Make Politicians Approachable Again

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

Election season is here in India. Every five years we get a glimpse, if we are lucky enough, of a rare species that is neither endangered nor extinct, yet it makes itself available for public view for few days till the date you press that ballot button and then it vanishes again for next five years.  It does not take a guess that I am taking about our honorable politicians who bestow few minutes of their valuable time on us so that we can trust him again for breaking our trust.

People rarely get chance to see let alone interact with their elected MPs and MLAs. In fact even those who loose elections are no where to be seen near public they try to entice so assiduously. I am from Gwalior, a small town in central part of India and I tried very hard to reach elected MP and MLA from my city through emails, phones and party office but it seemed that they have gone beyond any available contact. Often no one picked up the phone and when someone did pick up, the answer was let’s just say evasive. I am not saying that there aren’t exception to the rule, yes there are good politicians are there who actually do some good to public but there aren’t enough of them.

People in my area literally have to pay bribes to MP-PHE dept, the dept responsible for water supply, to supply water which in all essence is a most basic human right. Imagine you had to pay up someone for as basic a thing as water, I even reached out to the office of District Magistrate, Gwalior but the reply was, “sahib nahi hain” (Boss is not available). I even reached out to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, his party, his colleagues and his office on social media too but sahib was not there.

This is not just about civil servants, the thing is that we see this problem of availability in every party from SP, Congress, BSP to BJP. Trust me, the recent road show pictures of incumbent member of parliament from Mathura made me feel sorry for the people, the lady was campaigning in a Mercedes with a lanky in tow who was holding an umbrella to make shade for her. I am surprised how BJP leadership showed faith in such a candidate.

Had this not been an election with looming threat to national security from foreign states and had there been a credible face in opposition, PM Modi would have had a very tough chance of holding on to New Delhi but his road is not as easy as some are imagining. Just as People see strong leadership in prime minister, I am afraid they don’t see the same in majority of BJP’s MPs or among any other opposition leaders. It all boils down to choosing bad from the worst. On May 23 we will see a lot of interesting outcomes for sure, no matter who comes to power.

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