Democracy takes back seat in ticket distributionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/democracy-takes-back-seat-in-ticket-distribution/

Democracy takes back seat in ticket distribution

If the candidate selection is not transparent and reflects the play of power centres,the entire political game gets murky. The winners of this cruel grind might not find it easy to respect the ideals of the Constitution once they assume power.

If the candidate selection is not transparent and reflects the play of power centres,the entire political game gets murky. The winners of this cruel grind might not find it easy to respect the ideals of the Constitution once they assume power.

The ticket distribution,politicians claim,is solely a function of ‘winnability’,reflecting the aspirations of partymen and public. So you hear of the ‘Rahul formula’ and the BJP’s cadre-based candidate selection,mechanisms that supposedly make these parties ‘truly democratic’. In Chhattisgarh,probably elsewhere too,the tickets this Assembly polls are given as they were ever — on personal preferences and promotions.

Several BJP ministers faced opposition from ground workers,who,unprecedented for the state,stormed the party headquarters for weeks and asked their bosses to deny these non-performing leaders tickets. They all are nominated. From Chief Minister Raman Singh’s home district Kawardha,the BJP has opted for a candidate without any base in the area,prompting a quick rebellion in the party. Congress fielded in Jagdalpur a rookie neo-convert Christian,who was not even recommended by block and district committees. The party dumped the nurtured team of slain PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel. While some had been preparing for polls in their constituencies for long,Akaltara MLA Saurabh Singh had left the BSP to join the Congress at the instance of Patel only for a ticket promise. In contrast,NCP’s rebel Nobel Verma was chosen,probably because he is staunch anti-Ajit Jogi. AICC treasurer Moti Lal Vora’s son was retained despite having an unbroken past of losing consecutive elections. So was Jogi’s son candidature despite his having spent some time in jail for murder charges. He was acquitted in the case but an appeal is pending against his acquittal.

Some of the rejected leaders might well have lost,and the chosen ones may win. But the lists of the two biggest parties confirm their domination by powerful chieftains and their interests; the aspirations of genuine leaders and public are not their agenda.

If the candidate selection is not transparent and reflects the play of power centres,the entire political game gets murky. The winners of this cruel grind might not find it easy to respect the ideals of the Constitution once they assume power.

And what about pledges by politicians,including the Congress president,to ensure 33 per cent women representatives in Assemblies? Sharing 180 candidates together,the two parties in Chhattisgarh could come up with only 25 women nominees,a mere 13 per cent.

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Ashutosh is a special correspondent based in Raipur ashutosh.bhardwaj@expressindia.com