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Assembly Elections

It would be is a breach of democratic etiquette to question the collective wisdom of


the electorate. After all, the electorates decision is self-validating. However
knowledgeable or ignorant, focused or distracted, reflective or scatter brained they
may be individually, the voters collectively are always wise. Political strategists who
relied solely on the shallowest and mechanistic election campaign tactics, i.e.
commercials, to turn the tide in their favour, have switched gears after the election
outcome, are now interpreting the message of the election in most grandiose
philosophic terms. Those who have lost the elections are dubbing the majority of the
electorates as idiots, betrayers of their countrys future, unable to perceive their best
interests, ignorant about the issues, gulled by the sick lies. The winners have all the
admiration for the electorate: they have magnificently exercised their ingrained
popular wisdom, vindicated the faith of the founding fathers, a clear headed rejection
of the values represented by the loser, demonstrated the innate genius of
democracy, etc., etc. These theories are of such exotic sophistication that no voter
could have possibly thought of them before voting.

And the neutral political observers will expect the losers to ponder over the debacle
and reconsider not only their political strategy but their fundamental beliefs. A
serious thinker should always be open to counter arguments from those who
disagree. The real insult to democracy is to treat it as some sort of IPL 20 cricket
where the players are auctioned (tickets for money) and victory is the definitive
judgment of the players (propaganda), who are duped on the basis of information
and the level of arguments offered to the voters by the candidates. One should extend
every voter the courtesy who votes differently from one the courtesy of serious
disagreement. You may have been misled or under informed, if not so, may be you
have a faulty analysis, or you may have acted out of narrow, unpatriotic narrow
interest , or you may be just a fool. But whatever be the reason, you just blew it. One
problem with politics is that it is dominated by people who dont hold any belief
deeply enough to withstand evidence that the majority believes the opposite. The
theory of democracy is not that the voters are always right. Nothing about voting
magically assures a wise result. In any case the people have the constitutional right to
be wrong. The recent assembly elections have more than testified that the second
term is about delivery and not just promises. Voters have preferred to jump from the
frying pan to the fire, not because they expected cosy warmth from the fire, but
because staying on in the frying pan unbearable (anti-incumbency). The victors
would be labouring under a misapprehension if they believe that they have been
chosen because they are adorable. The euphoria is only ephemeral and they will be at
the receiving end next time.

V P Jain