aspirations for development, road connectivity, bridges, water and electricity. Now it would be the responsibility of politicians to respect the sentiments and aspirations of people and they should focus on development, upliftment of the society and at the most ensure security of the citizens.

See the symbol of the Congress is the hand. The same hand can either caress and comfort the population or slap them repeatedly. The choice is theirs.

Politicians are accountable for what they do and also what they don’t do. Inaction is also action. If politicians don’t stop catering to vote bank politics and show the public visible change in their decades old strategies very soon, I am sure the public will make sure they change these leaders…. Their time to effect change starts…. now!


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