Friday, April 8, 2011

Blackmail Politics

First and foremost, don't get me wrong here. I have full respect for Gandhian methods of protest and I strongly advocate measures to fight corruption at the highest levels in India. But Anna Hazare's fast unto death for the Jan Lokpal Bill is plain blackmail politics that does not reinforce democracy but undermines it.

This isn't the first time that we have seen fasts unto death being used to win a political cause. Once, it was Gandhiji who used them to fight a colonial Government. Two years back, it was K Chandrashekhar Rao who used such a fast to stir up a hornet's nest in Andhra Pradesh; just recently, Tehri MLA Kishore Upadhyay used the same trick to blackmail the State Government of Ramesh Pokhriyal.

It is not that such methods are illegal or immoral. But they're undemocratic, they are used to bypass an existing legislative system, a system in which representatives are supposed to represent the people. They work on short-term threats to the Government and the ultimate outcome is one which is not based on consensus and hence, doomed to failure.

Overall, the politics of fasts unto death are short-sighted and do not conform to standards expected of a society government by a democratic system. Politics cannot and should not be replaced by blackmail. Although I am fully in support of Anna Hazare's cause, I cannot support his means.

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