An incident that took place in Kollam last Tuesday, although insignificant, is something that should be discussed.
Minister for local administration K T Jaleel was to arrive for the inauguration of a bus bay constructed by the corporation near the clock tower in the city. The UDF councillors in the corporation attended the function with their mouths tied shut. It was a means of protest for excluding N K Premachandran, the MP of the constituency, from the function. The UDF supporters also flocked to the area shouting slogans and creating a ruckus. The agitators held up resistive banners when Minister Jaleel arrived at the spot. The police tried to seize the banners and stop the protestors while the latter fought back the police further aggravating the situation. Slogan shouting, commotion, throwing of chairs and baton charge followed. All these antics were witnessed related to the inauguration of a small facility at the side of the road, a bus pullout, for picking up and dropping off passengers. All those watching the buffoonery will deem it as lacklustre politics whereas the politicians consider it as something momentous. Another incident, much stranger than the above, happened last week again in Kollam. The scene is the flag off ceremony of the Punalur-Palakkad Palaruvi Express held in Punalur and attended by officials and politicians. The train service was officially started with the Union Railway minister waving the green flag via video conferencing from Delhi. When the train reached Avaneeswaram, it was stopped by the UDF supporters. The reason was more than bizarre. Members of Parliament Premachandran and Kodikkunnil Suresh weren’t included on board the inaugural journey. Both the MPs arrived in Avaneeswaram by car and the train continued its journey only after they were on board. The prestigious presence of both the MPs till Kollam station sanctified the Palaruvi Express.
It is a fact that our political system gives power and prominence to the persons elected by the people. Therefore their role as well as presence in taking the government schemes and endeavours to the people is surely relevant. That is not something that should be executed only through the bureaucrats. While that fact is true, it will be better if those concerned contemplate on how objectionable the stance of holding inaugural galas using politicians for all trivial undertakings, is. Even when constructing pocket roads, flex banners with the image of the politician who allotted the fund, offering him wishes are lavishly showcased in the state. Hoardings of gratitude extended to the MLA who released money from regional development fund for constructing a bus stop could be seen at the site on roadsides everywhere. The Left and the Right Fronts act similar in this case. Reading the flex banners and posters, one might be prompted to believe that the road has been constructed using the MLA’s own money. Roads are built using the tax money of the people. It’s his primary duty to release the funds whenever required. Raising flex banners all over the place for performing that duty is certainly contemptible.
Politicians make their way to powerful positions with the aid of public votes. They surely need votes for further survival. Therefore the politicians claim that such tactics might be needed to be in the good books of the people. It’s true in our democratic system. At the same time, there won’t be any need for such buffoonery, if a genuine bond is successfully established with the people beyond such campaigning and inaugural antics. It is possible only for those with a tradition of esteemed social service who interact directly with the people and be one among them. The politicians would secretly admit that these antics are due to the essentiality of power politics. But it’s their responsibility to keep a check on it. They would otherwise be reduced to clowns before the public. Let’s together work towards a political culture that’s of a better standard.