Has democracy and the Indian voter matured? It seems so. For the first time we are witnessing the moving away of the electorate from the usual issues at election time and a growing assertion of what they want to be addressed. In this the media especially the electronic media has played a very important role.
The awareness created by the media by relentlessly pursuing the exposed corruption in the government brought the sheer callousness and impunity, with which public funds and property are treated by elected politicians and officials. positions of trust are used to enrich oneself at the expense ofthe public exchequer.These exposures lowered the image of the government and ruling coalition considerably ,especially amongst the young and also the first time voters.
Another aspect is the growing aversion among younger Indians to dynasty politicians. When increasing number of Indians have to compete to get jobs, any one parachuting, because of family connections is now increasingly resented. It is no longer a level playing field. This is seen as an unfair practice especially when these family politicians will decide the destiny of millions of Indians.
There is a growing awareness that the person at the top should be a decisive personality and should have both the authority and responsibility for his actions. He should not have someone looking over his shoulder.
There is a tremendous yearning in the voters for the agenda of development. This is because people want their surroundings to be developed into world class levels. They also want development to generate jobs. Infrastructure development is keenly advocated. The rural areas of the country want their areas to be developed to reduce the urban rural development divide.
For the first time voters do not seem to be interested in secularism and communalism debate. These are seen as deflection strategies by the major parties so that focus is shifted away from developmental issues.The young want an inclusive development agenda and not endless debates on secularism.
However in reality are the political parties understanding these needs and issues of the electorate. The answer would be both yes and no. The parties are aware of the issues but find it difficult to address as their party structures are not yet capable of delivering on them. They are so used to divide and rule techniques before every election that out of sheer compulsion they have again resorted to it.
So we find the secular vs communalism horse being mercilessly and endlessly flogged again. So familiar and at ease are the parties that they almost are relieved that it is again a major issue.Every party member can speak on it.
Ask them to speak on development issues which they will do in the coming years and they suddenly turn deaf. Another favourite topic is the 2002 Gujarat riots vs the 1984 Delhi riots. Their eloquence on it is unbelievable. Ask them on development and they suddenly become speechless. A few words here and there is all they will mumble out.
Certain political personalities on both sides are to be endlessly criticized. Different party spokespersons have mastered it on particular politicians. Ask them about economic development leading to jobs creation and they speak in adjectives taking no positions.
Inflation,price rise,rupee value,etc are issues to criticize the ruling party but offer no solutions.
e electorate will still go in larger numbers to press the button on the electronic voting machines. The Parliament will get formed. But once again the expectation of the voters and elected MP's will be different from each other.