It’s Poll Time

poll.jpgAn intelligent man once said, “An election is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect them from each other”. It is poll time all over the globe. The Democrats and Republicans are battling it out in the US, while the much awaited results of the Pakistan polls are already out.

Pakistan’s two main opposition parties, the Pakistan People’s Party(P.P.P) and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), plan to make a new coalition government, after their victory over Musharraf’s allies. Thus, to get closer to the two-thirds majority, they need to drive president Musharraf out of power. It is unclear as to who will become the prime minister.

Neither Zardari nor Nawaz Sharif is eligible to be the premier because they are not MPs. The US has shown pleasure over the result of the Pakistan polls and it wants the to-be formed government to cooperate and fight out terrorism. However, George Bush’s government has urged the next government to work with Musharraf. Yet, analysts say that if PPP and PML-N team up, Musharraf will have no option but to quit. Today, Sharif ruled out the option of occupying the Presidential post. He also built up the pressure on Musharraf by showing complete refusal to relent and work with him.

”We will only become part of government when Musharraf quits the office of president,” an article in NDTV quoted him as saying. .

Who will be the next prime minister and whether Musharraf will quit- only time can tell. But, one thing is clear: Pakistan has got a step closer to democracy.

Polls in our neighboring country serve as a reminder of our own nearing elections. T.S Eliot once said, “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry”. In India, politics is all about creating a problem and then trying to solve it. As some said, “Politicians and diapers need to be changed regularly and for the same reason”. There are Men of Principles in all parties but not a single party can be called the Party of Principles. Democracy these days is about voting for the candidate you dislike the least. In any case, how many citizens actually go ahead and vote these days? A typical Indian can cross the pacific to save the world but they can’t cross the streets to vote. Anyway, it is not voting that is democracy, it is the counting that matters.

Our leaders complain that democracy doesn’t work. Will some one remind them that it is them who have to make it work? Let elections be fair and be a true reflection of the majority’s desires this time. The need is not for campaigns, where the air is full of speeches and vice-versa. The need is for a leader, a statesman who thinks not of the next election, but of the next generation and its welfare.

Prerna Jha

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