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

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In Search of Responsible Politics


The recently concluded Bihar assembly elections have once again brought into focus the ever-widening gap between what could be described as real politics and ideal politics. The “real” dimension of politics can be defined in terms of parochial political interests that are immediately realised using means that may lack a normative force. Thus, deploying empty rhetorics of appeal without reference to people’s concerns, strategic planning assisted by cunning calculation of caste numbers that become necessary to avoid difficult issues, and intriguing moves to become powerful even by cutting down to size not only the opposition but its own electoral partners constitute the negative substance of real politics. This real content of politics becomes ideal by some parties who seem to be using such a form repeatedly, with complete disregard for the noble aspects of politics. The repetitive use of such politics tends to convert the actual, that is, communal and parochial, into the ideal. Politics operating in such a real mode, however, fails to have an ennobling impact on the voters. In such a model, capturing political power for realising sectional interests even by gaining hold of a simple majority becomes a primary concern of some political parties. For the so-called national parties, achieving at least a simple majority even without putting substantive content in the election becomes a political ideal worth cherishing.

On the other end of the spectrum, the normative core of ideal politics, therefore, is to create a democratic ethos among both the voters as well as the political leaders. Voting has to be made as one of the most responsible acts that has to be necessarily exercised in crafting the ethos of democracy. It is needless to emphasise that the future of democracy depends on the creation of such ethos; ethos that is defined in terms of the degree to which the internalisation of democratic values takes place among the citizens. Such ethos defends these values by taking a moral initiative without waiting for the lead from political leaders. Citizens as voters should campaign among themselves for the candidates who can genuinely promise to strengthen such an ethos.

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Updated On : 24th Nov, 2020


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