Hands folded, with sweets and hugs, they come to you every election season. You vote. They never return, at least for the next 4 years. This sums up the election cycle for all of us in the country, one that we have made peace with. But what happens when you don’t get the electricity you were promised, or the job you deserve or the salary you need?
“You want me to give you respect. Should I baton-charge you? Leave the place,” Chief Minister of Karnataka H D Kumaraswamy told Raichur’s Yermarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS) workers when they stopped his bus and demanded that he address their grievances a few days back on June 26. They had not been paid salaries in 14 months.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy was inconvenienced, he was on a strict schedule to complete his ‘Grama Vastavya’ (village stay) programme in Karegudda, Manvi Taluk and had no time for the nuisance of the villagers. Irony died a slow death that afternoon.
Kumaraswamy isn’t alone. Politics and the accompanying fame gets to the head really quick. The sense of entitlement is so conspicuous at times that it makes you wonder whether you voted to put them in power or they are calling in a favour, ruling over you.
When a 57-year-old Uttara Bahuguna (57), principal of a government primary school in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand requested the Chief Minister for her transfer in June last year. “Is ko suspend karo” (Suspend her immediately), was Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat’s response. CM’s threat didn’t seem to perturb Uttara, she retorted. This irked Rawat more. “Band karo is ko” (arrest her), a furious Rawat then ordered.
Uttara did what many of us are too scared to, she told the chief minister, “anyone can be a politician”. She showed him the mirror. ‘He wasn’t the only one and there will be many after him,’ was the direct message. Trivendra Rawat couldn’t take the irreverence, ‘how dare she!’
Some Chief Ministers are more sensitive than others. For example West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Mamata didi was on her way to Naihati to participate in a sit-in against violence on her party workers, when a group of men shouted: “Jai Shri Ram”, as her motorcade was passing through the Bhatpara area of North 24 Parganas district. It deeply offended her sensibilities.
“What do you think of yourself? You will come from other states, stay here and abuse us? I will not tolerate this. How dare you all abuse me? All of your names and details will be noted down,” Mamata Banerjee yelled.
The cause and effect of politicians outburst differ, but the brazen disregard for the general masses remains a common thread. Disregard that is peculiar to Indian polity. It’s a cultural issue, rather than a political one. Reverence is in our culture. The same reverence that makes our politicians imperious. Chief ministers to parliamentarians, arrogance spares none.
BJP MP Kailash Vijayvargiya, when questioned about his son’s brazen disregard for the law a few days back, asked a journalist, “what your stature?’ (Tumhari aukat kya hai?). Vijayvargiya’s son Aakash is accused of beating an on-duty government official with a cricket bat. The video went viral. Reactions were unforgiving.
India is a strange paradox, reverence is in our culture, but they often forget, Karma is in our culture too.
Also Read: Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy Loses Cool, Threatens Protesters With Lathi-Charge