The recent assembly elections have unveiled a remarkable performance, particularly in raising awareness in rural tribal areas and among women. The Gram Panchayats’ activism and success stand unparalleled globally, showcasing a unique strength that cannot be matched by any other organization. This phenomenon, thriving in the Indian Republic for the last 75 years, withstands the challenges of significant political storms, proving the resilience of democracy.
The political axis of power resides in political parties, be it the national parties like BJP or Congress, or leaders embodying calm and sagacious qualities such as Kushabhau Thackeray and Shankar Dayal Sharma. Drawing inspiration from leaders like Dayal Sharma can contribute significantly to the strength of political organizations. However, it is crucial to recognize that while elections are pivotal in a democratic republic, winning them should not be the sole objective.
As exemplified by Kushabhau Thackeray, politics should be viewed as a mission beyond winning elections or obtaining positions. The primary aim should be to strengthen the organization for the greater interests of society and the nation. Unfortunately, the reality is marred by leaders and workers succumbing to ego, manipulation, and a quest for personal gains within political parties.
This trend has led to the erosion of the power of certain political entities, notably evident in the weakened position of the Congress in various states. The analogy of wanting to enjoy the sweet fruits of democracy without nurturing the trees that bear them resonates with the current state of affairs. The undemocratic nature of some political organizations raises concerns about the erosion of democratic principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
Recent years have witnessed leaders within their own parties engaging in tactics such as humiliation, spreading rumors, and rebellion when personal interests are at stake. Ideological compromises are made with parties holding completely opposing views, undermining the democratic essence. This shift in the nature of political organizations raises concerns about the democratic values they were built upon.
A historical perspective sheds light on Mahatma Gandhi’s concerns expressed in a letter to Nehru in 1938. Gandhi warned about the potential loss of power if the wrong elements within the Congress were not cleansed. His sentiments in 1939, stating he would rather cremate the entire Congress Party than endure rampant corruption, resonate eerily with contemporary challenges.
In the present political landscape, the focus should extend beyond symbolic gestures and religious posturing during elections. The recent defeat of the Congress party in various states, despite attempts at soft Hindutva and religious symbolism, underscores the importance of substantive governance over superficial tactics.
As Priyanka Gandhi initiated the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly election campaign with prayers to the Narmada River, the symbolism echoed historical political contests. However, the results showed that relying on religious posturing and slogans might not secure electoral victories.
Success in the vast regions around the Ganga and Narmada rivers requires a more nuanced approach than magical hugs and symbolic campaigns. The electorate deserves substantive governance, understanding of dissent, and a commitment to rectifying mistakes for the collective good. The changing circumstances in states like Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh call for a reevaluation of political strategies and a renewed commitment to democratic ideals.