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Demystifying electoral democracy

by IT Web Admin
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Electoral democracy was conceptualized by free-thinking people who were aspiring for self-governance and constitutional rights and liberties, and yet ironically, electoral democracy, like any other political system was actually put in place to govern and control people who are not willing to take the responsibility for themselves.  The inherent contradictions in the system gives way to a practice where the few powerful individuals or groups at the helm of power twist, bend or even break the rules of law to confirm to their conveniences. This practice is what is universally known as corruption. Some might argue that there are enough checks and balances in the constitution to deter or even bring to book anyone when proven their misdeeds. True, but then how do the common people uncover the underhand dealings or flouting of rules by those in power and privileges? The answer might be nearer than one would imagine, and as Winston Churchill once so famously said, “Democracy is the worst system of government except for all the others.”
The challenge for the public, therefore is to dig up and identify the reasons or causes which is causing glitches in the functioning of the system, and then make efforts to remove or mitigate these factors. The most obvious reason, one which has been ignored and overlooked by each individual is the fact that in electoral politics, there are inherent risks of exercising undue influence during the process of electing representatives of the people, and thus misinformation or ill-informed judgments have always been a major stumbling block in the smooth and proper functioning of the system. The real drawback or deficiency is therefore not the system itself, but the inability to utilize it judiciously and in a fair manner. There is no perfect political system, and with the ever shifting political and social balances, there cannot be a universal formula for success of any system which is applicable across the nations.
The best option, therefore, lies in making efforts to sensitise the pubic on the importance of a continuous and collective engagement with politics and the political system instead of leaving the matter in the hands of a few people which raises the risk of manipulating the law for the benefit of the few. We should understand that more than anything, election is a political game in which various factors beyond the comprehension of the common public are put into play, and that the most popular or efficient campaigns does not necessarily reflect the ability or intents of the candidates. The ultimate fate of the system lies with the public which it professes to serve. When we all are true to ourselves and are clear of our social aspirations and future objectives, then electoral democracy will become a very powerful, useful and empowering tool for the common man.    

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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