I have no option but to talk about politics as elections to Punjab Vidhan Sabha take place on February 4, this year. So be it.The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal is confident of repeating the election results for the third time. Congress too is confident of returning to power. And Aam Aadmi Party is also sure to defeat both the traditional rivals in state politics. The question is who will be defeated, if all the main players win!
Harish Khare, editor of a leading daily in his weekly column has aptly said that now is the time to sort them out. Indeed the day of reckoning stands announced and the result will be out on March 11, 2017. Deeds and misdeeds, moral or immoral, wise or unwise, all types of actions of the politicians in power and out of power, will now be measured by a fantastic system called democracy. The Will of the majority will prevail deciding as to who gains power for the next 5 years.
But the process of democracy is riddled with imponderables. There will be people who try to sabotage the fair game of voting. There will be people wanting to lure away the voter over a few bottles of whisky, others may shower the currency notes to win the game. It is going to be a testing moment for the practitioners of world’s second largest democracy which puts the onus on a small part of its territory, Punjab, to elect new rulers.
It is going to be testing times for the tools of democracy to ensure that ‘Will’ of the majority pervades. The Election Commission will be required to act, and act in a tough manner to make the democratic process crystalline and above board.
A constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India has already given its verdict that use of religion or caste to fetch votes is a “corrupt practice” under the Representation of People Act. It is now time for the EC to pull up its socks to implement the verdict in its letter and spirit. The custodians of law have to show their mettle.
In Punjab, unlike in Bihar and in Uttar Pradesh, there has never been a history of booth capturing or violence. The people of the state have fought electoral battles in a quiet and disciplined manner, except when there was terrorism in the state. Electorate of Punjab have withstood pressures of all types to judiciously practice their franchise. And, every time the people have turned victorious.
What may the ‘Will’ of the people decide, we will be required to gracefully accept the verdict of the masses, without hiccups. An all to gather new government or the old government with the new mandate is about to be hoisted soon. The state and its people are going to usher into a fresh tenure of democracy which hopefully creates better avenues and resources to meet the expectations of the new age.