Karnataka elections: freebies dominate development


Aside The Supreme Court is considering a petition against free schemes before the elections, why not cancel the recognition of political parties that offer freebies? On the other hand, before the Karnataka elections, some political parties have been engaged in such ill-conceived efforts. Political parties like Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and JDS continued to shake the foundation of electoral democracy through free promises. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been in favor of making promises of ‘free revadis’ before the elections should be stopped immediately. Because it is not the interest of the public, but the dirty political interests are hidden in its root. The populist announcements made by political parties for the assembly elections in Karnataka can have a huge impact on the state’s economy. Karnataka is undoubtedly a rich state, yet its committed liabilities are so much that there is absolutely no scope for distribution of doles in the name of election promises.

It may be noted that earlier the election results of Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka have forced us to seriously consider many things simultaneously. In view of the future of India, a major issue in this is the announcements of giving free goods and services to the public in the name of public welfare works. The Aam Aadmi Party under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal has made the most shrewd use of this in terms of electoral victories in the capital Delhi. Extending this, he took it up to Punjab and there also his party was crowned with a glorious victory. There is no need to go into details of these announcements and promises here, because everything is in front of the country. It was clearly visible that other parties are also slowly following AAP. From implementing the old pension system in Himachal Pradesh to ration, electricity, the Congress made such promises which are harmful to the economy. Coincidentally he got victory. He has expanded more in Karnataka. It cannot be said that BJP was not involved in this race at all. But he firmly rejected the demand for the old pension scheme. This is absolutely the right stand from the point of view of India’s economy and future. But in Karnataka, parallel to the Congress, he also announced to give some goods and services free of cost to the public.

Most of the leaders, activists of our country, who do not imagine the future of the nation of India, who do not have big visions, who are not able to understand the country, the basic issues and the challenges faced by the common people and are not able to give their painstaking solutions to them. In order to prove their support to the poor, such states join the competition of free donations.

Naturally, the parties or persons who will stand against it in this blind race, in today’s clamorous environment, will be termed as anti-poor and even capitalists, brokers and supporters of corporates. Gandhiji had said that I cannot allow any freebies in the country. He clearly said that no person should get food without physical labor. In fact, if we look deeply, the announcements and steps of political parties regarding free donations are to make the collective mind of the country a beggar. The person, the society and the country who do not have this feeling and behavior that the difficulties and challenges arising in front of them will be dealt with by their own determination and hard work, then that person, society and country can never be strong and self-reliant.

Once the society gets the taste of free eating of its basic needs, then the culture of making oneself capable by working hard gets destroyed. His confidence in him also ends. Look at the effect of this thought and behavior that those for whom the expenditure of a few kilos of ration, a few units of electricity or a few liters of water does not matter, are also affected by it. This is the conclusion of many election results, especially the election results of Delhi, Punjab etc. By the way, there is a long history of free donation from the government treasury to woo the voters in India, but people believe that it started in the southern states like Andhra and Tamil Nadu. There, announcements were made and given from free rice to color TV, cable connection, mobile.

The Center and the States have to spend according to the income, striking a balance between welfare and development. Such freebies and increase in pensions etc. to please one section have an impact on the entire economy and other groups also demand the same. This affects the policies and programs of development and in practice the welfare schemes of the common people also have to be curtailed. So it may not be beneficial for political parties in the long run either. According to their aspirations, people need an environment of cultural, educational, religious, social environment, security and development, otherwise they can remove any party from power. It was under the leadership of NT Rama Rao that the Telugu Desam Party was badly defeated in the elections. The Akali Dal also gave a lot of freebies to the people in Punjab, but this did not become a permanent guarantee of its power. In contrast, the BJP has been in power in Gujarat continuously since 1995. The voters there did not accept the free announcements of the Aam Aadmi Party. This example should be a lesson for political parties.

In fact, winning freebies is only one side of the election results. In 2014, the country gave the BJP an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha under the leadership of Narendra Modi, which was unimaginable. At that time, the BJP had not announced cash transfer to people’s accounts or free donations, nor did people expect it. The collective psyche of the country wanted to see India in a different form and Modi showed it the reflection of its imagination.
The defeat in Himachal or Karnataka was the culmination of BJP’s infighting. After all, despite many free promises made in the manifesto including Kisan Samman Nidhi, free ration since the Corona period till now, if it is defeated, then the reasons should be deeply reviewed. If like the top central leadership, the state organization and government would reflect sincerity and commitment towards their goals, ideas and plans, then the public cannot deny. If there was defeat due to some reasons in the immediate circumstances, then there has also been a comeback. The same applies with many other parties. If parties like BJP also join this blind race, then there will be no qualitative difference between it and other parties. We have seen the fate of communist parties involved in the race for power.

The core workers and supporters of a party with ideology like BJP do not expect freebies from it. Instead want to see the government and the organization remain active with the commitment on their original declaration. Thoughtful supporters of any party expect the same from their public representatives and leaders. Even among those who take advantage of the freebies, there will be people who criticize it. In the blind race of electoral politics, the parties which do not take care of the sentiments of such people will harm themselves in future. If the supporters and workers see the people’s representatives and leaders working contrary to the ideas, behaving corruptly and the party will give importance to them, then they will express their dissatisfaction in one way or the other. You cannot satisfy them with freebies. The Congress will also have to remember the statement of the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the budget of Karnataka state is about three lakh crore rupees. If the Congress consistently fulfills all its announcements in Karnataka, then more than one-third of the state’s budget will be spent on it. In such a situation, the state’s economy will go down the drain. It is injustice to the public to make populist announcements only for their political interests without thinking about the financial management of the state for the betterment of the people of the state.

We can learn a lot from the Karnataka assembly election results. However, ‘Rewry Culture’, which has been used as a slur, is well described in the Directive Principles of the Constitution of India. It is the moral obligation of any government and party to implement its provisions. For the time being, there is no other option before the Congress than to distribute the Revdi. Those who are looking for an alternative to BJP in Congress, must keep themselves clear on this issue. If you are demanding more than Revdi for laborers, farmers and middle class.
Ashok Bhatia

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