Many years ago,during ;a visit to USA, I befriended a finance official who was a citizen of a small African nation. During conversations with him I asked him, why is it that most of the time there are revolutions in many African countries leading to considerable bloodshed and change of leadership.The answer he gave me has always stayed with me and whenever elections are held in India, I remember him.
The scholarly African told me that he has visited Inda a few times and is reasonably knowledgeble about its politics. He stated that whenever elections are held, Indians. if they sodesire, can throgh the ballot change the Government peacefully. However, in many African countries, the person in power can be removed only by the bullet ,even if in a few of these countries, elections are conducted which however are sham in nature. I understood and for once felt proud of our democratic system.
Today the results have been declared in the five States that had gone to polls recently to elect their state assemblies for the next five years.
The people of West Bengal have voted out theCommunists who were in power for the last 34 years, a record in continuous governship of any state. They fell to the rising popularity of the fiery and fearless lady, Ms Mamta Bannerji, leader of the Trinamool Congress party. Till a few months back it seemed impossible that the Communists would be voted out of power after having ruled the State for a continuous period of 34 years. However Ms Mamta who had been fighting the Communists since nearly two decades single handedly, accelarated her campaign and successfully emerged as a viable alternative . The people acknowledged the same and voted her party into power by giving her nearly a two thirds majority. The mighty Communists were squarely humbled and power had changed without bloodshed and through ballot and not bullet.
In the another state of Tamil Nadu, the Chief Ministerof the ruling party since last five years. had divided the state between between his sons and daughters, as if he was a king. Rampant corruption was order of the day and only the family matterd. The state and its residents were being systematically used, enriching the family members. The party is in coalition with the Congress party at the Centre and some of its MPs are Central Govt Ministers. One of the party's minister is behind bars for being involved allegedly in the biggest scam in the history of the nation so far. The allegation is that money was being made by selling 2G spectrum at very low rates to chosen few operators and part .of the same was being diverted to party in the state. Why the Congress chose to fight election in coalition with the party is a big mystery. A case was being made out that the rural population of Tamil Nadu did not understand this scam and the ruling party would be voted back to power. There was a genuine fear tha the party may be voted back to power. As usual the voter was waiting for his turn and when it came the party was defeated lock stock and barrel. The opposition party was voted to power with nearly 85 % of the seats in its favor in the assembly. Once again the power had changed hands without bloodshed and through the ballot and not bulet. I remembered the African. However recently his country was in news because the government had once again been changed by use of bullets following a long drawn struggle. I wonder does he remember me.