Democracy Has Not Lost, It Has Won Again

By Vijay Darda | Published: June 3, 2024 07:22 AM2024-06-03T07:22:19+5:302024-06-03T07:24:12+5:30

After the results, both the ruling party and the Opposition should forget the enmity and unite for development of ...

Democracy Has Not Lost, It Has Won Again | Democracy Has Not Lost, It Has Won Again

Democracy Has Not Lost, It Has Won Again

After the results, both the ruling party and the Opposition should forget the enmity and unite for development of the country.

Just one more day of waiting! By tomorrow afternoon, it will be clear which party the Indian voters have mandated to govern the country. However, one thing is very clear that even before the results are out, our democracy has won once again. The special feature of our democracy is that no one can hold it hostage. The voters of this country are vigilant and powerful.

Certainly, in the nearly two-and-a-half months of activity for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, many things happened and the rhetoric of leaders became so bitter that the Election Commission had to intervene. Although delayed, the commission did issue warnings to several party chiefs. Such things were said that I cannot even write them verbatim here. In Maharashtra, there is a festival related to Holi called Shimga, where people deliberately hurl abuses at each other and give vent to their frustrations before embracing each other once again. The election atmosphere felt like Shimga. I don’t know if they will embrace each other later or not! Even leaders from whom such language was not expected were spewing venom. Born into a political family and having represented parliamentary democracy for 18 years, I have seen all elections closely since 1962. There is no hesitation in saying that this election hit a new low in terms of language used. It is hard to understand who to blame, the leaders in power or the restless leaders in the opposition. But I have always trusted our voters. No one can evaluate rhetoric and gimmick better than them.

The election heat was intensified by the soaring summer temperature. It seemed like the leaders’ minds had become overheated, leading to the use of harsh words. The leaders worked hard, though! In terms of rallies and roadshows, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was personally at the forefront. At this age, no one else shows the kind of energy he does. He held over 200 rallies and roadshows and gave 80 interviews during this period. His energy is remarkable. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi hit centuries in terms of rallies and roadshows. It was surprising that leaders talked less about their own agenda and more about their opponents. They were bent on proving how worthless their opponents were. Amid all this, I recalled what Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said during the first election: “It is better to lose rightly than to win wrongly.” Not only that, in 1962, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came to Nagpur to campaign for Congress candidate Rikhabchand Sharma. He did not say much about Sharma but remarked that independent candidate Loknayak Bapuji alias Madhav Shrihari Aney was a very good person. Loknayak Aney won that election. But that is history now.

Yes, I have always objected to those voters who do not come out to vote. According to the data from six out of seven phases of the Lok Sabha elections, 29 crore voters did not vote. This is almost 5 crore more than the number of registered voters in the United States, which has about 24 crore registered voters. I make this comparison so that you can understand the vastness of our democracy. During my travels to the United States and Mexico, people there asked in amazement how such large-scale elections are conducted peacefully. The vastness of Indian democracy is astonishing to the whole world. To maintain the greatness of this vastness, everyone must understand why voting is essential, and there is no harm in depriving those who do not vote of some of their rights.
I look at voting as worship, prayer and devotion. As long as there is democracy, freedom is our destiny. In more than 50 countries around the world, people still do not have the right to vote. Life there is like that of slaves. Therefore, I believe that clean and peaceful elections should be seen as a victory for Indian democracy.

I want to say one more thing that tomorrow, after the election results, it will be decided who will be in power for the next five years. Congratulations in advance to the winners, but those who come to power and those who do not must understand their responsibility. They will also reach Parliament carrying the hopes of their voters. The point is that the responsibility towards this country will be as much of the opposition as that of the government. Currently, it is time for everyone to celebrate the Diwali of democracy together. It is time to push the country so far along the path of development that we become the third superpower in the world and the common man achieves the prosperity he desires. There should be no need to provide free foodgrain to 80 crore people. We all need to work together to shape the vision of a strong and capable India!
The author is the chairman,  Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.


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