The rituals of democracy

Political parties have a ritual. First, parties identify the most ‘dedicated’ worker who symbolises their style of functioning. Second, they try to bring around a consensus amidst the party ranks, to accept that ‘dedicated’ worker. Third, and perhaps the most awaited of the ritual, the parties propagate the ‘dedicated’ worker to the voters.

Over the next 35 days, notwithstanding the overload of political rallies by the prime ministerial candidate of BJP and the campaign manager of the Congress, this ritualistic 'propaganda' will be peppered around the country to promote the party symbols and their representatives.

Blaring loudspeakers, announcing the ‘messiah’ of their party who will bring ‘salvation’ to the nation, with scores of flag bearing vigilantes dressed in white, saffron or green, will move around the cities and villages.

Shouting slogans in favour of their party, these party-affiliated vigilantes will distribute propaganda material invariably trying to portray the previous regime in bad light, forgetting its own follies and distributed them with pious intent. Be it the BJP, Congress or the numerous regional parties, the ritual does not change.

The attempt at ‘Modi-fication’ of the nation has already begun, by way of catchy rally names (Hunkar, Bharatha Gelisi and Vijay Shankhnaad) and assembly of thousands of people to witness it. In the next few days, a smaller version of these political congregations at the assembly, ward and booth level will soon begin.

At the other end, the morning RaGa is being sung by the party faithful while hosting conventions of the young, the old and the backward. The dedicated style of hosting a convention for the chosen few may not be the best style of conveying the message, but it is nonetheless a strategy which has been chosen by this party. However, as soon as the election dates are announced, the conventional style of reaching out to the voters will gather momentum.

As for the regional parties, the larger-than-life projection of their leader will become the sole basis for seeking votes.

Be it the "change of Bihar", "the mother of Tamil Nadu" or the "son of the soil from Karnataka," the regional parties will prepare to host rallies with portraits of their leaders accompanying the motorcade of the aspirant across the country.

In the end, can all these rallies and public display of ‘faith’ generate the votes and woo the voters?

For a sceptic it will be the ‘ value added services’ that these parties provide which will prove to be the game changer.

As for the optimist, the beacon of hope may be lit with Kejri and company embarking on passionate public rallies, display of anger etc.

Welcome to the rituals of democracy, where everyone has something to offer.

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