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Politics of freebies needs to be checked

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Elections to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assemblies are over. Freebie distribution was the primary bait dangled to entice voters, for some political parties. Though this strategy did not succeed in luring enough voters, it did show its negative impact on the political landscape- which is continually denuded of morality and ethics with every election. Soon, in a year’s time, states like Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura will go to polls. These same amoral parties will be vying with each other to further lower the bar. Clearly if these selfish tendencies are not checked, there may come a situation where politics will be reduced to competitive freebies offering stage solely.

Over the decades, politics in our country has changed its course many times. Starting with Nehruvian socialism to Indira Gandhi’s “Garibi Hatao” to Mandal-Kamandal, to free marketeers , we saw it all. With the advent of newly minted, self centred and self proclaimed anarchists joining politics , came the politics of freebies, devoid of any ideology and ethics. This new politics is centered around the sole objective of winning elections, come what may, by offering gullible voters freebies like free water, free electricity, free doles in the pockets of almost every section of the society-callously unmindful of the future consequences of these illogical and unsustainable promises made to voters. One doesn’t need to be an expert in economics to foretell that this is the path to disaster.

The politics of freebies spearheaded by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is unethical as it uses taxpayers’ money to buy votes and is against public interest

Our nation got independence after several decades of struggle, toil and sacrifice by millions of our countrymen and our freedom fighters. Our leaders had envisioned that after self-rule we would eradicate the prevalent poverty, misery, deprivation , injustices , discrimination and inequality .They had not imagined that a day would come when people devoid of ideology, integrity and compassion would join politics and become leaders by merely bribing the voters through freebies offers. This politics of freebies is against public interest and there is an urgent need to make people aware of the seriousness of this flawed anti people political culture which is getting entrenched -to the detriment of our nation’s interest and future.

Instead of announcing freebies on the eve of elections, political parties need to solve the problems being faced by our people for years. The question that needs to be asked is why none of the political outfits ever announce a well considered programme to uplift our education system and provide world class education to each and every child, who has been deprived of a decent level of education for decades. Why have none of the political parties ever addressed the problem of our poor health system and come out with a plan of action as a poll promise. Sadly, political parties who ruled or are ruling the nation and various states, have never done anything substantial to provide jobs to millions of our youth who are sitting idle, instead of announcing unemployment doles to the unemployed- a promise which has not been fulfilled by any of the current political parties.

Before every election, political parties start making extravagant promises of freebies and try to outwit each other in the game. The question is not whether these promises can be met or whether states have enough resources to enable the governments to implement them in future. Even a cursory look at which party has announced what kind of freebies to woo voters shows how non serious and noncommittal these political parties are on the vital question of tackling basic problems plaguing the states. None of the parties contesting elections have ever come out with a clear road map to improve governance, remove poverty, inequality, discrimination and misery.

It seems that these parties, propagating freebies, in state after state, just to befool people and garner their votes, neither possess the skill , nor the knowledge or understanding of the issues or the will to act to solve any of the problems facing our population. They undoubtedly, have mastered the skill to befool our gullible voters by promising them the sky and then suffer amnesia thereafter. After being elected, they immediately junk public interest, and prioritise their own self-interest , and get busy in filling their personal coffers during their halcyon days in power. The time has come for people to discard these liars and freebie distributors. The people have to remember that the promise of free electricity and water is not going to change their lives in any way. It has not changed the lives of those getting the three hundred units of free power or few hundred litres of water in a state like Delhi, neither these kind of freebies will make people happier or enable them to prosper in the poll bound states, in future. The people have to call the bluff of all those parties ,who have zero delivery when seated in government, but have got into the habit of announcing lots of freebies just before elections. Let the electorate vote on performance and evict these unethical freebooters now.