Sunday, May 27, 2007

All the King's Men

Indian Presidential elections are just a guessing game with the common public having very little to do with it.

As the debate over the Presidential elections intensifies, the rationality behind the hype eludes me. No doubt, the person occupying the highest civilian post in India is a matter of immense interest, but the parameters within which the discussions are held are skewed.

The sense which is largely created by media that these elections are relevant for the common masses and in fact are driven by their perceptions is false. For, the common man on the street does not have much to contribute in the “selection” of the President.

This post is deliberated upon by the electoral college, as mandated by their respective political parties. There is no real choice as the probable candidates have political backing and are nominated by the parties themselves. Even if one extends the concept of representative democracy the final choice is always with consensus of major political parties and a “suitable” candidate is elected.

In this context, the SMS polls and surveys are merely a speculative exercise with little influence or significance to the election. The notion that the President must be non-political and rooted in real politicks is absurd.

If a true democratic candidate is to be elected then these elections should be conducted in the people’s domain, where citizens cast their votes and elect their President. The recently concluded French Presidential elections may serve as a paradigm. Also, the President’s office will have to be aptly empowered to validate such an exercise.

Until then, the media should call a spade a spade. These elections are merely a matter of political calculations and not a refection of people’s choice. The talk shows, debates and polls which ask the citizens to ‘choose your president’ are futile.

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