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parliamentary election - There was a vacancy of a dwarf in...

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There was a vacancy of a dwarf in the circus. Applicants included a six foot tall young man whose claim to being a dwarf was based on his family history. His argument was that since he belonged to a family of dwarfs, he had a genuine right to call himself a dwarf. The manager of the circus had an hearty laugh. A similar joke is being enacted with all seriousness on the people of India. The country needs some towering personalities to lead her but all that she can get are some dwarfs who are trying desperately to prove that they are not dwarfs but are great men/women. General Elections to the Parliament are critical for all political creatures in the Indian political circus. Even before the first vote is cast, selection of candidates is a difficult test that Indian political parties and leaders pass through. On one hand, selecting the right candidates is linked to the survival of the party as a political entity; on the other hand, selection as a candidate by a party is a matter of political life and death for any person. Given this sort of pressures, it would seem natural that the political parties adopt a systematic, democratic, transparent approach towards candidate selection. The reality is exactly opposite. All Indian political parties adopt a disorganized, opaque, ad-hoc approach which is based more on short- term internal group equations rather than on qualities and capabilities of the candidate. Indian political circus is dominated by two national parties - Indian National Congress (called Congress) and Bharatiya Janata Party (called BJP). Congress has dominated the political scene during the past five decades, having been in power for more than four decades. Congress had the benefit of stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi whose towering personality overshadowed every other person in the party. During the Nehru-Indira era, the selection of candidates (also called ticket distribution) was centered in the hands of Nehru/Indira, who kept a vice- like grip on the party organization throughout the country and had a personal knowledge of the key persons in each region of the country. Nehru and Indira developed the ticket distribution exercise as an instrument to strengthen their grip on the party by rewarding the faithfuls and by punishing those whose loyalty was suspect. In the hands of exemplary politicians like Nehru and Indira, the instrument proved to be really effective in controlling the cadres. This led to development of a model for selection of candidates, which was adopted not only by Congress but also by all other political parties in India. However, in the absence of a strong personality like Nehru or Indira, the deft handling that characterized the selection of candidates by the Congress in Nehru-Indira era has been replaced by a mockery. It almost seems that a classic fascist drama is being enacted with comical actors.
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Selection of candidates for the forthcoming general elections has stirred a hornet's nest in various parties. Congress seems to be the worst affected of the lot. Angry scenes have been witnessed at the Congress
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