Friday, January 14, 2011

Ushering into issue-based politics

All elections in India, at national, regional or local levels, are mostly fought (and won) on non-developmental issues. This is the pattern till date. However recently concluded Bihar assembly election is an exception. Nitish Kumar was voted back to power by majority vote. This fact is accepted even by his opponents. How Nitish brought such a sea change in the general pattern and whether that could be a model for issue-based politics for the future, are the questions. In order to arrive at an answer, we need to analyse how the general pattern got established in the country.

Traditionally, Indian society is stratified on the basis of caste, language and regions. The individuals or the group of individuals occupying positions in the front of caste, linguistic or the regional domains, tend to dominate others in the lower rung. Such social injustice is perpetrated over the years and as a result it gives birth to social unrest in different sections of society.

Such social stratification and attendant social injustice are not the phenomena observed in India alone but is also observed in other parts of the world,where people are seen voting on the ethnic lines or express preferences on the basis of skin color.  

The democratic system of election provides a legitimate vent for such unrest. Thus the affected individuals tend to choose a party, which at least seemingly, fights for the cause of such socially deprived or aggrieved groups. Thus ushering into issue-based politics shall require mitigation of social injustice in the first place and that is what the Chief Minister Nitish did in the Indian State of Bihar. Once the social factors become irrelevant, individuals shall look towards and vote for development. After all, who does not development!

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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.