Behind aggressive election campaign

Nilratan Halder | Published: December 14, 2018 21:20:20

The more it is the merrier -this seems to be the motto of life. But this is only when the good things are concerned. In politics the motto is overstretched to the point where nobody knows where to stop and reflect. In politics, power is the ultimate coveted goal and once in it there is no knowing how much one wants. In this age of information and communication explosion, even the lowest of the low hanker after self-promotion. The average citizens are steeped into selfie and social media so much so that they live and dream the gadgetry fads.

Amid such an explosion of self-promotion it is not easy to draw attention of the voters by candidates vying for parliamentary seats in the December 30 national election. The contestants use all the means -from the old posters and pamphlets to the digital devices. Not to speak of the high-pitched slogans: Amar bhai, tomar bhai X bhai X bhai. Drums and music accompany the processions where a candidate throw flying salutes to people at some distance and makes a humble bow at those who happen to be nearer. 

For long one popular form of advertising one's profile by politicians is the hoisting of large colourful hoardings, banners and posters. Pictures of the aspiring politicians are displayed in as attractive poses as possible but to strengthen the appeal the pictures of founders or the premier leaders of the party -no matter deceased or alive -are printed in the background. This acts as politicians' party affiliation as well as their financial muscle and influence.

Such articles of promotion are everywhere. Sometimes tension brews over placement of rival candidates' posters and hoardings. However, the cadres of the ruling party enjoy an edge over their rivals. There is nothing to be surprised if one discovers in one fine morning that the entire archway of the lane or road gets adorned with the promotional materials. Indeed, the more those are the merrier! Little do the supporters think of the aesthetic values and the atrocities of excesses. The pre-election period is the time when their bosses become very generous. So the subservient try to prove themselves in order to get noticed of their indispensability. This is how they can draw some material favour and also think of elevation in cadre hierarchy. Their nuisance value too is well recognised. How else can the attacks on rival procession or motorcades be explained?

The fact is self-promotion has to be at the cost of the rival's extinction. This is how the power games of politics are now advancing. Election campaign in an atmosphere of celebration is what voters would most welcome. But the indications are not healthy. Neither is there any point to grab all the space for posters and other promotional display. Too much of anything produces a kind of revulsion or allergy in the minds of voters. After all, sobriety should be the benchmark for such campaign. 

Politics does stage rehearsal of excesses well before the election and in the run up to it, the intensity only deepens. With the campaign receiving momentum, the expenses also go up. No wonder, on completion of tenure as MPs or ministers, the incomes show inflated figures hundreds to thousand times more. Politics is cadre-based and leaders have to prove that they command support of a large number of party cadres. And cadres demand material support. Nurturing them costs. So, unless one is a moneyed man or can augment incomes at fabulous rates, power politics is beyond one's reach.

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