National Interest Will be the Biggest Casualty in the Politics of Personality Clashes
Positive politics is fuelled by an obsession for change, while a political obsession is often fuelled by a confrontation between relentless rivals. Often, it strays into the treacherous territory of vicious verbosity banishing all logical debate and dialogue, thus placing democratic institutions in danger of moral destitution. Last week, the Congress and BJP were locked in a Waterloo of Words, the worst-ever since the NDA government assumed power. Usually political parties settle down to the serious business of governance and legislation as soon as an election gets over. But the two mainstream parties, which have been engaged in a fusillade of fulminations since the Bihar polls, were expected to engage each other in resolving many legislative issues pending in Parliament. Personal attacks on personalities rather than on ideologies, however, are likely to paralyse the process of governance. The Bihar polls were fought around the calculus of personality power. All contesting parties spewed the worst invectives against their opponents. The political warfare was confined to two central personalities—PM Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. It was evident that both the parties expect that all future battles would be fought around personas, not policies. India’s new politics now revolves around crafting strategies, which aim at building, promoting, demolishing and tarring leaders. Ideology is dead. Individuals with high-calorie egos wrote its obit. The breaking down of dialogue is contaminating democracy with the warring egos of leaders, an ominous sign for the people who have elected them in the hope of a better India.