ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Power to Transform or to Rule?

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It is a general democratic belief that the extension of elections to local bodies helps achieve two distinct goals: decentralisation of power and democratisation of political thinking of both the national elite and the local citizens. Under democratic belief, the political function of the process of decentralisation of power is to progressively transform the local people into enlightened citizen who in turn will form themselves into a political community. Put differently, decentralisation does not mean power to establish rule over others, but achieve qualitative transformation. Thus, power is defined in terms of its normative thrust rather than a force that seeks to “target” certain sections of the society. Similarly, democratic processes that operate through the elections and lead to the formation of local self-government also offer national-level leaders an opportunity to enrich their understanding of the common issues that exist at the local level.

However, at one level, the entry of political leaders needs to be informed by an element of responsibility that is necessary to gain an understanding of the local material problems of the people. At another level, such leaders are also expected to offer inputs to help transform the local people into citizens who have non-partisan interest in the development of their particular region. It, therefore, becomes the moral responsibility of the political leaders to first individualise the voters by seeking their separation from the partisan and parochial inclination and maintain this separation by retaining the local focus on common issues that are accommodative of individual interests.

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Updated On : 14th Dec, 2020
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