MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES
The election fever is sizzling in Karnataka and people feel that it could be a litmus test for the Narendra Modi regime ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections. Captivatingly, there seems to be a strange change in pattern in canvassing for the candidates and methods involved in appeasing the voters. All that people want is a commitment from the party and the candidates on how if elected to power, the new dispensation would ensure a concrete shift from the existing shaky situation to a more stable one that would bring in peace and stability around. The expectations inevitably are better law and order situation beginning with assured safety of women and children, better healthcare, resolving unemployment problem, job-oriented educational system and sustainable development, to name a few of the issues. But strangely and particularly since the last assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and currently in Karnataka our leaders seem to be on a rampage in visiting temples after temples to please the community. It began with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi doing rounds visiting the places of worship and seeking blessings from the priests. The same has now been repeated by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Who is interested in these petty gimmicks? Do we witness such dramatics in the other democracies? As if that was not enough, we have been observing BJP leaders visiting the houses of Dalits and dining and spending the night in their shelters to showcase their solidarity with the beleaguered community. But is it a sincere act or just a farce to seek their votes? Some of these politicians no doubt sat to dine with the Dalits but ordered food from outside. What a hypocrisy! People are not fools to be convinced by such hogwash! The calamities experienced by the Dalits cannot be eliminated by visiting their homes during election time and dining with them reluctantly. Is it not possible for our politicians to rise above this narrow attitude and collectively think of a lasting timeless solution?