POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Apr 14, 2009 AT 04:22 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 14, 2009 04:22 IST

Andre Béteille in the Telegraph:

It was not like that in 1951-52, at the time of the first general elections. What has happened between then and now is the steady advance of identity politics over all other kinds of politics in India. Nobody can seriously expect that identity politics will vanish from the Indian scene or even that appeals to the loyalties of caste and community at election time will come to an end. But as long as all issues are subordinated to the articulation of the grievances of particular caste and particular communities, albeit in the name of equity and justice, the electoral process will continue to move in the direction in which it was set off about twenty years ago.

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Apr 14, 2009 AT 04:22 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 14, 2009 04:22 IST
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Daily Mail
Apr 15, 2009
08:45 PM
The point that caught my eye is
" The Election Commission has been rightly commended for undertaking and accomplishing successfully a monumental exercise with remarkable skill, ingenuity and stamina, while ensuring that the process remains open and transparent"

Why cant we have a similar commission after the election is over and leaders get elected to keep a tab at their performance ..this way there is a certain level of use the author's words the mighty might still come to the door steps of the humble instead of kicking them out..
Somerset, United States
Apr 14, 2009
12:08 PM
While I respect Andre Béteille, I find it dissappointing that he does not look at the sham aspects of India democracy.
1. Its a VIP-oriented culture, with politicians hankering after Z and Z+ status, measuring themselves by the no. of security guards and escort vehicles. Nehru was never afraid of people, he used to love rushing into crowds. But his daughter and descendants were/are - waving at a huge faceless mass of people from a stage. So are the rest of the imitative politicians. It was funny to watch Priyanka preening as the old ladies touched her face. Their lives were fulfilled! TV cameras loved the Devi descended to earth!
2. Its a mobocracy, with voices of thoughtful individuals being shouted down, intimidated or drowned out. Try asking inconvenient questions at any rally of a candidate.
3. Its an entertaining show to the TV show hosts, where shouting matches masquerade as debates. The show hosts calculate their worth by the decibel level and the heat generated - good for TRPs. Their style of questioning is inquisitorial and the spokesmen act like gladiators of Rome.
4. It raises the temperature by giving the impression that lives will change after elections. When we remember that it does not, it induces apathy.
5. Its first-past-the-post model is anachronistic, a slavish imitation of the British model. It does not reflect the will of the people who voted for the losing candidates.
6. We all know that candidates will largely forget their voters once they get into parliament. So democracy and feedback mechanisms are absent for the voters between elections. They are impotent and powerless, except at election time. There is no right of recall.
Narasimhan M.G
Bangalore, India
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