We are almost bombarded to the point of exhaustion by political posts on the newspapers, hot discussions over news channels, our friends posting political shares over Facebook and Twitter and whatever possible source and media available for advertisement and messaging.
We tend to form an impression through social media that representative democracy is a vibrant phenomenon in India and it's the only way to resolve the problems of the people. By raising our voices and standing behind the political leaders, we are part of the Change process.
But there exist news and information which is not encouraged in the Mainstream media. It is noticed only when you start joining the unrelated dots at various places. And suddenly you start realising that,
Instead of growing, the representative governance is silently and gradually getting killed deliberately at local levels in India.
Scenario 1- Today is October 06, 2018 and I read somewhere that the Elections to Legislative Assemblies in our state, "The Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections will be held on November 28" according to EC India. Less than two months to go and there is no declaration of candidates by the political parties neither any local campaigning by the candidates, either the residing MLAs or the ones who want to claim their right to the position. No Public meetings, no Billboards or Posters, no statements in local newspapers.
Scenario 2- There is a demolition drive going on in an area called Madan Mahal in our city which has been gradually occupied by an unplanned construction of houses by a poor section of people from the past 10 years. Logically it's OK to bring it under Planned Urbanisation but it didn’t happen overnight. It was happening gradually under the sight of same administration and it does causes inconvenience to people when in the morning they are suddenly greeted by JCBs and Bulldozers to demolish their homes. Where they will go for negotiations related to giving them time to relocate or other issues? Their elected representatives and here's the response of Judiciary on representatives' intervention. On 03/10/2018 High Court Bench comprising Justice R S Jha and Sanjay Dwivedi asked for the names of political leaders who are opposing this demolition adding that such punishment should be given to them that they are unable to fight elections in future. Well, they are doing their work as Representatives of people. And if the government doesn’t want their activity, then
Why of Scenario 1? For whom are the elections next month going to be held?
Scenario 3- “ Jan Sunvai /जन सुनवाई
Over the past 5 years, the state governments have encouraged a system of hearing public grievances called ' Jan sunvai 'through the offices of Collector and S.P.s of respective towns. The State Governments even have direct Helpline numbers for people to report their grievances related to administrative offices. Like we have Dial 181 called ’ MukhyaMantri Helpline’ in our state.
So what is the work left for the elected representatives? Why Jan Sunvai is not encouraged for the representative MLAs and MPs? Isn't it a purposeful beginning by the Central level governments to discourage people from approaching their elected representatives with their problems?
Scenario 4 – Jabalpur Smart City Limited
On a local level there exist a Municipal corporation in our city and Municipal Councilors are elected for every Ward. There are 79 Councilors in our city. But if we examine who is exactly running the town, we find that its JSCL(Jabalpur Smart City Limited) a Public Company with its directors and salaried staff to manage the affairs of town such as waste management, Transportation, Urban Planning, water among other functions. Again the same question, then why the councillors? Why are they elected if they have no role to play in the important affairs of the city? When most serious affairs are managed by companies and people who are not answerable to the citizens?
Again Why of Scenario 1? For whom are the elections next month going to be held? If the representatives' people vote at the local level are left with no powers to bring up people's problems or they are not even part of problem-solving organisations, now taken over entirely by either bureaucracy or public/private companies.