Thursday, April 16, 2009

Election histrionicses

With the growing number if television news channels, in addition to the print media, this election season seems to have got a lot of exposure. The quality, though, is sub par. However the exposure has brought on record things we already knew happened.
Hours before the elections, police on
Wednesday seized more than Rs 15 lakh cash including Rs 2.80 lakh from an MIM
leader who was distributing money to voters in his house at Toli Chowki. A Praja
Rajyam Party candidate was also arrested for violation of the model code of
[...] Police arrested Moinuddin and
recovered Rs 2.80 lakh cash from the house.
In another instance, Cyberabad police
recovered Rs 1.80 lakh from a former TDP Councillor who made a vain attempt to
avoid being caught by fleeing in an RTC bus.
[...] Police recovered Rs 1.80 lakh with
him. [
more here]
If only these cashlords had dispensed half their duties, they wouldn't need to be doing this. Now, they lost their money and their face. Besides, voters have gotten smarter. They realise most have failed them, so they'd rather take the money when it's raining and vote whoever they deem fit.
[...] Voters often take money from many parties and finally vote
for the one they support. [
Even as the media scrutiny has helped expose malpractices, the debate leaves a lot to be desired. The primary debate during elections ought be on the incumbent government's performance. None of the prominent media houses cared for an audit on the UPA's governance. Instead we had them parroting the same talking points presented by the various UPA members. What we have witnessed on TVs these last few weeks is the same old "secularism" vs "communalism" debate.
Every such debate is futile because it is an diversion from real issues and more importantly, neither "secularism" nor "communalism" is clearly defined. Even before it's proved, it is readily accepted "communalism" is evil and "secularism" is noble. And the media has made it more than clear, BJP is communal and Congress is secular. That tilts the scales heavily in favour of the "secular" parties even before any debate.
The television debates are also ineffectual for another reason. Participants almost never stay on issues being discussed. Instead any question or issue raised is sought to be diverted so opponent bashing can be carried out rather than answer one's own performance. So, for instance, when faced with a question on terrorism, we have the Congress slamming the BJP by questioning attacks during the NDA regime rather than explain it's own failure. The BJP too is incapable of articulating its criticism of the UPA effectively and demolishing canards about its record. Similar is the case for every other issue. No party can see its mistakes. Every debate is reduced to faulting the other than staying on message.
Another quite intriguing aspect of the media is the slant and bias in its reporting. If you were to scan the election coverage news, you'll notice the favourable, indeed fan like, coverage given to the Gandhi dynasty. It seems the dynasty is beyond scrutiny and the Nehru-Gandhi progeny can never do any wrong and the divine powers have ordained them to rule our nation. The favour is also extended to the Congress party. Contrast that with the unfavourable coverage given to the "communal" parties and anyone who's opposed to the "secular forces".
The "voice of the people" media has failed miserably in holding the UPA accountable. While the UPA goes about faulting the NDA's record, it never cares to explain it's own failure in correcting them. After all it has been in power for the past 5 years, enough opportunity to correct the alleged mistakes.

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