Elections are meant to be won or lost. Elections wouldn’t be fun if politicians didn’t trade barbs; some vicious, some humorous and some truly absurd. A little bit of twisting of statements, facts and trivia is considered normal in elections. After all, along with lawyers, politicians are not allowed to contest amateur lying contests for a good reason. Both these communities are considered “professional liars”. What a politician should prefer not to lose is the character ethic. It’s character that is permanent, election win or loss isn’t. Some of our major contestants are dependent mostly on “personalities” rather than character. Character ethic is much more permanent than personality ethic. The best explanation is offered by the late Stephen Covey (dealt with in his book “7 habits”):
“The difference between the personality ethic and the character ethic… The character ethic is the idea that a person advances on basis of their character. This was culturally the main idea expressed in the US up until about WWI, when popular literature began to focus more on short-cuts and easy ways to manipulate situations or to get what you want. Character ethic depends on deep changes within each of us, while the personality ethic falls back on methods or techniques. The personality ethic does not challenge us; neither does it bring about deep changes within us”.
Based on Covey’s book and by others, LK Advani too has written on the topic. I recommend you read the article. If you are anti-BJP or anti-Advani, just read the article and forget who has written it. In the post after the Patna blasts at a Narendra Modi rally I rephrased the old saying: “Character does not develop in a crisis, it merely reveals itself”. In this one we will discuss some of the key people or groups who have lost their character ethic during these elections.
The Gandhi-Vadra clan:
The Gandhis have never fought elections on issues of character. Their campaign has always been personality-driven. In the past there was far less scrutiny of the family in the public domain in absence of social media. But now the SM doesn’t miss what the MSM covers up for the family. SoniaG is responsible for injecting the most foul dialogue into political discourse with her “Maut ka Saudagar” rant. During these elections it was followed up by her daughter Priyanka Vadra with silly lines in desperation. Mrs Vadra danced and waltzed around Amethi with nothing to show for performance by the family and played victim. She referred to Modi’s politics as “Neech rajniti” without any context. It seems anyone criticising Rajiv Gandhi for his known stupidity and arrogance is an insult to her family. Do these people really belong in politics? The worst was to come on polling day. The behaviour was atrocious to say the least, take a look:
That is RahulG inside a polling booth in Amethi indulging in the kind of nonsense that a candidate is not supposed to. The Gandhi-Vadra clan is used to nobody questioning them; not even police or constitutional authorities. The situation in Amethi seems to be testing for the Gandhi and contributes to his bad behaviour and that of Mrs Vadra. The PA of Mrs Vadra was floating around at Amethi polling booths as if she was some royal observer from the queen’s palace:
Mrs Vadra’s PA had to be sent out of the area after Smriti Irani confronted her. The incidents are many to list here. The Gandhi-Vadra clan seems to realise an electoral loss is on the cards unless there is a massive electoral fraud. Being out of power is a crisis for them. And their response in such a looming crisis was not one of strength or dignity but crass behaviour and bogus political discourse of lies and victimhood. Character doesn’t develop in a crisis, it merely reveals it.
Mamata Banerjee does have a good story. She started from scratch and battled the CPM for a long time. She was nearly killed once in 1991 by the CPM’s brutality. Her agitation tactics finally brought her to power in Bengal after 3 decades of CPM rule. However, it’s not where you started but where you’re finishing that eventually counts. And MB is finishing badly. One can understand her phobia with death-threats and everyone trying to kill her. What Bengalis did miss, however, is that they replaced the CPM with more of the same. Both TMC and CPM are cut from the same cloth and their policies and practices are not any different. What is alarming is the uncouth and uncivilised that is now emanating from MB and her foot soldiers. In response to a statement by Modi that TMC was funded by purchase of MB’s paintings at bogus prices, she and a moron called Derek O’Brien called him the “Butcher of Gujarat”. Fine, let’s pass that for anger. They threatened a defamation case when facts proved that the paintings were indeed purchased by the scam-tainted Sarada chit fund group.
From there, it only got worse. You need to combat political barbs and taunts with political language. What flows from MamataB is nothing short of an endless gutter. Here’s the first one:
So, even if Modi gets a majority she won’t allow him to become PM. I wonder if she ever sits down and reflects on her moronery and the stupid statements she frequently makes. It is increasingly becoming evident that the woman has no governance or political skills. Like the CPM or AAP she seems good only for street agitations and unfit for any mature leadership role. When Modi stated he will send back “illegal” Bangladeshis from Bengal back to Bangladesh she went into another rant. She said she would tie up Modi and throw him in jail and challenged him to send her to Bangladesh. She behaved like she was the champion of the illegal immigrants. What kind of CM or leader does that? Her stupidity and hypocrisy didn’t take long to be established because in another rally Modi reminded her how she had accused CPM of allowing illegal immigrants on the voter rolls whom she wanted to throw out. That horrible incident was in 2005 in the parliament when she was an MP and she hurled papers at the Speaker. She has a history of uncouth behaviour but one would have thought a responsibility like the CM’s post would see better behaviour.
Nothing has changed. MB’s behaviour has only gotten worse and so has her language. She now states that if she desires Modi wouldn’t be able to set foot on Bengal. Who the hell is this woman? Who the hell is this moron? In any other country the media would have slapped her in the front pages for this statement but not in India where such moronery passes unnoticed.
Simple fact is, Bengal too seems to have been caught in the Modi-wave that is being discussed all over and it threatens MB’s party in some seats. Regardless of whether one wins or loses some seats or elections such a situation shows up true character of the person. This election season, MamataB is another politician whose poor character has been on full display. Pathetic is the only way to describe her. I pity Bengal to have gotten such leaders.
The Election Commissioners:
This is a powerful Constitutional office with the serious responsibility of conducting free and fair elections. For a few years we thought booth capturing, rigging or violation of rules was a thing of the past. We were wrong. The present CEC, VS Sampath and his team have made a total mockery of the election process. I recommend read “The Quixotic EC” for some details, if you haven’t already. Millions of voters deleted from rolls is a serious crime (read more on the farce of voter rolls). Since then the situation in the last 2 rounds of polling has only gotten worse. While pulling up Modi for flashing a lotus badge, the EC turned a blind-eye to the total farce at Amethi where RahulG meddled in the polling booths. Take a look at this Amethi polling centre decked with Congress posters and flyers:
How in the world does such a fraud get to be allowed? On May 7 the EC at Varanasi banned some of the rallies of Modi in the town. This is where Modi is contesting from. One of the locations of the rallies was Benia Bagh, supposedly surrounded by Muslim localities. The local DM claimed it was a communally sensitive area and he had IB alerts on threats to Modi. This is the stupidest thing one has heard from the EC. On one hand the DM claimed the permission wasn’t given because someone else was already scheduled there and then later claimed there was an IB alert. I see this is as clear mischief by the local EC to deprive Modi the chance to campaign. This is obviously not being done independently but under advice of political powers. Effectively, this means Modi would not have a single public rally in Varanasi. When asked about action against RahulG’s violations in Amethi the CEC had a comic answer:
In the afternoon on May 8, VS Sampath held a presser where he claimed EC is fair, impartial and neutral. Everything we suspect they are not. He even claimed EC doesn’t contest elections. These are statements of a mature CEC? The presser was more to defend the EC as pure instead of answering legitimate questions raised by a political party. Obviously the EC thinks (like the Gandhi-Vadra clan) they are beyond questions. Ashok Malik describes the whining of Sampath perfectly. Arun Jaitley remarked 'Timid men can dwarf high offices”. I cannot help but agree. It is not mere incompetence which is evident. The CEC and some of his team members have disgraced their office and, when tested, shown their office to be of poor character ethic. This is one Constitutional office that needs dramatic revamp and reform.
I can go on and list more people and groups who have lost the character ethic during these elections but it would be a very long list. I have chosen to list the worst cases. Our MSM merely relays sound-bites like a box of parrots. The media too will take a huge revamp so that they start speaking the truth about politicians and Constitutional offices. The loss of character ethic will continue to destroy many democratic institutions in the country. We haven’t seen the last of it yet.