I am sure that during our academic years there was always a chapter in history related to the concept of “idealism”. In general terms, it would mean how things are meant to be or how work needs to be done. Individuals who believe in this concept are termed idealists, whose idea is that over long periods good will prevail. But this concept has less significance at present where the practicality of a scenario is given more importance.
This situation suits well considering a few instances that have taken place in the Indian political arena. A clear example is the ongoing situation in Rajasthan, where the elected CM Ashok Gehlot and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot are at loggerheads. It has led to a scenario where the incumbent Government might be out of power, although there are other reports which say that the ruling Congress party still has the numbers to prove their majority.
But this is not the only instance where the ruling Government has fallen due to defections of its MLAs — the fall of the Kamal Nath Government in MP or the fall of H D Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka. How both parties were elected is different, but how both Governments collapsed has similar traces.
In both instances, the MLAs had rebelled and decided to join opposition political parties and helped them come to power, but when these two instances are considered, their nature was different. In Karnataka none of the contesting political parties was able to secure majority seats and, hence, a coalition was made for the formation of Government. Whereas, in MP and Rajasthan, the Congress had secured the full majority, which meant that the majority of voters had voted to bring the Congress party to power.
In such a scenario, when the party MLAs decide to leave the party and join the opposition which did not receive the necessary votes but still help them to form the Government makes us think: have those individuals not considered the mandate which the citizens have given? Such practices have also posed a big question mark on our country’s democratic fabric. How can a political party without the mandate form a Government even after the elections?
As someone who belongs to the field of political science and has studied the importance of ethics, such instances are not only in violation of morals but also the trust of citizens. A feeling develops among them that their vote has been wasted and that the citizen’s issues have taken a back seat and the representative’s interests are the priority. If this feeling becomes strong, eventually the citizens start losing trust in the election process, which is already observed with the unsatisfactory voting percentage during elections.
Saying all this: what is the solution? We definitely cannot go back to the age of idealism. Still, in my opinion, the answer is that considering the current situation it seems quite unlikely that a permanent solution exists for this problem.
Expecting everything to go ideally is too much to expect. No matter how dedicated we might be there will always be a self-interest to fulfil. The only thing that can be done is for the elected representatives to have a conscience that they are elected by the citizens to perform their duties which they had promised during the campaigns. Yes, they do have the liberty to fulfil their self-interests too, but it should also be important to ensure that their self-interests are aligned with the interests related to citizen’s welfare. Only then will the citizens begin to trust their representatives.
Any political uncertainty leads to paralysis in the functioning of the respective Governments and the citizens of the respective states have to suffer. This is being observed not only in Rajasthan but also in other places such as Delhi and Maharashtra where the respective Governments have sometimes been held hostage to political interests of other parties who are not elected to power.
I hope that eventually the political parties and their representatives understand that this is a healthy democracy and it’s their duty to preserve it as well as respect the people’s mandate. No self-interest is more important than the vote and trust with which the people elect their respective candidates to the public office. And any practise that violates this trust does not have any place in the world’s biggest democracy.