Maharashtra: Not Even the Slightest Pretence of Democracy

The recent political drama in Maharashtra reveals once again that we find ourselves in a society without solid and sustaining ideals and long term conviction or commitment to a coherent ideology. In the age of decadence when democracy is reduced into a ritualistic act of voting after every five years, and politics becomes a crude and immoral practice of possessing the state power for sectarian and narcissistic interest, we lose sanity.

When almost like a military coup in the early morning of November 23, 2019, the Governor of Maharashtra invited Devendra Fadnavis to assume the role of Chief Minister with the assistance of a set of MLAs defected from the NCP, and led by Ajit Pawar, we felt the mockery of democracy ,and the end of even the minimal ethical principle which is needed for retaining certain core principles of governance. In a way, with the crisis of legitimacy, we entered the age of nihilistic cynicism.

In fact, in a game of this kind in which the ruling regime has succeeded quite well, all other political parties too are willing to participate. It is the age-old desire to defeat the ‘enemy’ at his own game. We should not forget that in the recently held assembly election in Maharashtra the Congress and the NCP fought against the alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP. We also know how  the “secular” Congress used to castigate the communal and chauvinistic character of the Shiv Sena . However, in its obsessive quest for power at any cost ,the Congress too did not hesitate to support the Shiv Sena to fulfil the dream of Uddhav Thackeray to become the CM of Maharashtra. It was like playing the same game- a game of manipulation, a game of cleverness ,or a game devoid of values, ideals and principals.

But then, the recent incident showed that the BJP could play this game much more efficiently. And hence the inevitable seems to have happened. Mr. Sharad Pawar could not resist his colleagues to fall into the trap of instant power; and it led to the notorious and routinised practice of defection in Indian politics. Possibly, the Governor without any agency amid the presence of the all-powerful political boss in Delhi could do nothing to prevent this act of destroying the core principles of electoral democracy. 

In fact, it is also an insult to the voters. You vote for somebody or for some ideology. But then, under the present circumstances, you are not sure whether the person you are electing, because of the lure of power, would change his side immediately and join a group that you sought to reject through your voting. As a result, everything becomes upside down. And the self- definition of our MLAs and MPs  undergoes a dramatic transformation. They become saleable commodities, and hence they could often be sent to insulated resorts or islands with all the pleasures of the world so that the opponents could not buy them.

What a fall! Is it what we regard as democracy?