Growing chasm between politics & morality

Representational image

Representational image


The impact of morality conflicts on the political landscape is widespread.

The impact of morality conflicts on the political landscape is widespread. These debates have involved political institutions at every level of government, impacted electoral outcomes, shaped agendas, and occupied significant space in citizen discourses. However, despite the historical and modern regularity of these debates, nothing much has either changed or impacted. It is more so in our country. We have seen in the past how some Legislators preferred to watch sleaze on their mobiles. Political ruffians prefer to be in the news for their immoral acrobatics and profanities.

When crores of rupees tumbled out of the almirahs of a friend of a former Minister of West Bengal it was not only about corruption. This friend in question was the 'treasurer' of the Minister initially reports suggested. It is a different issue that both of them disowned the money seized. But, the issue got bigger in the public domain. It was a debate on the morality of the politicians that ensured and soon engulfed the 'cleanest' Chief Minister of West Bengal. People tend to ignore some aberrations. But, they do not, all inconsistencies and shortcomings of character. If corruption dents one's image, its accompaniment of women in the sordid tale means much more to the public. The issue of Gorantla Madhav is one such. There may not be any evidence to prove his alleged misconduct. Yet, the fact that attempts have been made to convert the issue into a political one using even the caste of the MP did not go down well with the people. This is an age where the social media quickly destroys one's image and a thousand alibis and excuses will not restore the reputation.

(Of course, a section of the media too crossed all lines of decency in its voyeuristic pleasure). As in the case of West Bengal's Partha Chatterjee, the damage is not limited to the person in question. Even the party that such characters belong to gets the 'moral blow'. By the way, people i.e., the voters do not place corruption and immorality on the same pedestal. In government, we would say that no one is above the law, but, it's more than saying that. It means that you consider yourself as a servant. Even when you are making decisions or implementing policy that doesn't make people happy, you reach out in a sense of empathy, understanding and communication in a respectful way. A candidate's character dictates how the policies are implemented and how they represent our country or our state. People don't easily forget these aspects. Serious voters and sensitive voters – mind you a lot many are out there in our country – don't take kindly to certain transgressions.

Leaders at the helm should not forget the impact of such moral trepidations in acting against. Agreed, no one should be pronounced guilty unless proven. But there is another honourable way of handling the situation confronted with such stupidity: Act first and do some course correction. The said MP's colourful language post-clean chit is another issue. That kind of language only reinforces people's suspicion about his guilt. He has not painted himself in glory in doing so. Politics is not about Forensic Science. It is all about Moral Science.

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