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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Give It A Good Shake

There are too many parties, too many leaders, too many analysts, too much alphabet soup—do we really need DMK, PMK, AIADMK and DMDK? Can anyone really tell them apart?

Give It A Good Shake
Give It A Good Shake
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
As far as I’m concerned, India’s latest election was just more proof that somebody needs to pick this country up by the ears and give it a good shake. There are too many parties, too many leaders, too many analysts, too much alphabet soup—do we really need DMK, PMK, AIADMK and DMDK? Can anyone really tell them apart? Also, the whole election thing takes way too long. Even an old-fashioned cricket match can be resolved in five days—and none of those days are dry days.

Nobody seemed to know what this election was about—reservation, the economy, terrorism, development, Hinduness or who gets to be the boss. Everyone was looking for a back door into 10 Janpath—er, 7 Race Course Road. The poor voted in droves, though they knew it wouldn’t make a difference to them who wins. The rich didn’t vote at all for the same reason. And I couldn’t find any party workers giving away free booze in my neighbourhood.

It’s over now, of course. But it’s hard to believe anything will be different. Once upon a time, Indian elections were supposedly ruled by anti-incumbency. But an Indian politician’s career is never dead, even if he’s caught red-handed taking payoffs from defence contractors or convicted of murder. Anybody thrown out manages to weasel his way back in, so rather than making government accountable, the democratic process has become a sort of revolving door. You walk through, put a stop to everything your predecessor was doing, start your own schemes, steal everything you can, and walk out again. For those on the sidelines, it’s like being forced to watch the first four episodes of American Idol—the ones with all the talentless buffoons—over and over again. Or a series of cricket matches that continually end in draws.

As a dumb American, I didn’t get a vote (which is probably...

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