Democracy yes, but is this the time to hold elections!
Democracy in its real sense and true shape has to go through due process of conduct and definitely time bound elections are must for running a proper democracy. Election Commission of India has fulfilled its constitutional duty (read obligation) by announcing election schedule for Jammu and Kashmir state legislature. Chief Election Commissioner along with other election commissioners rightly interacted with the political parties and politicians of the state before announcing the schedule. However, the recent devastating flood in state and the aftermath of the deluge puts a question mark on timing of elections in the state at this juncture. Obviously, the commission might have decided about the elections after getting the green signal from majority of political stake holders. And, so it is the political opportunism of majority of state politicians that compelled the commission to decide about elections in the state even under the horrible shadows of after effects of devastating flood. This is what can be described as political desperation and extreme hunger for power in the guise of democrats!
No doubt democracy is the ultimate system of governance and even in its exploited and distorted shape has to be preferred over autocracy but it cannot be imposed as a baggage in a charged atmosphere where people are facing and fighting against all odds of struggle for survival and sustenance. Democracy is government by the people but it is also government for the people as well. And ‘the people’ does not mean just a crowd of human beings—a mass of bone and flesh without sentiments, but the people mean a healthy society of sound souls. Kashmir and its people at this juncture are passing through a rough phase that cannot be termed as usual. Proposing or propounding conduct of election under such circumstances is not only absurd but an act of extreme selfishness. Such mindset smacks of excessive hunger for power and shameless disregard for peoples sentiments. At this juncture, when people of Kashmir (particularly that of central Kashmir) are not only grappling with the aftermath of devastating deluge but are bracing to face the harsh winters, elections and democracy does not make any good sense for common man. In this situation of grief and despair power hungry politicians can enjoy power but the hopeless people cannot relish the aura and essence of real democracy.
Of course, good and efficient governance at this stage is the need of the hour, but good governance necessarily does not demand immediate elections. Elections by Indian standards is a gigantic process, that too when it has to be multiphase by compulsion and systemic expediency. And going through such a huge and complex process at present is not only out of place but a tiresome procedure. At this point Kashmiri people with all their efforts and attributes of resilience require enough and quality time to come out of this distressed situation; it is time to rebuild extremely damaged infrastructure and tattered economy out of ruins and heal our bruised social system with love and compassion. Elections can change governments but not the quality of governance and at present we need quality governance not necessarily the change of government. Many people and particularly the politicians will argue with reference to people’s prerogative to decide about good government and quality governance but in an extraordinary situation this argument does not hold good and can be construed as lust for power and a pessimistic approach towards power through politics. In civilized societies people’s convenience is above everything.
Under present circumstances political parties and politicians who claim to be the saviors of desperate people, particularly after getting mandate to govern through ill-timed elections should introspect and look within for the real answers and solutions for the miseries of poor, devastated Kashmiris. As true believers of democracy they should have desisted from instigating Election commission to impose untimely elections in the state. At present people of Kashmir are more interested in coming out of this enormous tragedy instead of getting involved in inappropriate elections. And this situation of lackadaisical attitude towards elections does not hold good both for the democracy as well as the people of the state. Now, as the die of elections has been cast under the influence and motivation of power hungry politicians, the Election Commission should ensure a fair and least bothering election so that tired Kashmiri people will not find the elections an extra burden and get disgruntled with democracy but will find it a source of resurgence.