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- Another recent trend is that a good number of film actors and players are being fielded by the parties to contest elections. This is a win-win situation for both sides. Film actors and players are happy as they enter the scene almost at the end of their active career but still they intend to be in limelight. On the other hand, political parties want to field such candidates because of their popularity among masses which help them to win the seats. There is a provision of nominating prominent personalities in parliament but increasing number of these personalities without any / much exposure has posed a grave risk to the democracy.
- Media plays a huge role in democracy. In dictatorial and communal rules you can notice, journalists cry for their freedom and rights. But in democracy, media try to fool the people such that they can influence the voting behaviour. In many countries, media channels work for some or other party. They do not bother for the nation. They even make news which can be detrimental to the interest of the country. Their goal will be just to portray one leader as bad and other as good as per their wishes.
- Justice delayed is justice denied. Democracy is one where is there is abnormal delay in providing justice. In democracy, there are plenty of instances where punishment is being pronounced after all those involved in the case became old or even died. So, in democracy, it can be said that in most of the cases justice has taken a back seat.
- Allurement of people by political parties by giving them money and other kinds of freebies before election has become a rule than an exception. Political parties taking the advantage of illiteracy and poverty are ensuring votes in their favour by paying cash and / or its kind. Even hooch plays a huge role in swinging the election result in favour of the party resorting to such unfair practices. This is causing harm to those voters as well as democracy at large as they neither have the power to understand nor the desire to know the outcome as they live by the day.
- But the mother of all corruptions is the intimidation of voters. This has been the real threat to democracy as under threat or duress, the people are not allowed to cast their votes independently. This is hitting the democracy hard as it is affecting the fundamental right. However, this is prevalent in small places, mainly villages where ignorance and illiteracy still play a very prominent role.
- Another recent trend in elections is that a large cross section of educated voters in cities and towns prefer to treat the election day as a holiday and do not cast their votes. This can be corroborated from the fact that the percentage of votes polled in big cities and towns is very low when compared with the figures of villages and the number is coming down year after year.
- Last but not the least is the way the number of political parties (mostly regional) has gone up and is still growing. This is posing a huge problem for the state / country as in most of the time the mandate is fractured resulting in all maladies like horse trading and the governance is the casualty. I am of the view that we need to think seriously on this issue and find out a solution for this menace. To this end, Kerala model appears to be the best where UDF and LDF both consisting of a number of small parties fight for the election. In all, there must not be more than three Groups of parties in the country which not only will give stability to the government but also will help to remove all malpractices in the system.
Conclusion: Going by the prevailing situation in the country, one may think that everything is lost and there is hardly any hope left in the largest democracy of the world. But it is absolutely wrong as in a country like ours, democracy is the only choice. We have seen black days during Emergency period when more than anybody, common people suffered a lot. We are seeing the plight of Pakistan and many other countries. To be precise, we cannot think of any other form of government other than democracy. Now the question remains how we are going to remove the shortcomings, the loopholes, the maladies, the dark cloud in the horizon, etc. which are posing a massive threat to our beloved democracy. The Election Commission of India has taken / has been taking various steps to ensure free and fair elections. But real flavour of democracy will be felt when and only when the country will be free from the curse of illiteracy and poverty. If people understand the motives of the political parties and get back their voice of protest, the foul play of the political parties cannot continue. Efforts are on in that direction by the present government at the Centre and other law enforcing Apex Organisations. We are hopeful that the day is not far away when world will get the real definition of Democracy only by seeing India, Our Great Country.
I joined SBI as a Probationary Officer in 1981. Since then, I have worked in various capacities as Branch Manager, Regional Manager and Deputy General Manager at different places. My specialised areas are Credit and General Banking.
I also was Chairperson of Reserve Bank of India Working Group on Evaluation of Feasibility of Aadhaar based Biometric Authentication as Additional factor of Authentication for card present transactions and related issues.
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