Kalaburagi: With the announcement of each election, the debate that takes place in political as well as academic circles is whether our democracy is getting strengthened or weakened? This debate assumes importance in the light of elections being held to the Legislative Council from the local bodies. If the criteria followed by the three major political parties -Congress, BJP and JDS-for selecting their candidates is any indication of the direction in which our democracy is heading, it is really quite disheartening.
Ask prominent leaders of the three parties the criteria they have followed for selecting candidates, the answers one gets is shocking-ability of candidates to spend several crores. The service of candidates to the party or society, their commitment to a public cause, popularity among voters etc which should have been the guiding principles while making the selection have been ignored by the parties.
With “winning the election” becoming the sole objective, the parties have given short shrift to all principles in selecting their candidates. Even though money power has been playing a pivotal role in all elections, what is unqiue about this election is that it has taken precedence over all other factors such as party loyalty, caste-affiliation, popularity among voters etc. Take the case of most candidates selected in the Hyderabad Karnataka region. They are new to the party , constituency and some even to politics.
This feature is more glaring in Bidar. Here Congress candidate Vijay Singh, eldest son of former CM Dharam Singh, is not only new to the party, but also to the constituency as well as politics. An entrepreneur, Bengaluru-based Vijay Singh started evincing interest in Bidar politics only after his father got elected to the Lok Sabha in 2004. The background of the BJP candidate - Sanjay Kheny - is no different. He was not even member of BJP –to be precise he was in the Congress-when his name was cleared. Mr Kheny, who is the cousin of Bidar South MLA Ashok Kheny, left BJP after his cousin launched Kannada Makkala Paksha. Since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, he was in the Congress.
Though the JDS has not announced its candidate for Bidar, efforts are underway to identify an “able candidate”. “We have strong base in Bidar but we don’t have a leader who can spend several crores . Efforts are underway to find the candidates not only for Bidar, but the remaining constituencies as well”, a senior leader of the party stated. Similarly is the case of Raichur-Koppal where the saffron party has given the ticket to Mr C.V. Chandrashekhar, who is new to both politics as well as the party. According to sources, the sole criteria for selecting this former official of the government run Nirmiti Kendra is the money-power he wields!
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