When the word politics comes to our mind, the first thing that arises is nothing but a struggle for power among political parties, political personalities, pressure groups, interest groups, etc. From this perception of politics, it seems to be an activity which can be carried out only by political parties, political personalities, and other interested groups. This perception not only misleads the definition of politics but also distorts the public accountability of political parties and reduces the importance of masses in politics, leaving politics in the hands of a few powerful people who use it to get power and try to stay in that same power.
Does politics only revolve around power? And, does politics only confine to political parties, political personalities, and interest groups? If yes, then, why does Indian constitution enshrine the principles of liberal democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights, socio-economic and political justice, etc.? The principle of liberal democracy ensures free, fair and competitive elections with the active participation of citizens through providing right to vote, right to equality, freedom of speech & expression, right to access information etc., this mechanism ensures public accountability over the manifestation and propaganda of political parties through constantly participating in debates, discussions and arguments. The principle of rule of law ensures that the state must be ruled according to law and every one is equal before the law and no one can go beyond the law, this principle ensures limitation of the power of ruling party and prevents arbitrary decision and discrimination. The principle of justice ensures emancipation of depriving people on their social, economic and political life, this principle imposes responsibility on ruling party for the public good. The principle of liberal democracy not only provides a mechanism for the formation of government but also provides proper function and power for ruling party through which they rule for the importance of national and public interests and provides a meaningful platform for public participation in the decision making. These principles ensure ruling parties rule with wisdom rather than passion and instinct for the commitment of national and public interests. It is sure that politics is not only a struggle for power and confines only to political parties and personalities because if it so, then no role of people, no limitation of power, no responsibilities for national and public interest, no public accountability will be there. Actually, politics is more than the struggle for power, politics is playing multi-functional activities, politics as the function of the machinery of govt., where legitimate authority exercises its power and makes the collective decision on behalf of the nation and community. Politics as the public activity, where a collective decision is binding upon all groups of people and service is done for public good. Politics as a social activity, where it resolves the conflicts of differing opinions, rival goals, and interests through compromise, conciliation and allocation of resources, wealth and income for the purpose to set up tranquility, peace and harmony. In all activities of politics; people, ruling party, opposition political parties, interested groups, pressures groups, bureaucrats are all work together and influence to each other for achieving the national and public goals.
However, in reality, the word of politics use in ordinary life as a dirty in a sense that it is nothing but a means to achieve power at any cost and considered as an activity of powerful who are the main actors to play politics where ordinary citizens have no capacity to involve in it. so, the real question is that why does politics seem as a activity of powerful, political parties, political personalities, pressure groups even Indian constitution ensure politics as a means to achieving national and public good through providing free and fair election, fundamental rights, justice, limitation of power (through separation and decentralisation of power), welfare goals, public accountability, and function and power of govt with check and balances with independent judiciary.
As we already discuss politics is not only struggle for power but more than that, where all people, groups, institutions, government, political parties worked together and perform some activity for achieving national and public gaols. It means politics is the activity of people performed within the territory for achieving something. Politics is not come out alone rather than it is shaped by various factors like other activities, these factors are individual behaviour, social structure, economics, ideologies, culture, morality, and history. So, whatever the nature of politics is there it is definitely shaped by these factors either naturally or artificially. Naturally in the sense that politics is automatic shaped without intervention rather experienced e.g. Indian constitution reflect the nature of Indian politics that it should be a republic, socialist, democratic, liberal, secular, nationalist, and welfare based. This nature of politics according to the constitution was shaped due to historical experienced, cultural diversity, social structures, liberal-socialist-democratic ideologies, and individual behaviours (such as Mahatma Gandhi, B.R Ambedkar, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and other nationalist leaders). Artificially in the sense that politics is shaped by intervention through creating an artificial image of history, morality, individual, culture, social structure and economics for the purpose to achieving power and to stay in that power. However artificial is more effective than natural because it is regulated in practice which is generally experienced during elections in the form of political manifestations, political propaganda, political speeches, debates in media, social media, newspaper etc. This agenda-setting of political parties, political personalities, interested groups convert politics into power politics by controlling the people’s thought and consciousness and creating fake interests for them. Through which politics totally seem to be a struggle for power and confine to powerful.
There are following strategies which are adopted by political parties and political leaders for creating an artificial image of politics in the present prevailing socio-economic and legal condition, these are:
The demand of good leader in politics is more important because his/her image influenced people’s behaviour and motivate them for cooperation on behalf of national and public good by qualities of patriotism, good education, integrity, honesty, political professionalism, charisma, intelligence, responsibility, strength of character, service to the people and bravery. These qualities of good leaders show in their attitude, work, speeches, interaction, and debates. However, In present politics of India, there are many agencies work for creating the artificial image of political leader not only they engage to create artificial image of political leader as a good leader but also creating social, economic and ideological image of political leader, for the purpose to give more benefit to political party in election. E.g. In the social image, it represents that leader belong in Hindu religion, SC or OBC or General category, speak Hindi language, worship god or goddess, these social images attract emotionally most of these groups of people who generally belong in these categories. In the ideological image, it represents that leader is extreme Hindu, an extreme nationalist, extremely moral, extreme anti-Pakistan etc, these images attract emotionally most of these group of people who generally keep these ideologies. In the economic image, it represents that leader come from very poor family, lived in harsh condition, performed poor occupation etc, these images attract emotionally most of these group of people who are poor or deprived or discriminated. In the present context of Indian politics, agencies especially political IT cell, press media, mass media, social media, party members, are totally engaged to appreciate the qualities or identities or achievements of a political leader rather than to focus on national & public policies and national & public interests. This extreme focus on the political leader at the national and local level might lead to making a political leader a charismatic leader, who is considered beyond the legal-rational system and take whatever action without any accountability and responsibility. This will damage the basic essence of the Indian constitution which ensure rule of law, liberal democracy, public accountability, political freedom of citizens and socio-economic and political justice and reduce the Indian politics into political personality.
Every political party and political personalities persistently use and claim national and collective public good in their political manifestation during the election for the manipulation of people to seeking government power. If politics revolve totally around the political leader and political party then politics will be shaped definitely by ideologies of political leader and political party. They, after coming in power, persistently spread their ideologies in every aspect of human and societal existence (history, culture, education, art, economic etc) behind the name of national and public good. This ideological control in every aspect of human existence is used for maintaining power and build the artificial legitimacy of their action without any accountability. The means through which they achieved ideological control over human existence from convert education into ideological indoctrination, convert mass media into political propaganda machine, censored unreliable beliefs, defame political opposition and dissents, disgrace the image of prominent nationalist leaders, suppress all rivals intellectuals, doctrines and belief, allow only source of information which come from the agent of power such as governments and business-backed think tank, divert national and public issue ( e.g. economic growth, inequality, health, education, poverty, empowerment, corruption, employment, socio-economic inclusion etc) into irrational issues (e.g. temple, god and goddess, religion, cow, caste, Pakistan, Jinnah, Nehru, nationalism, patriotism etc ) and advertise these irrational issues in such a manner by which these issues considered as moral issues of society. In the present context of Indian politics, politics has been shaped by ideologies of political personality and political party. Those who have supported these ideologies and loyal to the political personality and party are considered as nationalist and those who criticise any action of political leader and against the ideologies of the party are subjected to atrocities, suppression and most of them have got the stigma of anti-national. This ideological manipulation and hegemony not only damage the essence of Indian liberal democracy but also help to make a political leader a charismatic leader who is considered as the saviour of people as well as the nation. This ideological hegemony not only killed the principle of liberal tolerance which is the basic principle of liberal democracy which ensure and proclaim equal freedom to all citizens but also establish repressive tolerance where rational and intellectual people tolerate govt. action frightfully. This demonstrates that people are submitted their freedom literally into the hand of a political leader and make a political leader a charismatic leader who is immune from criticism and public accountability.
Majority of Indian population are poor, illiterate, unhealthy, homeless, elderly, less educated young etc. These people are not capable and eligible to raise their real interest in comparison to interest groups (such as mass media, IT cells members, political leader, political intellectuals etc) that represent the well-informed, the prosperous, and the articulate stand a better chance of shaping the political agenda and block the expression and participation of others. The real political agenda of present Indian politics to manipulate people behaviour by the creation of fake needs or interests. Fake interest is the creation of an illusionary image of public interest or real interest in pursuance of self-interest of the political leader or party. Issues like person politics, nationalism, patriotism, Pakistan, Ram temple, cow Mata, Nehru, Jinnah, Bhagat Singh, Bharat Mata, election achievements, hated speeches based on caste and religion, Indian army in politics, lollipop promises etc, are these issues persistently insisted by political leader and party in their propaganda and interest groups such as mass media, IT cells and political debaters advertise these propaganda at local and national level in such a manner by which majority of people considered these issues as their real interest and only same political leader and party can save country and people from hostile oppositions and Pakistan. These fake interests actually control people’s thought and consciousness and create false consciousness. Political consciousness is a basic element for the use of political freedom otherwise the meaning of freedom is nothing if people don’t use it for their self-realization, self-development, self-empowerment and social and national progress. Fake interests create a false consciousness which automatic curtail democratic freedom without use of state’s hard power and literally we can say that people’s freedom is submitted in the hand of political leader and give him a charismatic status, who is beyond from public accountability.
Indian elective mechanism is based on the first past the post system in which those political parties that get majority vote would be eligible to form the government. So, it is our false belief that political party purely express the collective or public interest in their political propaganda. So, whatever they claim a national and collective interest in their political propaganda, But, in reality, they create identity politics for getting majority support for their party in the election. Identity politics is that politics, where socio-economic cleavages of society become important for the politics and politicians to give them political identities, these identities called identity politics. E.g. caste-religion-ethnicity based politics, gender-based politics, region-based politics, socio-economic status based politics etc. So, the political party represent the interests of those sectional groups or give preferences to those sectional groups by which they come in power rather than they represent the collective interest of the whole majority.
This sectional based politics destroying the whole purpose of Indian liberal democracy due to following reasons, these are:-
These are some strategies are deeply performed by interest groups for power seeking in existing political system and rooted them in such a way through which politics seem to be a struggle for power and revolve around political parties, political personalities, and interest groups.
These power politics strategies are not only engaged in to destroy the basic essence of our constitution but also destroy the importance of people in politics. Our constitution is the origin of the long struggle of independence which is in danger today due to power politics. Indian constitutional makers delivered constitution to us for its commitment and protection. We have to sole responsibility to protect the constitution and its principles from this power politics. Constitution provides principles from which the Indian nation is created, so, if the constitution and its principles are in danger then it will danger for whole nation include everyone. So, whether they are ordinary citizens, bureaucrats, civil servants, judges, students, journalists, intellectuals, politicians, and everyone have a responsibility to protect the constitution and its principles.
There are following initiatives might be taken for curtailing the power politics in the existed political system, these are:-
These are some suggestions but not all, this article is incomplete without your valuable suggestions.